It’s All Relative
Have you ever been driving on the highway, in the left lane passing slower traffic on the right, and then see up ahead a slower car blocking traffic in the left lane, causing you to have to slow down? Pretty annoying right? Your desire to go a faster speed is impeded by the slower person, meaning that to you, they are going too slow. This is a simple example of relativity. To me, the person is going too slow, while to that person, I am likely going too fast. Relatively, we are both coming from different perspectives on the same situation. Now imagine that there is a third party in this situation. There is a car stopped on the side of the road, and the person is waiting for a tow truck. This person sees everybody else speeding by on the highway, including you and the person that’s holding you up. However, this person on the side of the road likely doesn’t see the situation the same way as those driving. Everybody is going much faster than he is going, because he is standing still, while everyone else is flying by. Same situation, but different perspectives from every person. So what’s the point? It’s to give a little perspective on a popular phrase in our day. People often say “that’s your perspective” or “that’s your opinion” when in an argument, which basically removes any opportunity for discussion. While it is true that everyone argues something from their perspective, that’s exactly the point of argument; trying to make someone see a different perspective and possibly change a mind. However, these days, because of our postmodern culture, it is often used as a conversation stopper. Let’s talk a little bit about true relativity, thinking about our little scenario above. Suppose we are in a situation with other people, each of us with our own perspective, constantly relating to others in their own perspectives, and comparing our own actions or choices with those of everyone else. Like above, our own speed might seem appropriate to us, but to another, it might be too fast. Relativity is different for each person. Now imagine that there’s a speed limit, and both me and the slower person are going over that limit. What happens to the relativity? There is now something external that we should be checking ourselves against, instead of just looking at and comparing ourselves with the people around us. Sound familiar? This speed limit is a small example of what God’s Law is supposed to do for us. We check ourselves against God’s Law, find ourselves laughably short, and are driven to Christ for our salvation. However, after we have Christ, what do we do? We go back to God’s Law to see how we should live and behave, striving to become more and more like Christ in His perfect keeping of the Law. See the difference? We do not compare ourselves with others, everybody using their own relative situations to determine what is right and wrong. We have a speed limit and know what we should be doing, instead of going our own speed and basing everything on others. While situations may still have different perspectives, morality certainly does not. Many in the world tell us that morality is relative, but we should know better. We have a perfectly holy God that sets the bar for us, and graciously doesn’t let us hang in the wind of relativity trying to find our own way.