"When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting."
Is it the responsibility of the civil government to create a climate in which it goes well with the righteous? In other words, where righteousness is rewarded with favorable laws and wickedness is punished with punitive measures? Is it the responsibility of the civil government to create a climate in which the wicked perish or do not survive? In other words, to pass laws that discriminate against the wicked and that certain behaviors are regulated, discouraged, publicly shamed, and even punished?
Unfortunately, we are currently living in a culture that has forgotten what basic righteousness is. It is defined in two ways in the Scriptures. On the positive side, it is loving God and loving others. On the negative side, it is defined as that which is outside of the Ten Commandments. When a civil government permits or encourages people to live outside of the Ten Commandments, then individuals, families, businesses, and the community as a whole suffers. We have seemingly forgotten these basic ethical lessons. It is not just about whether the person feels pleasure doing something; it is about whether a person, family, business, or community is harmed by condoning or encouraging a behavior. We now exist in a culture where civic leaders do not want to tell anyone NO. We would rather just try and clean up the mess from the condoned wickedness. We are seeing individuals, families, businesses, and communities be damaged and destroyed because our cities are not holding up the standard of righteousness.
The wicked are those who seek their own selfish ends by any means even if they have to harm or damage others in the pursuit of their goals. This has always been called an ends-justifies-the-means strategy. As long as we condone this idea, we will have growing amounts of human damage in our communities. The sad thing is that we are becoming so lost in regards to righteousness that we do not even know where the lines and laws go. When righteousness and basic ethics are upheld, then a community rejoices because it is safer and does not have as much “random” harm occur in it.
How do we know where a society tips over into unrighteousness?
When it allows the worship of false gods, images, and occultic practices;
When it allows cursing, breaking oaths, and slander;
When it does not allow for and even require people to rest and prioritize God, family, and health;
When it promotes rebellion and insubordination in the family, the education system, and community;
When it allows violence, intimidation, bigotry, and murder to be a means to accomplish anyone’s goals;
When it allows sexual pleasure to be a worthy goal apart from a lifetime commitment to one opposite- sex partner;
When it allows or promotes stealing, dishonesty, and vandalism to exist without punishment;
When it promotes or allows lying for personal gain;
When it encourages scheming and plotting revenge, takeovers, and personal pleasure at the expense of another.