Every person from every background has the opportunity to do what is right. As we see in the news each evening, not everyone makes use of his or her opportunities. Some determine to do wrong and forget right.
Today’s society wants to blame such bad choices on things around the individual. In some cases, perhaps — and only perhaps — this might be true. Most of the time, individuals decide to do whatever it is they are going to do because they determine to do the thing. The story of Daniel in the Old Testament shows how this works. Daniel was not in the best situation a person would want to be in. When we are first introduced to him, he is a slave who has been taken from his homeland by a ruthless nation. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem on three occasions and took many of its people captive. We find, in the first chapter, that it was during the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign that Daniel, as well as others, was taken captive. From the text, it is believed by most that Daniel was made a eunuch for service in the kingdom of Babylon (Daniel 1). Think of his situation: taken from your homeland and family, enduring the life of a slave, yet in all that happened, he determined to do what was right in God’s sight.
When he arrived in Babylon, he was placed in a type of training program. He, as well as some others, was considered to be intelligent and able to work in the kingdom in the future. They were given certain privileges, one of which was special food from the king. Being Jewish, Daniel knew he was not to eat certain foods. Most people in his place would have gone along with the crowd and not made any waves. But Daniel was determined to do right. He made an agreement with those in his charge to not eat the king’s food but to eat simple food — pulse and water — and not violate Jewish law. His determination to do right brought great blessing to him from God.
Today, hardships can face each of us. It is so important that we have a determination to do right, no matter what comes our way. In order to do what is right, we must know what is right. We need to go to God for the answer to the question of “What is right?”
From the time he began dealing with man, God has desired two things. First, that man has a right relationship with him, and secondly, that man has a right relationship with man. If the Ten Commandments are looked at closely, it is found that the first four deal with man’s relationship with God, and the last six have to do with man dealing with man. When the New Testament, under which we live today, is studied, one will find that this line of thought is carried over to our day. Jesus said, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
So back to the question, “What is right?” Obey God according to his terms given in his word. Treat your fellow man as you would want to be treated. God’s word tells us how to be pleasing to God, obey the gospel by having faith, repent of our sins, confess before men that Jesus is the Son of God, be baptized for the remission of our sins and live for God. If we do these things, we will accomplish the second thing — treating others as we would be treated— in living faithfully to God.