Wednesday, June 5, 2013

But God Is Good

“It’s all good.” I don’t know about you, but my reaction to this phrase is to think in my mind and sometimes respond, “No, it’s not.” I tend to look at the phrase from an absolute standpoint, which maybe can be indicative of a sense of realism or maybe even perfectionism. So, I went to the to look it up in order to better understand what the user of the phrase meant. The first thing I noticed of the three different definitions is that they were ordered by surveyed rankings, and for every two or three people that agreed with the definition there was at least one that did not using a thumbs up/thumbs down system. But the one that seemed to have far more thumbs up is, “Despite any possible doubt, everything’s cool.” In other words, just because this may of happened or you may have done this to me it doesn't change our relationship or it doesn't matter that you did this and even did it to me. The interesting thing is that the sample phrase is one that should have exuded a strong reaction because it definitely was a severely wrong action to which the person responded nonchalantly. What this really told me was closer to the last of three definitions.

The third definition referred to the phrase as a platitude which is used to cover emotions and situations. It says very little, and its only real meaning is that the speaker is trying to rise above whatever problem exists, without expressing their underlying negative emotions. (They might be angry, sad, upset, frustrated, hurt, disappointed, etc.) It is often used in a passive-aggressive way, and rarely is used compassionately for someone else, trying to make them feel better.

While this might seem like a good thing and maybe even be quite biblical, at its core there are several concerns with the phrase. Primary to it is the disconnection from reality and relationships. We all sin and we all encounter hurtful situations, and being able to forgive and move on in the worst of them is indeed a beneficial thing. But burying them or writing them off in a casual way seems to say that these things just don’t matter at all.

As Christians we are to think soberly about our sins; admitting them to God, acknowledging that they had indeed been forgiven at a great cost to His Son, and committing before Him to walk in a manner worthy of the calling which we have been given. We are also to confess our sins to one another and to encourage one another in walking in the righteousness of Christ as we rely on the enablement of the Holy Spirit. We are also to be forgiving toward one another, with actively choosing not to make an issue of some things but going to the person when necessary for others. There is nothing casual or indifferent about this, but it is an active moment by moment choice about how we are going to live.

Beyond that, there is the literal reality that not everything is good. When God created in the beginning it was indeed all good. In fact, He said it was very good. But then came sin. We now live in a fallen word, we live among people who are lost in their trespasses and sins, and for us who know the forgiveness of our sins we realize that we still do sin. There is much more “not good” than there is good. BUT GOD, He works all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It is when we even take the bad or difficult things of the world and submit them to the Lordship of Christ and entrust them into the hands of God our Father that we see His Spirit work in us to do incredible things.

1 Peter 1:13-16  Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.

In the beginning I mentioned my usual response, but what I said is only part of my response. My whole response is, “No, it’s not, BUT GOD IS.” When responding this way it refocuses my heart and mind, and when I respond this way verbally it even frequently gives an opportunity for further discussion with the other individual.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (6/5)

Remember that you live in a fallen world: an abnormal world tainted by sin. Much frustration and failure result from your seeking perfection in this life. There is nothing perfect in this world except Me. That is closeness to Me satisfies deep yearnings and fills you with Joy.

I have planted longing for perfection in every human heart. This is a good desire, which I alone can fulfill. But most people seek this fulfillment in other people and earthly pleasures or achievements. Thus they create idols, before which they bow down. I will have no other gods before Me! Make Me the deepest desire of your heart. Let Me fulfill your yearning for perfection.

“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

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