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Defending Our Goodness?

Sports fans and non-sports fans alike have been hearing the discussions on domestic violence and child abuse, two issues that have impacted most everyone. Most people know someone who has been in such a situation or have been through an abusive situation themselves.

First of all, this should go without saying, I am not defending the actions of anyone in the news recently. I even thought about not writing on this topic today given the potential it may be taken the wrong way, and yet, here I am.

The ways in which these recent events have been discussed have me wondering what we are really fighting. Are we fighting against these actions? Or are we fighting for our ability to be seen as good? How many times do you hear, “I would never do such things. I never thought about doing such things.” And yes, most of us have not. But, are we really saying, “I’m good, and you are not”?

Are we defending our goodness?

How in our society do we even know what is good and what is not? It feels like we are not too far from “mob rule.” Whatever the majority says is good, is good, and conversely, whatever the majority says is bad, is bad. You will likely think that way of thinking is fine, but just wait until you find yourself on the wrong side.

Where will this go? Will we end up with a split, the good people in one place and the bad people in another?

This is where Christianity is helpful. We have an understanding of good and bad that is not founded in the “majority.” It is founded in God, a God who, as it says in Philippians 2:

6 Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. 7 But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Who did he die for? He died for you and me. Why? Because no one is good. This is the point. No one is good. Here you may start defending yourself, trying to convince yourself, and then soon after making sure everyone else around you knows that you are truly a good person.

Jesus in Matthew 5 talks about murder and adultery. Here we see it is not just about our actions that are seen. It is about our heart. It is about the actions we think about. It is not just about committing the actual act. It is about our hearts.

What acts do we feel like committing at times?

We have been so focused on the outward actions. For in a way, it can be easy to defend ourselves and see ourselves as “good” if we only look at the outward actions. However, Jesus looks at our hearts. He looks at our motivations. Doing a good thing with the wrong motivation is not a good thing. He looks at our hearts.

Go one step further and ask yourself what you are willing to do for someone who commits one of the above actions? Here is what Jesus did for all of us. Paul writes in Romans 5:

6 While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people. 7 It isn’t often that someone will die for a righteous person, though maybe someone might dare to die for a good person. 8 But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. 9 So, now that we have been made righteous by his blood, we can be even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him.

Again, I want to emphasize that I am not seeking to make light of any sinful actions. I am only asking that when we look and speak of others, we would be reminded of our own hearts, of our need to be set free and made new…an act that Jesus accomplishes for us.


Pastor Matt

(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)

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