Looking for images to add to this post, I went to I-stock and typed “good” in the search field. Paul, you’ll be happy to know this popped up on the first page:
Looking a bit further, I found another image slightly more in sync with my taste preferences:
Neither of these images have anything to do with my topic, except to illustrate our skewed perception of “good.”
A certain ruler asked him (Jesus), “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone.”
Luke 18: 18-19 NIV
Lately, we’re hearing many stories of “good” people, often connected with the weather tragedies crushing America in the past few weeks. People in Alabama are opening homes untouched by storm damage to total strangers who’ve lost everything, including loved ones. Volunteers are flooding southern states, bringing supplies and trying to help people find pieces of their lives.
Stories like these break my heart. Not only for those who’ve lost, but for those moved to action by the pain of another person. I’m always shocked when people behave well under pressure. I don’t expect it.
I should expect it of Christians, though. We who follow Christ, in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit, should be the first on the front lines of such tragedies. We should be first to help in any situation, both because we are God’s hands and feet in the world and because we have a different perspective on tragedy than most.
Why, then, is the church so often absent in the world’s pain? Are we too comfortable in our cushioned pews? Have we lost the eyes to see another’s pain? Do we fear involvement will lead to more involvement?
It might. Even if it does, though, seems to me that’s why we’re here. Jesus didn’t walk past the hurting. He didn’t wait for the Romans to bring in relief packages. He helped as He could. That’s all he expects of us, I think.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 NIV
I’m not pointing fingers. Like the Pharisee in the parable of “The Good Samaritan,” I’ve walked past my share of suffering and looked the other way.
But as the world gets darker, as tragedy piles on tragedy, as people lose their understanding that only God is good, it is our duty as Christians to do good and credit God for our actions. We give that drink of water in Jesus’ name. We open our homes to strangers in Jesus’ name. We give money or blankets or prayers in Jesus’ name.
It’s the only way the world will learn to identify good with God. Without God, there is no good. He is the standard by which all goodness is measured.
Here’s one final image I found on the third page of my search, after the cheesecake and the Oreos:
Let’s keep that at the forefront of our minds and speech. The world needs to know why we do what we do, or they’ll assume it’s all for cheesecake.
Pray for the suffering world today. Then do as God leads you to do and give Him the glory.