Does anyone know what “good” looks like? Would anyone say that slander is good? Would anyone say adultery is good? Would anyone claim murder is good? What about theft? Jealousy? Envy? Hatred? Unforgiveness? Bitterness?
You don’t have to be a follower of Jesus to know you’d rather not be on the receiving end of this short list of offenses. In a culture that is now offended by everything, very few would disagree that the aforementioned list is not catastrophic to relationships as they deeply violate trust, safety, and personal health.
We believe in human rights and we vehemently stand against injustice that we see all around us, but we soften our stance if the injustice is self-inflicted. We walk on eggshells. We are not permitted to disagree with someone’s destructive lifestyle. Our desire to appear affirming and relativistically sensitive has muted our conviction. It’s interesting that there is a greater sense of absolute truth when one is inflicting pain on another, but not if they are inflicting pain on themselves.
Societies begin a long road of moral decay when there no longer exists an absolute good. The moment that doing the right thing is subjective to emotional opinion we have lost our ability to be objective about anything at all. The banner of decency is shredded by moral chameleons who change their colors as often as needed to a void being social media prey.
As a believer of Jesus, I have to stand on His Word, and as a free thinker, I understand that there ARE absolutes. That some behaviors ARE destructive. That some acts WILL not just destroy the individual, but also the family unit, ushering in the inevitable collapse of societal norms.
National Geographic recently released a statistic that there are more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 5 in the world. We are aging but having less kids. This impacts the future workforce as access to abundant labor decreases, healthcare systems and pension plans are forced to re-structure, and elderly are more expensive to take care of than children, placing an additional burden on society.
The article mentioned infertility and other contributing factors, but not once mentioned the 40-50 MILLION babies that are killed EVERY YEAR. Some choose to make this bad thing “good”, by re-defining what it means to be a baby, yet changing the definition doesn’t change the substance. One may argue there are no victims here. Some may argue that a person has the right to do with their body as they please. Then why have suicide prevention hotlines? Because in the end, sin is never isolated. It’s effect spreads like wildfire and destroys everything in its path. Self-inflicted pain to one becomes injustice to another.
Since the beginning of time humanity has longed for pleasure at any cost, without repercussions. It’s not how the world works, but we’ll go on re-defining it until it fits our paradigm. We don’t want to see others hurt, but we want permission to destroy ourselves. The enemy has convinced a generation to serve the god of autonomy and reject a biblical moral standard as bigotry, racist, fascist, patriarchal, archaic, misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic.
So what is the believer’s response? How do we present the grace of the gospel with the absolute of God’s goodness? How do we disagree with someone destroying themselves and yet build a relational bridge strong enough to hold the weight of biblical truth?
I’ve come to understand that it’s not always possible. People will reject you, they’ll reject your interpretation of the Bible, they’ll question the validity of the Bible, and they’ll label you whatever their emotions command. Then what? Then, we do Galatians 6:9-10.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially those who are of the household of faith.”
We are not just called to do good to those we agree with. We are called to do good to everyone, and that’s a truth that may not sit well with select followers of Jesus. You don’t like what I believe? I’m still going to be good to you. You think I’m a bigot? I’m still going to be good to you. You hate me? I’m still going to be good to you. My goodness is fueled by Christ’s love, not by your approval. You can receive my good or not, it’s your choice.
As believers we must be full of the Spirit, and bold enough to stand up and declare, “Hate me, disagree with me, degrade me, and verbally assault me if you will. I choose to love you. I choose to do good.”
Our explanation of sin, our invitation to redemption, and our passion for freedom over dysfunction must never exist must always stem from our desire to take every opportunity to do good. I’m not sure Jesus would want to be associated with anything less.