My mother taught me many lessons when I was young. She taught me how to tie my shoelaces in the bunny ear fashion, and then how to tie them like a big person. I still tie them in the bunny ear fashion. She taught me not to chew gum in public, not to think Barbie dolls are any reflection on real life women, to eat my vegetables and to say ‘thanks for having me’ when leaving a friend’s house.
My mother taught me how to behave. If you meet me now, you will find that I conduct myself with civility; not chewing gum in public, saying my pleases and thank yous. I am sure it has always been my mother’s intentions to train me to be good. The best lesson she taught me in this regard, however, is that goodness does not come from doing good things, but this spiritual fruit is a result of intimacy with a good God.
We serve a good God, many people question this asking: “How can a good God allow so much suffering?” I think coming to terms with this perplexing issue requires two things: faith and realizing when we live. Let me elaborate. There are numerous verses in the Bible that speak of God’s unfailing goodness. If we take the Bible as truth and live our lives according to it, we need to just believe that the ultimate outcome will be good.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
This is the hope we as Christians hold on to, and it’s the hope that has seen many Christians through very difficult situations, from the birth of the church until now. Speaking of the birth of the church until now – this period has been a time of war, and the battles continue to rage. God has promised that a rescue plan is in place, but lets remember when we live – on a timeline of existence, we could draw a big red line from the death of Christ until now and write – ‘time of the great war.’ God has called his church to be the light in a very dark world. The church has a mission and a purpose, we are the only hope against forces who are out to kill and destroy. Let’s not forget that there is a spiritual battle in play.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
When we realize when we live, we can begin to understand that suffering within a war zone is to be expected, but for now we are living in this war zone with a mission to save as many as we can. Doubt will cause us to be introspective when the world needs us, the church, to be looking outward.
The world needs us to be good when everything around them is so bad. So many people go looking for hope in the wrong places because they have met well-behaving Christians (who don’t smoke or swear and look horrified when others do), rather than Christians who are good. Goodness is the very opposite of evil, it’s so much more than just a behaviour. It is what we have to counter the forces of evil and to change the environments in which we live.
So as we endeavour to walk in relationship with Christ and to develop the fruit of goodness in our lives, lets hold onto the belief that goodness displayed in our lives can cause change. May this motivate us and inspire us to goodness!