I just finished reading The Shack. It was what I needed. I guess it helped me realize I wasn’t crazy and all the things I have been posting here weren’t mumble-jumbled nonsense. It spoke to a lot of the things I have written and even followed some of the same thought patterns and processes I traveled through to reach these conclusions.
What happened almost nine months ago I considered “not good.” (I know you are all smart people. I hope I make some sense in the next few sentences.) If we define evil as the absence of good and following this same conclusion, I considered what happened as evil. In doing so, my perception of people, places, families and ministries (even states) took on the characteristics of what I considered not good. Or evil. Through this lens, people I love and care about suddenly became instruments of evil, hurt and pain. They were no longer children of God, but people who needed judgment. (I am certainly not proud of my thoughts or actions. I’m just being honest.) Then I realized my perception of what was truly good and what was truly evil isn’t necessarily true.
Let’s explore an example. In light of the quickly approaching college football season, I would like to take a look at the number one team in all the land. The Georgia Bulldogs. Yes, we are number one, but exploring the process which led to our heightened status must first be examined. For years UGA has played football the same way. We have run the same defense and the same offense under the same coaching staff. And it was good. We have been highly successful in the last 8 years or so. Last year, a good thing became not so good. It quickly became apparent something needed changing after the romp in Neyland Stadium. The team was flat. The fans were flat. The coaching staff was flat and the season was approaching a disaster. So, we changed. The defense lit the fire all of a sudden a soft zone became blitzing mayhem. Bump and run turned into knock your block off and red became black. Now we sit on the verge of a national title. The point here is not Georgia football, but realizing something that’s good today might not be good tomorrow.
I considered everything that happened not good, or evil, and all those involved as accomplices to this evil. But, just because it wasn’t good for me, doesn’t mean it was inherently evil. I have to ask my myself, “What is good?” Well, enything that makes me happy, makes me smile, feels good, or doesn’t cause me harm. Now, just look at this last statement. I see one constant, the word “me.” My definition of good is a selfish one and is certainly not accurate. It certainly wasn’t good for me, but it might have been good for the other folks involved. Is it right for me to want “my good” over “their good?” I’m hearing a resounding, “no.” Follow me through this next part. Let’s say, one person gets saved through “their good” which wouldn’t have happened had I held on to “my good.” Now, “my good” would have hindered the salvation of one, which is certainly not good. (Sorry for all the “goods”.) The question which rises out of this is which is truly good, “my good” or the salvation of one? I think the answer is obvious. It has become painfully clear what I wanted was for “my good” to take precedence over the good of others which is completely contrary to Jesus and his death on a cross.
Even as I write this, it becomes apparent what “denying yourself and taking up the cross” truly means. It’s not about what makes me happy or what is good for me, but about the cross and the love shown there. If “my good” hinders its beauty, then strip me of it. Take it away. Make me nothing if it means the salvation of one. Because salvation and redemption and reconciliation are truly good.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
It’s not about me. When it’s all said and done, the only thing that matters is who will be counted among the faithful. If I can let go of something wonderful so someone else might walk the streets of gold, then so be it.