Friday, February 8, 2013
Yeah right! pt. 2
When World War II ended in 1945, the entire Jewish secular and religious culture in Europe had been obliterated, and from 5.6 million to 5.9 million Jews had been exterminated. Some 1.5 million of the victims were children.
We must keep in mind that all of this was accomplished by the means of what was considered to be not only a legitimate, but also an influential government that had been legally elected by the public. The world’s reactions to Hitler’s actions were also initially not fearful or concerned, but more aligned towards apathy. “As long as it doesn't happen to us!” many said. The “Church” was also supportive of Hitler. That this chapter of recent history was even able to transpire tells me two things.
1. Humans are not inherently good.
2. Good intentions do not mean that good will be the result of those intentions.
What do you believe is the underlying source or standard for laws that are made? There are certain laws that are accepted almost universally throughout history. Murder is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Attacking someone without provocation is wrong. But why? What is it within us (the human race) that points out what is right and what is wrong? What is our conscience and where does it come from? It is the inner knowledge of what is wrong compared to right that we are all (the human race) born with, and it is placed there by our Creator, God. It is a part of His image that we were created in. But why do we do things that are wrong even when we know they are wrong?
What can be known about God is clear to them because he has made it clear to them. From the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse. They knew God but did not praise and thank him for being God. Instead, their thoughts were pointless, and their misguided minds were plunged into darkness. While claiming to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for statues that looked like mortal humans, birds, animals, and snakes. For this reason God allowed their lusts to control them. As a result, they dishonor their bodies by sexual perversion with each other. These people have exchanged God's truth for a lie. So they have become ungodly and serve what is created rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen! For this reason God allowed their shameful passions to control them. Their women have exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. Likewise, their men have given up natural sexual relations with women and burn with lust for each other. Men commit indecent acts with men, so they experience among themselves the punishment they deserve for their perversion. And because they thought it was worthless to acknowledge God, God allowed their own immoral minds to control them. So they do these indecent things. Their lives are filled with all kinds of sexual sins, wickedness, and greed. They are mean. They are filled with envy, murder, quarreling, deceit, and viciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, haughty, arrogant, and boastful. They think up new ways to be cruel. They don't obey their parents, don't have any sense, don't keep promises, and don't show love to their own families or mercy to others. Although they know God's judgment that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do these things but also approve of others who do them.
Romans 1:19-32 (GW)
It is obvious even within our own lives that we do things quite often that, if observed in another person, will illicit a response of indignance or offense within us. So we are obviously able to distinguish what is right from what is wrong. Anytime we feel ashamed of or guilty for something we have done, that is our conscience working within us. But at some point if we ignore that inner voice and continue to do things that we know we shouldn’t be doing, we begin to lose our innocence, and the drive to do what is right. This is what brings about the worst thing that can happen to us in this life. Our heart becomes hardened. It is what is commonly referred to as a person who “doesn’t have a heart”. Everyone is born with a “heart”, but some allow theirs to become polluted and corrupted. At that point the “heart” or conscience ceases to function in the manner it was designed to function in. We quit caring. One may still realize that what they are doing is wrong, they just don’t care anymore. If God is the one who places this standard of what is right and wrong within us, what IS that standard?
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Romans 3:23 (NLT)
So from this, we are told that God’s standard for good is nothing less than perfect good. Otherwise, the verse would say something like, “Because most people have sinned, they aren’t perfect, but that’s okay.” Paul clearly defines in the book of Romans that what separates us from God is our bad behavior. ANY bad behavior. Did you know that the word “sin” is actually an archery term that was in use when the King James’ translation of the bible was originally put together? At the time, any shot that did not hit the target directly within the bull’s eye was called a “sin”. Anything less than perfect. So in context, anything within us that is not perfect is considered sin. Why? Because God is perfect. And He cannot reside in any circumstance that does not meet this standard. Jesus lived a perfect life as a testimony of His being One with God the Father. So if Jesus is good, what is it that makes Him good? He is good because He has nothing imperfect within Him. This is the standard of good that is required by God. We use the word so loosely that it has lost its meaning in our time. But if we are to compare our own behavior with any other human regarding our being good, Jesus Christ has been the only human who ever existed who was able to qualify for this designation. No other human can claim to be perfect; therefore no other human has ever been good. Not even Mother Theresa. She did many good works, but even she had a bad day and snapped at someone at least once in her long life. I guarantee it. I’m not saying that we are unable to do good deeds. And maybe we can do those deeds without ulterior motives or not just to make ourselves feel good. But this still cannot change the standard by which we are to judge someone being a good person. You can even go back and re-read the first part of this writing to reexamine the dictionary’s definition of the word good if you need a reminder. The problem lies in how much of our behavior we require in our own minds to be “good” to qualify us as “good”. But anything less than 100% is failure.
Then a man came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good deed should I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you want to enter into life, obey the commandments.” “Which commandments?” the man asked. Jesus said, “Never murder. Never commit adultery. Never steal. Never give false testimony. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The young man replied, “I have obeyed all these commandments. What else do I need to do?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, sell what you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then follow me!” When the young man heard this, he went away sad because he owned a lot of property.
Matt 19:16-22 (GW)
In this exchange, He was confronting the man to define the word good in his own mind. What made the man call Jesus good? Of course the man was correct, but Jesus wanted the man to look at himself in comparison. Was the man good? Obviously the man realized he wasn’t as good as he thought he was after he recognized his own imperfection regarding materialism.
Not one person has God's approval. No one understands. No one searches for God. Everyone has turned away. Together they have become rotten to the core. No one does anything good, not even one person.
Romans 3:10-12 (GW)
You may then say “But I do good things, so this means that I am not ALL bad”. Let’s look at it this way. If you own a pair of headphones that sound good, but then one side stops working, would you still call them good and continue using them in that condition? Most likely, no. You would either replace them with a new pair or have them repaired. If you chose to have that pair fixed, then you could accurately refer to them as good again. But when something is not serving its intended purpose, or is not functioning correctly, we do not call it good. And if we use that same standard when referring to a person, not one person qualifies for the title of good. This doesn’t mean that anyone is of lesser value than anyone else, but we still cannot accurately call any human other than Jesus good. Understand? It’s all about who you are comparing yourself to. And yes, if we compare ourselves to someone like Hitler, we might be able to consider ourselves good. But what if we compare ourselves to the one person we know for sure is good? It’s just like when you refer to something you own as good. It all depends on what you are comparing it to. You are probably going to consider dirty water good if you haven’t had water for three days.