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Somewhere Between Good And Evil

Somewhere Between Good And Evil
Dr. Mike Murphy

“My life is like everyone else I know, it is somewhere between good and evil. I know I have done more good than bad in my life, so in the end, I know that I am going to be okay. God will see that I have lived a good life, and I know He will be proud of me for it.”

somewherebetweengoodandevil

As I read the words, my head fell. The words of a woman so lost, she did not even realize that she needed to be found. Her words came in a reply to a question that a friend of mine asked online. They had simply asked, “How do you know you are going to Heaven?”. Many of the answers I saw astonished me, but the words of this woman troubled me the most. And as I looked closely at her reply, the amount that agreed with her even troubled me more.

We live in a world today, that no longer sees morals and principles in black and white, but in unlimited shades of gray. Images that are so mixed together, distinct color can no longer be seen, left only with impressions that are at best blurred. Good and evil can no longer be identified clearly, because both have become nothing more than one’s own interpretation. And as our society so easily makes right and wrong a matter of one’s own opinion, then whatever I deem as right in my situation, can never be denied me. Without us ever taking a moment to realize it, we have eliminated the standard by which our society judges right from wrong. We have replaced God’s wisdom with our own logic, and placed our own purpose above God’s plan.

So what is good? And what is evil? Good is simple to answer. Good is everything that is God. And to fully understand this, we only need to take a look at what is evil. The dictionary describes evil as “morally reprehensible, sinful, wicked”, but as described, we now see evil as anything that is destructive to society. But in our definition, we make evil a cause, not the effect that God’s shows evil to be.

To understand this, I would ask you to picture walking outside in Alaska in the middle of January with snow three feet deep. As you walked out the door, what would your words be? I can guarantee that one of those words would be “cold”. But if you talked to any scientist, they would quickly explain to you there is no such thing as “cold”. Cold is the word we have created to describe the absence of heat. The less we feel the heat, the “colder” we say we feel.

Evil is the same as cold. It is the word we have created to describe the absence of God, and the goodness that can only be found in God. This is why the farther we find ourselves separated from God, the greater the chance that evil will be seen. When we watch a tragedy take place on the news, such as a mass shooting, our first impulse to to refer to what we see as evil. But evil is not what we are seeing, it is the result or the outcome of the tragedy we see. Evil is not an action, it is the effect or the outcome of the action. The action that caused the evil, the tragedy we see, is sin. And often we confuse sin, the act, with evil, the outcome.

We easily forget, sin is the act of behaving against the laws and teachings of God, and living outside the plan of action He has for our life. Sin is a choice each of us make, and in acting on that choice, we separate ourselves from God, not allowing His wisdom and love to guide us. Evil is the outcome of that sin, and the effect and outcome of not choosing to allow God’s plan to lead us. We must never forget, where God is present, evil cannot exist. All evil separates us from God(Isaiah 59:2), and for that reason, we are told to reject all evil(1 Thessalonians 5:22). We want our choices to lead toward the goodness that the presence of God offers, not the evil that separation from Him causes.

As we look at this nation and at our society, we see a move to define evil without sin, and goodness without God. An attempt to make goodness nothing more than well being of conscience, with evil being the absence of that well being. A move in which our logic has decided that we can create our own good, and can define our own evil. Without giving a second thought as to where that will lead us. If our logic is the deciding factor of good and evil, then good and evil become nothing more than opinion. A moral vote where society decides for itself the principles that will lead them, and the values that will guide them. But in our foolishness, we have quickly forgotten, opinions change daily. The opinion we agree with society on today, may be the very opinion society uses to convict us with tomorrow.

Without a cause, a constant standard that possesses in it meaning and purpose, there can be no true values and morality. For us to have true morality, or moral law, there must be a moral law giver. One who is capable of understanding and giving us a standard of morality and purpose that all good and evil can be judged by, and defined within. The simple fact is, without God, man is incapable of defining good and evil, or even knowing what good and evil means.

Honest atheists, like Friedrich Nietzsche, have admitted that without God there could be nothing we call good, nor anything we could understand as evil. Nietzsche knew that if there was such a thing as evil, then you must also accept that there is such a thing as good. And if you assume that there is good and evil, then there must be an absolute and unchanging moral law by which man could differentiate between the two. And if you accept that there is a moral law, then you have to accept there is a moral law giver. And if you accept there is a moral law giver, then you must accept there is a God. And if we accept there is a God, then only by His Word can good and evil be defined!

God’s Word makes it clear, “No one is good but God alone”.(Luke 18:19). You cannot look at God and not see good. It is only when we know Him that true goodness can be understood. We can look at many things around us and see some good in them, but there can only be One where all goodness can be seen. And that good and perfect God invites all of us to understand good by knowing Him(Psalm 34:8).

When we realize this, we soon begin to understand that salvation is not based on our goodness, but on the goodness that Christ brought to this world. Romans 10:9 tells us, “If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved.” Salvation is a gift, not something we can achieve through our own goodness, but a gift that God gives us because in His goodness, He has an unquestioned love for us. And praise the Lord for this gift! It is not gift I could ever do enough good to earn, no matter how hard I might try. I could spend all day, everyday, trying to do nothing but good, and never come close to being perfect enough to earn that gift. Like all true gifts, the gift of salvation is given, not earned(Ephesians 2:8-9). Only Christ alone was good enough to earn His way to Heaven, and no matter how hard I might try, I can never do enough good to earn my way there.

Despite everything this world might tell you, somewhere between good and evil, only evil resides. An evil I can never do enough work to change, or do not have the wisdom to be able to redefine. A good, that I alone can never achieve. And a goodness that I can only show this world if my actions and words are allowing others to see in me a reflection of Christ. 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, says to us, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Evil will seek to deceive us, keeping the truth from us. And only in the love of His goodness can that truth be known and found. The truth will never be found in the evil of our own logic, but only in the goodness of His wisdom.

Evil would happily have us living somewhere between good and evil, thinking we are safe. Living in a land of blurred morals and values, thinking each of our actions are making us good enough. But in reality, leaving us in a land where only evil prevails, and good is nowhere to be found.

Praying His goodness will always surround you.

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