Humanity typically looks at good with reference to evil. We see some acts as evil and others as good. We judge subjectively. We usually judge others harsher than we judge ourselves. We think we are good because we haven’t stolen anything or murdered anybody. Or we think we are good because of what we do, aiding our neighbor, raising our kids, loving our spouses, or giving food to a hungry person. But at the same time we are doing things that are not good all the time. We see good as the opposite of evil or evil as the opposite of good. But we don’t understand “good” without reference to evil. Even in our own hearts evil is always lurking. We are always comparing and contrasting and justifying ourselves. We find even the most giving people in the world have dark nights of the soul with the published diary writings of Mother Theresa. Yet we still reach for righteousness. We yearn for world peace. We want everyone to get along with everyone as if fighting, murder, and violence isn’t supposed to happen. We see these actions as somehow out of kilter with what “ought” to be. How can this be if at the same time we deny that there is a standard of what “ought” to be outside of our own subjectivity?
I’ve been watching the popular TV show Heroes. The characters are becoming duplicitous. The “good” ones are becoming corrupted in their fight for justice and the “evil” ones are showing compassion and integrity for the first time on the show. The lines are being blurred. The struggle in the hearts of man is coming to the forefront. Corrupted morality and compassionate acts of kindness are rising up in the same individuals. How can they determine the right path when their own hearts are so duplicitous?
Humans are only left with subjectivity when we try and figure out how to live in a way that is good. Some would say that’s all we have and we must make the best of it. But what if that’s not all we have? What if there is a better way than the human way? What if we can enter righteousness to where we can have our eyes opened to pure perfect goodness without contrast to evil?
The biblical moral code is quiet extensive. The law that was given to Moses was in effect when Jesus walked the earth. He encountered many people who were living out the law, or at least claiming to be, but whose hearts were corrupt making them unable to keep the law. Jesus said the law is fulfilled by loving God and loving people. He said that these were the two greatest commandments that fulfilled all law. The law was given to show us that we cannot keep it without His eternal love working through us. The focus was never to control people to conform to God’s law, but to free people to conform to righteousness personified in Christ Jesus. When we live in our corrupted nature we are not free. When we live in oneness with His nature we are the most free. Jesus said he came to give us life so that we could live life more abundantly. We can be transformed to righteousness and be free of all the weight of corruptness of heart, mind, and soul. The chains that bind us to thinking naturally, to evil, to sin, to corruption of the heart, and the bondages of addictions are broken by the cross of Christ. There’s more, Christ resurrected making it possible to live life a new – to live like Him.
To often the Church has tried to control people to live a certain way instead of simply leading people to Christ who doesn’t need us to put rules on people. Christ transforming power is more than sufficient to bring about righteousness in a person, to change hearts, to renew minds. Moreover fear ought never to be employed in sharing about Christ. Jesus didn’t invoke fear of punishment, penalty, or hell. He lived the truth He personified, being himself the example of life properly aligned with God. He came to point us to the way to life, not to bring condemnation and judgment. The world was already living in that by their own corruption. He came to free them from that way of living. He came to free them from guilt, condemnation, judgment. He came to raise us up to be heirs with Him in all things.