Do You Have To?

Do you have to take the Good with the Bad?

Good Egg Bad EggReally? Or is it the Bad with the Good? There is a concept that you must take the person or situation with all of it’s warts and everything. While thinking about that yesterday, I accepted that a person can be mostly Good and wash out the Bad. Or vice versa. But to accept imperfections is like saying, “Okay… You don’t have to be that good.”

Cities are attempting to find the medium between drug problems, you know, crime, death, poverty, homelessness and downright mean people who are hooked by something like Heroin. They are setting up labs throughout an area as a safe place for the addict to come and administer their own poison in a controlled setting. No shared needles. No condemnation. No law to get them in trouble. It’s a safe place. We will give you clean supplies and will talk to you about how to get clean from the horrible habit you are addicted to.

The reality as I see it?

We are enabling poor life habits by giving them “permission” to come into a place of safety to engage in life killing habits. If we really believe this is the way to go, then perhaps we should back off of preaching to the choir about junk food, sodas, and all that sugary stuff – and simply create a “safe” place for this killer food to be enjoyed!

Remember the Wizard of Oz? (Side note… I never knew it was black and white transition into color until I was an adult… We only knew the Black and White version!) There was a Good Witch and a Bad Witch. You could tell the difference. Soft spoken vs crackly voice. Beautiful skin vs warted and green skin. Float in a bubble vs riding a broom stick.

This is the way I learned life, I guess. There were no gray areas between Good and Bad. You were either one or the other. You know. Right. Wrong. Black. White. Tall. Short. Skinny. Fat. Seldom did we see any blend between the extremes. You were all the way one way, or the other.

Church has often been viewed this way. We listen to the teachings of Jesus and we see that the end result is a church filled with Good People.

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 13:47-50 NIV)

We are all in this world. Good fish. Bad fish. And at the end, all the Good Fish will make it into heaven and the Bad Fish will not… I firmly believe this to be the truth. But, how do you distinguish between Good and Bad?

Jesus was identified as Good by a seeker of knowledge and assurance that he was on the correct path. His first answer gave a hint to his identity, because to answer with no solution would have been him saying he had no right to tell you how to live because he could not have been a Good Teacher! But answer, he did!

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'” (Mark 10:17-19 ESV)

The fact that Jesus was giving the commandments to someone who grew up with them, that man must have felt a great relief! “Whew! Safe! I’m in!!!” (Mark 10:20) But Jesus, not satisfied with the life lived wanted to add an additional focus to living.

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  (Mark 10:21 ESV)

Exchange what you have here, for what you will gain there… That’s giving up the concept of Good here, and gaining Better there. When we live our live for acceptance and gain in this world, then we must accept the Good with the Bad. But if we exchange our view from HERE to THERE, then we focus more on that place that cannot have ANY BAD!

How do I know this? Because John the Revelator was given to see that future time and place.

But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  (Revelation 21:27 NKJV)

This has been the purpose of The Book. Get us Good enough to enter in, by leaving all the Bad stuff out of our life. It is the Bad Stuff that will cause the most problem.

So, when we think about each other let’s not think about accepting a little Bad with the Good! Let’s think about how we can get rid of the Bad so that everything will be Good! You can’t force anyone to change who they are, but wait long enough and your voice and example will show them that there is a better way to leave all the bad behind!