What Is Good?
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"You're no good, you're no good, you're no good, baby, you're no good". True words, sung by the legendary Carly Simon. Or was it Linda Ronstadt? Okay, she wasn't singing them in the context of which I am speaking. But
songs like this spark in me the desire to see the words in a different light, so to speak.
First of all, these words are true. You're no good. Neither am I. We're all just a big collection of experiences and thoughts and opinions on everything that has happened to us, or been thought by us, or been told to us. Things we've seen or read about. Things that have been preached to us for generations. Lists of do and don'ts, and if you dare to deviate from the norm of the 'chosen path' then you are told you have it all wrong and will surely be consumed in the fires of Hell.
Sometimes I have to take a step back. To breathe. To think. To consider. If I really heard and listened to all that is being presented, I would be insane. I'm just a person trying to figure things out. My brain is already overloaded with way too much information. I want to turn it all off.
Yep. Every bit of it. Except one. I am a child of God. I WAS redeemed by a living savior, one who laid down his life for mine. I don't do great things, I don't think great thoughts, I will never change the world at large. I suffer from a touch of obssesive-compulsiveness, especially when it comes to my job, and the cleanliness of my house. But I have been saved by the love of Christ. I am no good, and yet I AM.
When I retreat from the demands that are placed upon me, I retreat to Him. There, in his care, I find rest. I find peace. I find goodness, indeed greatness. There, I find that I can move on after all, in spite of the confusion. There, I find that it's okay if I'm no good at all. I grab my Bible, and I read the red words. This advice I gleaned from another book, a diary written by a young girl, who found her mind on overload, and found peace by simply reading the red words. The words spoken by Jesus. It helps.
There is so much debate over this book, the Bible. Who really wrote it? Who wrote simply from their own human perspective? Is it accurate? Is it just a book and not really the whole, true word of God? Well. I don't know. I DO know that something magical happens when I pick it up. I DO know that my soul is stirred in ways that defy human explanation. I DO know that it seems as though the words I read were written for me, and me alone. I don't mean that selfishly at all. Fellow readers--you know what I mean.
I do know that I am loved in spite of my ungoodness.
I know that I'm okay. Everything really is in God's more than capable hands and I don't need to beat myself up over my failures. I just need to acknowledge them and move on. I don't have to follow a list. I don't have to be anything more than what I am, although, like most of us, I will always try to improve, if only to reach for the ultimate goal of life. To be like Him. To be like Jesus. Oh, what a goal to reach for!
I only have to follow a savior. I don't have to be 'good' to do this. I only have to be me, with Him.
I don't care if you're no good. I bet you don't care if I'm no good either. Still, I bet we do care sincerely for one another. If we all work together, in the name of our Master, what could we really accomplish?
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The last thing we want to hear and the last thing we want to admit is "we're no good." But there is so much freedom in coming to that knowledge... the knowledge that NONE OF US are good. Not only does it give us room to forgive others for their shortcomings, but it helps us to look more truthfully at ourselves and accept that we are merely human... imperfect people serving a perfect God... and therefore, we are more able to forgive ourselves. (which I've personally found is much harder to do than it is to forgive another.) Thank you for sharing your heart and such a thought-provoking article with us.
Beth, it is good to read another of your postings, and this one is special, for it is right from deep in your heart. God loves you, and so do we. It is not our goodness, for all our righteousness is as filthy rags before God. It is the goodness and mercy of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, that makes the difference. God bless and keep you.