I don’t watch much television. So I totally missed out on "Breaking Bad".
Apparently it was awesome. From what I gathered in conversation, the series is a five-year morality play regarding the evolution of evil which happens through a series of small, independent decisions, as a high school chemistry teacher, facing serious health and financial problems, chooses to make and distribute methamphetamines as means of taking care of his family’s future.
It almost sounds noble, doesn’t it?
However, to quote entertainment journalist Chuck Klosterman, “the uncomfortable premise that there’s an irrefutable difference between what’s right and what’s wrong, and it’s the only one where the characters have real control over how they choose to live”, demonstrates the seriousness in regards to critical decision making.
This is where I go when considering making ends meet. Money conversations are not all numerical. Each is an ethical dilemma, universal to all of us, which reflects an intricate web of circumstances and values. I see it like "Breaking Bad":
What are you willing to do to get what you think you need?
Rich and poor greed is prevalent. For every money guy coaxing old ladies into questionable investments, someone in a low-income apartment is completing creative paperwork to pad an entitlement check.
Guess what: both are trying to make ends meet.
And since we’ve rationalized all of this, it’s fine to lie on your tax return.
And other people are supposed to do their research, so I don’t have to give them all the information about the investment.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built. Bernie Madoff didn’t become Bernie Madoff with one choice. Nor was Mother Theresa Mother Theresa in the blink of an eye. All of it, good, bad, and otherwise, is a series of minute-by-minute choices, typically under circumstances which are far from ideal, to live a certain way as opposed to another.
Again, it’s the "Breaking Bad" conversation: does an end justify a means?
My experience has been the end will work itself out because God has the end. But the means is legacy. This is our test.
Will we depend on God and follow His law, loving others well above and beyond ourselves, depending upon Him for ends to meet? Or will we work using the simple devices at our fingertips, which may or may not be on the up and up?
God redeems bad decisions. But typically these redemptions aren’t without cost. It might be a relationship, or a turn of events not on your radar, or maybe whatever it is you thought was so important wasn’t and suddenly “it” becomes toxic.
Nevertheless, regardless of what theater of the absurd you indeed created, God is there. Ends will be met, perhaps not the way human expectations illustrate, but ends will get met.
Because He loves us.
Peter mentions such in reference to Lot:
“And if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men . . . then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority” (2 Peter 2:7-8).
So, yes, He will save us. But these verses create a new question to ponder while considering choices regarding meeting ends:
What’s the difference between Lot the “righteous”, who selfishly chose the better land, who rose to a position of leadership amongst horrific men, who offered up his own children as tools of temptation in a negotiation with those God would soon destroy, who was torn between a love of God and something else more tangible when the angels offered safety, and who finally, once saved, still tried to spin God, fearful of the wilderness, far away from those described by Peter as “unrighteous”?
Lot wasn’t predatory. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I can’t help but wonder what Lot could have been if he thought beyond the superficial and trusted God at all costs. Perhaps Lot could have influence, as opposed to just another victim inundated by the world. Because when I consider Lot, I see a coward, who makes compromise after compromise in negotiations with evil. I see him like I see "Breaking Bad": ultimately a tragedy in regards to making ends meet.
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