About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
I often wonder how
Christians perceive God as being good when they affirm that He is good,
and that He is good all of the time. The
word "good" is a relative term.
Good may mean something different to you than it means to me.
The Apostle Paul used the word "good" in Romans 8:28 when
he said this:
"And we know
that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have
been called according to his purpose."
I believe Paul was
saying that in all things, whether good or bad, God works for the good or
the benefit of those who love Him and participate in His plan and purpose.
Does this mean we should expect God to lavish us with what our
western culture calls the good life? Are
we entitled to claim, almost demand, from God everything our culture has
taught us to be good? Paul's
life proves that is not the case. In
the midst of sorrows, stonings, floggings, imprisonment, hunger, and more,
Paul maintained that God was working for his good.
Knowing Paul's life experiences, that makes no sense to our
"good" in Romans 8:28 is associated with love for God and our
participation in the implementation of His purpose in and through our
lives. I suggest, then, that
the word "good" as Paul used it here has everything to do with
how God defines good. It has
nothing to do with how we may define good, and besides, I am far from
convinced that we know how God defines any word, including the word
If we let Him, God
can work His ideals of goodness into our lives through all that comes our
way, whether good or bad, as we define good and bad.
We are thus instruments of divine goodness, not cultural goodness,
in the midst of a world where goodness is simply self-centered.