Taking Sides: The Good and the Bad

Division is the fruit of Adam’s fall. Due to the fall, communion with God was fractured, and the character of man was split.  We were given temporal time for the opportunity, through Christ, to recover that communion through the Spirit.  We now battle to work out our salvation, through fear and trembling.

The war between good and evil is life’s drama on earth.  It is the daily battle in our outer and inner worlds.

The external battle plays out between countries, political and legal parties, economic groups, different races and different religions. It divides friendships, families and marriages.

The inner battle is our natural impulse to think of ourselves as all good, when reality demonstrates we’re not.  We want to be good, and we don’t want to be bad. This is programmed within us, wired into our DNA. We have many ways to distort our reality in order to preserve our image of a “good self.”  This is how we protect our self-image, as we were created in the image of God.  We want to believe we are good, but because we are no longer in constant communion with God, we are deficient.  We cannot attain goodness, as we have lost communion with the Perfect. We react by denying our bad.

This unseen battle leads to thoughts like “I will make sure I am good, by doing good things.”  I will be moral. I won’t confront.  I’ll be good on the outside.  People will see that I am good, and I will feel good.  I will do the right things.  I will do church.  I will talk church.  I will buy a hybrid car.  I will wear the right fashion.  I will look the right way. The major difference between being justified in self vs. justified through Christ, is the “I.”  There is no “I” in surrendered.

I can look “good” on the outside, but I am still imperfect. I cannot be good by my behavior, because I have a sin nature. It is a part of me.

Our nature is to deny our badness.  Psychologically we can do this by seeing it in others instead.  This is a process called projection.  It is unhealthy and part of the fall.  It makes us focus on the speck in the eye of the other, and makes us blind to the log in our own eye. This avoidance of bad is the origin of perfectionism and codependency.  It leads to blame, division and even hate.

Sometimes trials and suffering lead us to see more of our frailties and failures.  As we persevere and endure brokenness and pain and accept our bad, we can mature.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But you must let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4 (ISV)

We fail, we err. We are not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent.  That’s why we cannot fully “know” good and bad.

…since all have sinned and continue to fall short of God’s glory.
Romans 3:23 (ISV)

With maturity, we can acknowledge our bad and ask for forgiveness.

Our fractured nature includes both good and bad.  It takes spiritual and character growth to have the humility and wisdom to see that we are not “all good.”  It takes a spiritual transformation to see that we need Christ, as we cannot be enough to save ourselves.

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