“Right? Of Course Right!”*

tevye

Watching this classic production, once more we see Tevye’s “existence is balanced as precariously as a *fiddler on the roof.”1 New ways and new challenges, one after another, press in on him…as they do us.

How does anyone ever really know what is right or wrong to do?

When people say they are being honest, what is the standard by which they judge? Honest according to whom or what? When people “see” and say that the world is a crappy place and their lives are a living hell, are they being more honest than those who say God is in control, and all things will work together for the good of those who love Him? Most people would say the first perspective is the more honest assessment. Is it? I believe the second perspective doesn’t deny the first, but that it doesn’t stop there. I believe, for that reason, the second perspective is more honest—because it doesn’t stop where humans and humanness stops. It goes on to acknowledge the unseen, but no less REAL, fact of God. The WHOLE of reality, not just what humans can or can’t fathom or generate. The God who IS there, and who can, who will, who does redeem.

Are you SURE there is no God? How can you be sure? Are you in fact living a half-truth, a lie, in denying His existence?

Even the self-proclaimed atheist uses, for example, the “bad” things “Christians” have done in the name of Christ to “justify” his or her unbelief! In doing this, even the atheist admits to SOME standard of what IS good—and in a sense even, they are right, except in assuming God is actually behind ALL the things SOME claiming to be Christians have done. Atheists also judge there could not possibly be a God, because if there were a God, He would not allow the atrocities committed all over the world! They judge these atrocities to be “bad,” and they are–and they are not generated by God. But by what standard do they judge?

Where does the (immaterial) sense that there is good and bad come from if not from the (immaterial) existence of Ultimate Goodness? There is certainly a sense in humans that/when things are amiss. Amiss from what—or Whom? All people have this sense of some things being good and some being evil—which is enhanced when evil is done to ourselves or to a loved one—and diminished when we deny the evil we or a loved one has done to another. There are those who claim that people can be born without this sense. How can they claim this? How can anyone know such a thing? There is ALWAYS, with everyone, a limit of what is “acceptable,” a defining, if you will, of what is “good” or “bad.” A sense that there is good and evil is one universal trait we share with all other human beings.

So again, how does anyone know what it truly right or wrong?

If we are going to be fully honest, we need to consider the WHOLE truth in order to find a REAL answer.

The only person who ever was and ever is always “right,” said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment”—Jesus, quoted by John2 said this—or according to another translation, He said: “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” 3

So it’s not that we should NOT judge at all, but that we need to judge rightly. And we are back to the original question: How does anyone know what is right or wrong? How do we know whether we are judging rightly or not? Just as for Tevye, “tradition”1 isn’t the answer, but neither is “progressiveness.”

The Answer is waiting with open arms to embrace us. He (though unseen) is staring us in the face: the One God of all the myriad gods, who came, not to lord it over us, but to serve and die for us, because we alone are not enough. With Him is the full truth, the light, the way.

What is right is this simple: honestly turn to and obey Jesus.

________________________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. “Fiddler on the Roof,” The Mirisch Production Company, VHS, 1971
  2. John 7:24, King James Version of the Bible
  3. New International Version of the Bible
Advertisements

Which Eyes See?

eye

Each day brings new challenges, new opportunities, new vistas… What am I seeing today as I journey down the river of life? I am seeing that, which eyes I see with, is important.

When I am grateful, I see what God is doing in us all of us despite ourselves.

When I am thinking only about what pleases me, I am never content, and everything and everyone displeases me.

After spending time in God’s Word and in prayer, I love people more, I see the big picture and what’s really important more clearly.

When I am dwelling on my problems I can hardly get myself to do the necessary things of life.

After reading or hearing the “news” I have mixed feelings. I feel frustrated and angry when it’s just me…

…When I remember we are talking about individuals God loves, my main feelings are sadness that so many people in our nation and in Europe have turned away from the only One who truly loves them to trust in themselves and their own human understanding. Christians among these (me too sometimes). I also experience wonder and bewilderment that God allows even “them” (whoever “they” are at the time) to practice their free will (unjustly); followed by gladness that God is absolutely dedicated to allowing each of us, individually, time and space (freedom) to “see”–if  we will—and to choose whether we will love Him and His good, just ways or not; followed by relief and gratitude that He hasn’t judged me immediately for my own sins and mistakes and shortcomings (unjustness).

When I’m heedless of anything but my own comfort, and things are going along pretty well, there is no problem I can’t solve–until things quickly dissolve.

When things aren’t going so well, I quickly remember and find true, there is no problem GOD can’t solve.

When sometimes, even the smallest thing goes wrong, and I dwell on it and dwell on it, it grows and grows until EVERYTHING seems impossible.

After I put my eyes back on the fact that God is all-seeing, past, present, and future and all-powerful and stop relying on my own understanding (what I think of my own abilities, of a situation, or of someone else, etc…) and sincerely turn it all over to Him for His help and guidance, immediately whatever was upside-down begins to be righted—even in the midst of horrible circumstances.

When I am tempted beyond my control and I give in, I feel worse about myself, no matter my justification.

When I am tempted beyond my control and I choose to love God (and others) more than (whatever it is) and whole-heartedly turn it, including my desire, over to God, He gives deliverance.

When I am trying to make my plans and to have more control of my life, I get frustrated and it doesn’t end until I stop.

When I submit to whatever it is God has already given me, in other words: what I know by His Word and Spirit and the conscience He has given me to be right, and try to love and be kind to those already in my life, and do well the tasks already at hand, and help others in their present need wherever I can, I feel content in God’s pleasure, and life is well worth living.

Sometimes escaping, one way or another, works for a while—but only for that while—then come the consequences. They always come, and sometimes they aren’t really worth the price paid.

So what am I seeing as I travel this river called life? What do I see more and more clearly as I journey? Not just in the above instances, but in all situations? There are no REAL substitutes. Life goes better, the journey is even joyful, not with Coca-Cola, but with God—The One whose Spirit presence is with us through Jesus.