I was in a conversation with a nonbelieving friend last week, and he mentioned a t shirt he saw. It said something like, “Love Your Neighbor — and that includes blacks, whites, gays, racists . . .” (etc.) My friend asked, “What does that mean? It’s not like they’re going to have a crack head into their house, or anything.”
My friend is so cynical. He can’t believe that someone might be good enough to really give to an “undesirable.”
I had a denouement the other day. I realized that I haven’t been leaving the impression with people that God is good. I’ve been stuck on communicating to them the things they should do. I keep thinking of the things that are wrong and need to change.
In my interactions with others, I want to leave them with the knowledge that God is good. When I am gone, I want my grandchildren and those I love to have this as a strength against the discouragements of the world.
So I’ve started working on this more. I’ve started being more cognizant of the impression I am leaving. It’s easy to talk to people about the problems of the world, the things that need to change. But if I hold onto the inner core of truth that God is good, all my interactions are different.
Yesterday I trying to have a devotional while I was at the mechanic getting my car worked on. Not being able to think too deeply with all the distractions, I read through James and I Peter. I love reading these books because I can see first hand the heart of the writers. With Jesus, it’s someone else’s account (inspired by God, of course). But with the letters, I can hear straight from their mouths what they are thinking and feeling, what is important to them.
And how does James start out his letter? “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds. . . ” He’s talking about having literally ALL joy.
What does Peter say first? He gives exuberant praise to God! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
These men are so enamored with the goodness of God. Note some other things they say. I am listing just a few —
- Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. James 1:17
- Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13
- But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
- The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11
- Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. I Peter 2:2-3
- But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. I Peter 2:9
- And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. I Peter 5:10
The world is a cold place, but we have the warmth of God’s goodness. Let us share it unceasingly, leaving a legacy of beauty and hope.