Question:

What would you do if you had God’s favor, no matter what, no questions asked, no matter how good or bad you are? What would you do? If you had complete freedom to chose any path for your life, make any decision, do anything. Could you do that, could you live like that?

For many people, this is a confusing question because perhaps your life doesn’t have such paradigms. Perhaps you do wrestle it out with you, yourself, and I and simply try to do your best and feel totally free. Or maybe, you just make decisions on a whim, whatever works best. And if that’s this case this might not necessarily be for you.

But, if you have grown up believing at some level that you need to be good, you need to honor God with good behavior. It is your responsibility to be a light. If not you than who? That God critically judges your every move and motive. That you just want to do exactly the right thing etc., etc…

Maybe you aren’t even aware this is how you make decisions or navigate life. But maybe at some level, if you’re honest, this is how you think.

I know it’s been true for me. I was broken into a mentality that put so much emphasis on what I brought to the relationship between the divine and myself. It was about my ability to be moral, good, loving, like Jesus, and always right so that when Jesus comes back he’ll recognize me and say good job. I want to be recognized. Like the second son in the parable of the prodigal son I want recognition for all this. I want a party for all of my obedience and righteous deeds.

I wonder though, what if in this whole time of trying to be righteous to honor my conception of God so that maybe I could be one of those last who become first I’ve been missing out on all the goodness that is the totality of divine presence right in front of me.

That the divine presence would be obvious and easy to access–calling me to focus on what was done for me, what love has done for me, so I could experience real goodness in every hug, friendship, act of sacrificial giving and forgiveness–has largely been lost me. Instead I want to control my righteousness like money in the bank so I know I’m right about everything.

I mean this is the story of the second son in the prodigal parable is not? He had everything the father had to offer every day–and the greatest gift was his dad’s unconditional favor–but he chose to orient his life around his personal goodness. This might at first sound like a call to focus on how good of person you are. But really it’s a call to humility, to accept the aggressive inclusive totality of how much God just did it all. And, for no reason other than love, you can have it all too. And maybe, that’s more than enough.

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