Friday, December 19, 2008

# 267: When Bad is Good

This post will give a partial answer to the age-old, proverbial question of why bad things happen to good people. The title, “When Bad is Good,” sounds like a contradiction, but in the lives of genuine followers of Jesus Christ, it is a truth that most would rather not go through. When true disciples of Christ are going through hard times, they most likely desire more than anything to be in a better place: resting in the peace and comfort of God’s eternity.

What I mean is, when "Christians" are enjoying life on this earth as living the good life, their desire for anything better is being compromised. In fact, the good things this life offers will make heaven unreal: something strictly for the future, and of unimportance for the present. When life is such, that suggests their greatest and most dominant interests in life are things and attitudes of worldly value, of course, all in the name of Christ.

That is where many who call themselves Christians, in name only, are dwelling. That is a crying shame. With many churches promising material prosperity and freedom from adversity, it is no wonder that they (the churches and the laity) are growing in number.

The fact that heaven is not longed for as it should be means less of a chance that they are genuine Christians, without their knowledge. Who can convince this large group of their fatal destiny? Hopefully this blog, but chances are slim. The best, if not the only, chance is to study the New Testament (NT) and know it like one knows the palm of their hand. To refute that statement, some may profess to go to church and learn all that is needed from their loving and godly pastor. But God and Jesus Christ and I will unequivocally say that this is a false assumption.

The reason is, it would be impossible for churches, especially mega-churches, to stay in business if churches, who claim to be Bible- believing, in reality fail to mention many pertinent sections of the NT. The sections I am referring to are those that seem humanly impossible to live by. And, praise God, this blog that has been on the Internet for over 3 ½ years has brought them to light.

I mean those like the second greatest commandment of all, which teaches to love our neighbor/s as ourselves, and the greatest command of all, which is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Many churches teach that they are impossible to keep. Not true. What about the one the Apostle Paul teaches, which says to "consider others better than yourself"? Philippians 2:3. This blog teaches not only why, but how to obey them. We must always remember that love is the essence and core of the Christian religion. Without functional love as described in the NT, it would be only a religion of words.

I can tell you from experience that it is not easy, but many times, gut-wrenching and painful to put others as a priority over self and family. If any church was to go beyond words and attempt to enforce commands like these—and there are many of them—church membership would dwindle. In Christianity, it is not easy to produce good works/deeds, which is a must. Remember, we were saved not only for our Salvation and good, but more so, our part is to work night and day, as it were, to somehow get others to follow Christ and all that He commands. In short, that is the work Christ started, and it is our duty to propagate. There is no salvation without obedience to His commands. Do you and I know what is expected of us? Repeating, without knowing what is taught in the NT, we most likely will go astray, if we are not there already.

Now getting to another area of when bad is good . . . no one in their right mind would desire bad things to happen to them. But when they do come and possibly make life miserable, instead of saying to God, “Why did you let these horrible circumstances happen?” instead we should praise God for it; I mean things that are distasteful, extremely hurtful, mentally painful, undeserved or many other disagreeable happenings. After all, those hurtful things that happened will make us want to leave this unfair, evil world, thus making our faith stronger and bringing us closer to God and making our desire to be with the Lord that much more realistic. To put it bluntly, death would be welcomed.

Could that be one reason why God loves the poor, because their lives are in a constant state of want? When a poor person is a genuine disciple of Christ, that person can’t wait to leave this world and be in the peace and tranquility of Jesus Christ. Listen to James 2:5. "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" In the complete NT, God does not say one bad word concerning the poor, whether they are a believer or not.

To the contrary, God does not have one good word to say, in the complete NT, about those who are materially prosperous. Isn’t that funny? Did you ever hear that message preached in any church? That does not mean that rich people cannot enter heaven. What it means is that once wealthy people do accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, their lives will have to make a 180-degree turn. They will have to be exceedingly generous to others who are in want. In a short time, they should be prosperous no longer; that is, if they truly love their needy neighbors and love God with their all. 1st Timothy 6:17-18. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain . . . Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." The bad thing in their lives (having to share their wealth) was the very thing they needed. When the wealthy try to hide some of their wealth, they will be under the curse of Ananias and Sapphira: spiritual death. Acts, Chapter 5.

I am certain some who want to defend the ways of the rich as being good Christians, or know a few facts about the NT, or heard it preached a number of times, will quickly bring up two wealthy disciples: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Now I ask, How long would they be wealthy while Jerusalem was filled with poor disciples who were ostracized by the Jewish Ruling Council from their synagogue, their place of employment, and some of them even their homes? Equality is always the norm where selfless love exists. In a genuine Christian community, there can be no one with wealth while there are those in need.

It is a disgrace to Christianity that this Biblical truth concerning the harm that wealth can do will never materialize. The rich, including the rich clergy, control what is right, what is wrong and what is truth. They will never give up their wealth just to live according to the teachings of a book that was written by the unlearned 2,000 years ago. Wealth has such an unyielding hold on some that profess Christ, which not even common Godly logic can undo.

I have written extensively on the harm wealth does in the Christian community. It can all be said in one sentence: Money talks; that means that what rich "Christians" say carries a lot of weight in religious matters, in defense of the ways of the rich "Christians’" life styles, regardless of what the NT teaches. If they only knew that sharing their wealth, which would seem like the worst thing that could be asked of them, would in turn be the greatest blessing they could receive from God.

To sum up, bad things give us a greater incentive to want to leave this world, while good things make people love this world, confirming that life is great, though they wouldn’t openly confess it, especially if they believed they were Christians. Let us not forget that this rule of when bad is good pertains only to genuine disciples of Jesus Christ, since they "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1st John 2:15. Did you ever think about what the opposite of love is? Answer: Hate. By hate, I don’t mean individual people, but the ways of the world and all the niceties it offers. That means that if we don’t love the world, we hate it. I am certain not many will agree with my analysis, which has sobering implications.

I, personally am more than ready to leave this world. I am totally fed -up with this unfair and unjust world. Regardless, I still don’t especially enjoy it when bad circumstances come my way. There are enough disagreeable things in my life as it is, enough to last me the rest of my life.

Finally, remember this: God allows disappointments for our well-being, while Satan loves to give good things to God’s people in order to keep them happily glued to this world. Do you and I love this world or hate it? Our lives will give us the answer. This will need some honest and serious soul-searching. By the way, the message that Joel Osteen (the most popular preacher in America) preaches is the exact opposite of what this post and the NT present. He promises all good things will come to God's people. Who do you believe? You can see him on TBN, the largest TV station in the world. Let me hear your comments. Here is what Scripture says in Hebrews 12: 5-7. "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.”

Let me end with the most convincing proof that many times bad is good: Jesus Christ, the perfect man, had a bad thing happen to Him. He was crucified (a very bad thing) so that a good thing (eternal life) might come to the world. Is He our example for life?

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