I enjoyed going to the cinema recently to see “War for the Planet of the Apes”. A man-made virus has devastated much of the human population but for apes it gives them increased intelligence. A new ape society arises of equality, peace, where ape will never kill ape. But war breaks out between humans and apes and then apes even kill apes. This film reflects human history where right and wrong is challenged and even deciding what is good is difficult.
But what is good?
Once someone ran up to Jesus and called him ‘good teacher’. Jesus replied, ‘Why do you call me good, no-one is good except God alone’.
I used to think that doing good things made me good but Jesus’ perspective is different – he was clear that only God is totally perfect (good). How is what is good decided when everyone’s opinion can differ? Don’t we need God, a universal law-giver, to help? Do we struggle with this because it’s easy to look at evil in the world and overlook the evil that lurks in all of us.
Don’t we all fall short of being good?
This story was told to me recently-
A man goes into an expensive jewellery shop, desperate to get a present for his wife as she’s been through a difficult time. He sees the perfect watch but he cannot afford it. When no one is looking he takes it, but as he tries to get away the shop owner catches him. He confesses and explains why he wants his wife to have it. The owner feels compassion and doesn’t call the police and he’s free to go. Amazed, the man starts to walk away but the owner calls him back and says take the watch.
The owner shows mercy in not punishing the man for his crime and amazing grace in actually giving this man something he shouldn’t have.
Similarly, throughout the Bible God’s goodness is shown in human history as great generosity in spite of all the wrong that happens. God goes on forgiving individuals and even nations even when it’s undeserved.
But you might say, I’m a good person why do I need forgiveness. Well the point Jesus was making is that we all fall short of God’s standards of what is good but God still values us. He paid the price of all our wrong doing himself and set us free. This cost the life of Jesus.
Why am I a Christian? Because the more I read the Bible and understand how good God is and how good he has been to me the more I love him and want to follow him.