Our culture’s standards for “goodness” have been ever-changing this year. First, you were “good” if you never left your house. Then you were “good” if you stayed far away from people. Then, if you followed the arrows at the grocery store. Now, if you wear a mask whenever you’re told, think contract tracing is fine, and give schools essentially ultimate authority over your kids.
This ever-shifting morality is representative of what we find in the world outside of Christ- always having to “test” the culture to live up to what is “good,” striving to be good enough to its standard, and fearing shame and condemnation if you get it wrong.
It is exhausting.
And it only produces failure and shame, never goodness or holiness.
I GET why health recommendations are needed. But society has twisted them into a new determiner of morality. Of “good” or “evil.” A new “moral law.”
And if you mess up, disagree, or suggest alternatives? Condemnation is quick to follow. Shaming, name-calling, (“you dumb ____,” like I’ve received) and guilt are upon you.
This is what happens when we use the law to determine goodness. When we judge other people by its standard. We become morally superior. Pharisees. The law never produces holiness, & when we use it to lord it over people, it produces only death and shame, bondage and slavery.
God knew that his law would never produce freedom or holiness. He knew that we could never live up to it, & that we’d twist the law into a driver of shame.
Because he knew that, he sent his son to fulfill the law in our place. Now we don’t have to determine others’ goodness by their actions, because we know the same grace has been given to us for our sinful actions. Now we don’t have to shame others into following the law (remember, the “law” of morality or what gives us redemption), because we know that our God gave up his life to free us from our own failure to keep the law.
We have let ourselves become Pharisees about restrictions and mandates.
The answer to others’ failure to keep the law is not shame, guilt, condemnation, or name-calling. The answer is a kind word and bringing them back to the gospel.
The answer is in grace: in remembering that people will have different biblical interpretations for all of these laws and mandates that are brand new to everyone.
The answer is: bearing with one another. Lean towards assuming that the person and their actions wants the best for people, even if their methods are different and you don’t understand them.
Trying to reach understanding through discussion is good. Shaming, name-calling, and condemnation are not.
Trying to keep the law is good. Twisting the law into a new moral law where our goodness is found in our actions is not.
Our answer is in grace. Our answer is in bearing with one another.