The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good Vs. Evil

When I was a child (which was many years ago) I learned many of the evils of life such as playing cards, pool tables, dancing and drinking alcohol. Of course we shunned such desires as a child and learned to be judgmental of anyone who partook in such evils. When I became older and wiser I came to understand all of these evils were neutral objects, meaning they were neither good or evil, but what mattered was how someone might use them that would make them good or evil. I remember one day the pastor’s wife emphatically refused to let her children play the “Old Maid” card game with me simply because it was cards and she wouldn’t let her kids go to the movies to see “Bambi.” What are some ways these objects could be used immorally? Playing cards and pool could be used for gambling, dancing such as the Lambada could be used to sexually arouse someone and alcohol can be used for drunkenness which could lead to DWI or spouse and/or child abuse.

So, what is good and what is evil? How do we determine what is moral or immoral? Is there anyone on this planet that has the right and ability to dictate what is right and wrong? Are there some good people in this world and some bad? Is something that was immoral and wrong 3000 years ago still immoral? Yes! Sin doesn’t change with the times. Solomon said there was nothing new under the sun. Are you an evil person because you do or have done something wrong or sinful? Are you a good person because you have done some good things in your life? The answer to the last two questions is NO! You are neutral. You are neither good nor bad. In Isaiah 64:6 it says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”

For some time I’ve been telling people that they were actually good, but were doing bad/evil things. This was an inaccurate statement. The truth is the people were neither good nor bad, it came down to what they believed about themselves and they acted accordingly.

This is where this gets really interesting. From our childhood on Satan has distorted and corrupted mankind’s thinking. He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he loves to twist us up in knots trying to convince us we are evil and bad. Therefore he knows we will bring him the fruits of pain, sorrow, guilt, fear and death. Here’s the good part. God is working even more diligently to bring us to him, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22) but He will not interfere with our free will. We have to choose the love He has demonstrated through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus and He will bring righteousness in us through Him. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. Romans 6:13

What about Charles Manson and Adolph Hitler? Were these evil men or were they used to do evil? They were men that submitted to evil, but they were just men. I have heard so many stories of people who had horrible atrocities happen in their lives, but some used this as excuse to commit crimes and others used their past to reach out and help others. It came down to choice.

So if you do good things, does that make you a good person and is this all we have to do to get to heaven? No matter how hard and diligently we try to be good it will never be enough to please a Holy Father. This has never been a matter of following rules because if it was, all of us would fail. As Max Lucado says, “If we only had one rule to follow to be allowed into heaven and that one rule was to jump as high as you can and touch the moon, we would all fail.” Even in my youth I might be able to jump four feet and of course it’s much farther to the moon.

Fortunately Jesus was willing to jump up and touch the moon (so to speak) for us so that we would and could have a chance of eternity with Him. The moment we accept Christ into our heart we instantly become everything God wants us to be. It has never been Jesus and good works, Jesus and sacrifices or Jesus and anything else. Just Jesus!

So as I said earlier, how do we determine what is good and evil? The only way I know is to go to the highest authority on the matter and see what His Word says. (The Bible) I have heard so many ridiculous forms of advice that come from people meaning well, but there basing their advice on what they saw in a movie or something. I’ve heard some couples say that God brought them together when they were involved in an adulteress relationship. How ridiculous! I don’t ever recall God advocating this. Many religions have been based on someone’s morality.

How can we determine what is good and what is evil? Was it a good or bad thing that I experienced several types of sexual abuse and was it a good or bad thing I was bullied the first few grades of elementary? Satan meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. (Romans 8:28) If it weren’t for those hurts in my past you can be assured I would not be writing these Bus Stops nor would I be working at the boot camp.

Joseph had several horrible things happen to him. First his brothers wanted to kill him. Instead they sold him into slavery. Has this happened to you lately? He was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into jail. Eventually he was made second in command over Egypt where he came face to face with his brothers. When they recognized Joseph the first words out of their mouth had to be “uh oh!” But Joseph said graciously to them in Genesis 50:19, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

I don’t know what has happened in your past, but I do know one thing. You can either let Satan torment you with this the rest of your life and destroy you or you can run to a wonderful relationship with God and let Him use these hurts to paint a beautiful picture.

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