Lately, I have been inundated with one of our society's newest fad beliefs, “Good does not exist.” This belief is not all that new in the history of mankind, but it seems to be gaining ground in our culture. Video games are being filled with decisions where all the options available to a player are either a bad choice or a very bad choice. There is no good option. This message is not confined to the video game culture, although being there is enough to influence a whole segment of minds in our nation.
This concept manifests itself in politics where we usually vote for the lesser of two evils. We settle on the church we attend because it is most in line with what we want to be part of despite its faults. One of my friends has expressed that people only do loving things for selfish reasons. We never seem to have a choice between that which is good and that which is evil.
Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and a frequent guest on NPR, was asked about war being a moral endeavor. He answered, "The world rarely offers us a choice between the moral and the immoral. It's usually a choice between the immoral and the more immoral. That's why moral decision making is so tough."
Do I always have to choose the lesser of two evils? Is there ever a choice for good?
Our society screams that we must choose the lesser of two evils every day; there is never an option for good. Look at the world around us. It makes sense to say that there really is no good. Life does not appear black and white.
But what if my intellectual struggle with the concept of there actually being a good is just the result of having allowed myself to be absorbed into our culture rather than to stand as a witness for something greater in it?
These beliefs -- that there is no good and we must always choose between lesser degrees of evil -- are going to be prevailing thoughts that we are going to continue to wrestle with, especially if we strive to be disciples of Jesus and hope to help others become the same. We must know in the core of our being and live in such a way that we testify that there is good. Jesus taught, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). For in living for the good, we draw attention to our Father in heaven.
The Apostle Matthew shared a story about a conversation with Jesus.
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?"
And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments."
He said to him, “Which ones?"
And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?"
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:16-26 ESV).We must find the good path and walk in it, yet the only good we can ever do is reflect God's ultimate goodness through the lives we live. There is good, but it’s almost never easy to choose. The challenge for us is to be faithful enough that we are willing to sacrifice our own desires and live in the good rather than comfortably choose the lesser of two evils.