(The following is this week's Joy-votion, a devotional I write each week and send out through email. If you would like to get a Joy-votion through your email each week, just email me at robbieiobst@hotmail dot com and I will put you on the list. This week I have a guest writer - my incredible husband John!)
“And we know that in all things God works for the GOOD of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes.”(NIV – Emphasis added) Romans 8:28
Back in Genesis 3 (the fall of man) Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Besides all the obvious consequences, (sin, death, and separation from God) I believe that tree had its own unique consequence for us all.
We “think” we are equipped to rightly judge good and evil. The problem is we lack the wisdom and perspective of God to know if something is truly good or evil.
I heard a story to illustrate the point. A poor farmer in a rural village had his only horse wander off and get lost. The people of the village came to lament the evil that had befallen the man. In response to them calling it evil, he said, “Maybe, maybe not.” Days later the horse returned followed by six wild horses and the people of the village came to proclaim the good that had come to the man and he said, “Maybe, maybe not.” Days later the man’s only son was trying to train one of the horses and fell breaking his back leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The people of the village came to lament the evil that had befallen the man and he said “Maybe, maybe not.” Sometime after that the army came and drafted all the young men of the village except the man’s son because he couldn’t walk. Shortly after that news came that a battle resulted in the death of every young man from that village. The people of the village came to lament the evil that had befallen them all but the man said, “Maybe, maybe not.”
Was this man wise beyond his years or did he simply understand he lacked the wisdom to judge good and evil rightly?
I am not arguing for a post-modern relativistic world view where everyone should pick the version of the truth that suits them. I am saying we judge all the time but lack the wisdom.
We live our lives judging people, places and circumstances as good or evil based on the simple criteria: Does this benefit me or not? As followers of Christ, we may extend the criteria of our judgment to include God’s Will as we understand it that day, but it is still our judgment.
Ten or twenty years ago, I would have believed that the greatest evil affecting my life was my addiction. Today I am convinced that in God’s hands it was and is the greatest good because apart from that pain, I would never have fully bent my knee to the Lord and been set free by His love and grace. Clearly I was wrong before and it is not completely clear that I am right now.
The next time you find yourself judging I hope you can let go of your right to judge and instead trust God to be the only Righteous Judge. Is this circumstance good? Is it evil?
Maybe, maybe not.