I had a great conversation with a student last week that is on her way to Jesus.  In the conversation she kept coming back to the idea of good vs. bad.  "I'm mostly good, and I think God only punishes bad people."  "I know I do some bad stuff sometimes, but I'm a good person."  This is nothing new, but I found myself really desiring some different language to frame things in.  After all, at the end of the day, I don't think the Gospel is reducible to morals or "good vs. bad".

As we talked however, we got away from using those words, and made our way more towards two different words I think will forever replace good and bad in my spiritual vocabulary:

Broken and whole.

Because isn't the Gospel less about Jesus coming to make bad people good and more about His making broken people whole?  Don't you find that when you talk about sin and the human condition in terms of bad vs. good that we tend to put degrees on it and keep score of how's bad, worse, worst, good, better, and best?  When we get away from that though and start thinking of broken instead of bad, we realize that we're all inherently flawed (sin) and we're all in the same sinking boat, no scorecard needed.  And thinking of the work of God in our lives as a journey toward wholeness sounds so much more appealing to me than thinking of myself as getting better (because often what I really mean is "better than you").

I love learning as much if not more from students than they learn from me.  Going to wrestle with this some more and see what God is teaching me...


07/26/2011 21:05

Thoughtful reflection and I think your shift in language is more true to the gospel. I would add that sometimes Jesus is depicted as helping people move towards wholeness by showing them that, despite what the culture or others may tell them, they are not "broken" but rather are God's beloved.


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