Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Innocence and goodness are not the same thing..."

I must say that when I heard this statement today at church I was quite surprised. So for once, I listened with full attention to the sermon. It was a talk all about the three tempations of Christ, and what they in turn, had to say about his struggle, ours, and why it even matters to us. I will not go into detail on the whole sermom, though I know I could, and would like to. But that may take far more time and space then I am willing to take, and others would be willing to read. So, we shall write on just this one part, and one other facet that has me quite pensive, and maybe a little confused?

From I came to understand, Innocence is just a state of being in ignorance and out of harms way so far in life. Everyone has some form of it, and obvioulsy from birth begins life with it. As time goes, we lose it to varying degrees. It is therefore not merit based, but simple is intrinsic to the human condition. However, Goodness, is something far more difficult to achieve, and comprehend. For one to have it, and realize its true value, there is much struggle and pain to be had first. Without the pain, there can be no true goodness.

That was very hard to understand at first. Because it says that goodness, actual goodness, cannot come to those who live an easy life, or have not suffered in some way. But have we not all suffered at some point in our life? I think so. Well, as it relates to the tempation of Christ, he was handed the world on a platter, told to feed himself, and pushed to test God's love for him, and still he remained true to his self and to God, knowing that this path led to death. It was in the first temptation that the idea of innocence and goodness was paralleled.

Who knows what hunger is until they have not had food for a while? And who, given the ability to hvae anything would not use that for their own selfishness? It is human nature. But to deny that power and see a greater hunger, and thirst for more than palpable needs is true goodness. Christ knew he had to remain hunger though he had been in the wilderness for 40 days because of the greater good it would do. He could have remained innocent through his whole life, as a carpenter, who just happened to be the Son of God, and no harm nor worry would have come to him. He could have taken Satan's bargain and been worshipped, but though he'd feel no earthly pain, he would not be good nor righteous. It was the struggle that made Christ truly good, not his omniscience nor omnipotence. That was the hard part for me to understand.

After all, we are taught that Christ is perfect. Yet, perfection does not need to entail goodness, only lack of evil. Goodness came by truly understanding human frailty and not succumbing to it. I wish that I had such restraint and purity of spirit. So often I fail to be even remotely close to God's wishes. It is a part of myself I greatly abhor. I wonder if it is worse because I know I could change, yet fail to do so, versus those who do evil, without knowing its true effects and consequence. Though according to the sermon, the struggle we face in trying, is what makes us good, and what leads to true redemption.

The other troubling notion in the sermon was what Satan learned from the temptation of Christ. This I surmised on my own, as the minister never went in detail other than to say this, "When Satan tempted Jesus and he rejected him, he learned something of the nature of God. And this is that God was only accepting his presence for a time. And when done with him, told him to go". She said, Satan saw in the nature of God, One whom time does not matter, and who is willing to bide his time and wait. I find it troubling because until this point, all facets of God were a mystery to the Devil. He may know men's hearts and minds, but cannot ever know the enigma of the Lord. By giving even this one clue, Satan learned that God was not going to do anything soon in relation to himself or mankind. We became open stock to take, because God would wait and see how the Divine Plan works out.

The struggle became greater for us that day. For after Satan tempted Christ, we were put into this battle between each, and Satan knew for once, that he had all the time in the world. One wonders why this added obstacle needed to be added. Perhaps to make us even more rich in goodness?

I don't know why this sermon was so powerful, but there were other parts that also got to me, and made me think, about my own struggle, and helped me see human qualities in Jesus more. Maybe now, I am an open vessel to the word, because I am not as worried about my own problems lately. With the acceptance to law school, a great weight was lifted. And everything else is falling into place or getting fixed. I'll say this, if struggle can make us good, I wonder where I fit on the meter, hahah. I think you have to also have some purity in you for it to work. I'll have to work on that. But, I do wish for it.

One last note, if you've made it this far. As of Monday, I have made my choice where it relates to the Divine Plan. My mother was right, if I went to Columbia I was never going to become a minister. Is it God's Will that I now go toward a legal career? I would like to think so. He will see to it, that I remain active in the church, and will make some changes from the outside to it, rather than in. My path is set, and all I want is the support of my family and friends as I work harder than I have ever worked to become the best. After two years hiatus, once in college, and this past year, I undestand the cost of failure and the price success will be. But I am ready. To accept less than the best is to have struggled all this time in vain. Christ achieved goodness by being human. We achieve goodness in our striving to be like him, what we see as an epitamy of Perfection... Anyone else see this as the greatest irony?


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