(image courtesy of youtube)
Thank you, faithful Reader, for indulging me (or maybe with me) during my last post about half-moon cookies. Reading that you should have gotten the sense of my fondness for those tasty treats. Enjoy them as I do, those cookies don’t hold much eternal significance. So it’s back to what really gets my motor running, considering the Great and Awesome God I serve!
Allow me to start with yet another question: Which do you prefer to hear first, good news or bad. I know we have each been asked this countless times. I won’t delve into the motive of the bearer of this query (this time). Rather, I’d like to first consider which one the majority of us seem to want to hear first.
My observation clearly points to the majority of folks when given the choice of good/bad news first, respond by opting to start with the bad. This is almost always my response in these situations as well. The thought process is simple: get whatever the bad news is out of the way and hopefully the good will far outweigh it. I think it pretty safe to assume we all run along a similar track.
As a pastor/preacher/teacher/learner however, I find a different order given when the question arises in the Christian context. It is my privilege and pleasure to speak often about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the word gospel in the original Greek can be translated as good news). Christianity 101 teaches that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on a cross in order to open the way for sinners just like me to enter into a loving relationship with the above-mentioned awesome God. Jesus’ selfless act was done in order that sin may be forgiven. This gift of forgiveness is offered to absolutely everyone, any where, any time! Because the bible teaches there is no way I can earn God’s forgiveness on my own; that Jesus has done this for me/us is the best possible news ever.
My interactions with others in ministry often brings me the opportunity to explain, as best I can, how this plan of God’s works. In attempting to do so, I often use the good news/bad news question. In this context, the vast majority of folks I talk with are extremely excited about the Good News, but not so much the bad.
Can there be a bad side to this you (and many of them) ask? Yes, there most definitely is. For this Good News to be truly that, we must recognize our need of it. It is essential to understanding God’s loving forgiveness. The bad news, simply put, is that I (and all humans) are born separated from God because of our sinful nature. I’ll spare you the theological argument for this for now by offering the following example of the nature we are all born with: place two equally well-cared for 2 year old children in a room with only 1 toy. The fighting and arguing that will result is sufficient evidence. They didn’t have to be taught to be selfish or greedy, they (and we) were born that way.
It is in this admittedly oversimplified example that we still can find the truth of God in regard to salvation. We are defiled at birth by the sin that is inherent in us. Our Holy God, by being holy, cannot be in fellowship with us while we remain stained in our imperfection. Hence the need of the greatest news of all time; the resurrection of Jesus Christ bridges that gap for those who put their faith in Him!
It is with my strongest, most loving recommendation that when pondering things eternal, please acknowledge first the bad news as I have presented it because in so doing, you may well become more aware of your desperate need of the Good News. This need can and will be met by a loving God who deeply desires that we come humbly to Him.
My experience with this very thing has led to blessings far to numerous to count, but one I will mention is this: knowing my place in God’s heart because I trust in Jesus makes it much easier to face the good news/bad news situations that still occur to me. I pray you may be blessed in a like manner.
My deepest appreciation for taking to the time to read this. I welcome you thoughts on any of the above and would love to hear as well how you deal with the good and bad news of life.
Blessings to all,
PS: For my younger readers, the image at the top is of a newspaper, a thing that many of my generation read before phones and other electronic devices made them extinct.