The other day I got a comment on one of my posts that was provocative. I glanced at it and dashed off a response in kind. I have been thinking about it since and determined that was not the right way to handle things. First, it simply wasn’t right in and of itself – rendering evil for evil. Second, the person’s reaction was based on bad theology and this is often to be pitied. (Not always only pitied – bad theology can be a choice after a point, but I don’t think that was the case in this situation)
What was the issue? The person - not sure whether male or female – suggested that it was not good practice to “thank god” for the events of life. If I am following the logic of the comment, thanking God for one thing implied you would not thank him for the opposite, which is improper.
The topic under discussion was the protection of my children…I had said that, in a particular situation, “thank God” he had protected them from harm…So, is it true that I would not have thanked him if they had, indeed, been harmed by a sexual predator?
You bet your boots I would not have thanked him!
I am so very, very thankful that as Christians, we have the privilege of understanding the Fall and all its implications…That we know this is a universe that has gone bad, that has fallen from the goodness of its creator.
We can use moral terms freely and in the strongest possible way. Bad is not good and good is not bad. Do you remember the ‘weird sisters’ in Macbeth? “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” In the world of men, horizontally, yes. But vertically, never!
I remember Francis Schaeffer saying that in monistic religions – that is, that all is an impersonal oneness – there is indeed no foundation for moral categories. There is just what is, not what should be…Simply no foundation for value judgments. He gave the following example, while having tea with a proponent of monism:
If I take this teapot and pour the scalding liquid over your head rather than in your teacup is that wrong? But then the big question….Why? The unanswerable question to the person who asserts all just is and therefore is as it has to be…
And again, Schaffer’s wonderful words: if we, as Christians, say in accordance with biblical truth, that one thing is right and true, then the opposite is wrong and false…
We have a moral/spiritual category of ‘evil’. And the recent comment reminds me again of what a blessing that is. We don’t have to be schizophrenic, pretending evil is right, or even alright. We have the freedom and the obligation to hate it.
Thanking God for who he is in the midst of hellishness – yes! That he will use evil for good in our lives – yes! That there will be not the least remnant of evil in the New Heavens and the New Earth – absolutely! That unrepentant evildoers will be punished eternally – yes!
But rendering gratitude for the opposite of what is good?
Never, never do we thank him for what he hates and came to destroy!