Saturday, January 21, 2017

when good leads you away from God

We hear from St Augustine today in A Year with the Church Fathers. He tells us that good things can lead us away from God. But how is that possible?

Well, let's take a verse of Scripture to teach us how. "He who has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God dwell in that man?" says 1 John 3:17. So that's how. If we have goods... the money or food or friends or sex or power... of this world, and we see our brothers in need all around us, and we refuse to help them... how can we claim to have God living in us?

So to clarify, "good is the enemy of great" does not mean that good things (as opposed to evil things) are somehow preventing us from being great, and we should do away with goodness so we can become even greater people. Simple goodness is very profound, and we are all called to practice it.

The word "good" is used in different ways, just as the word "world" is used in different ways. "For God so loved the world..." is using the word "world" in a different way than "do not love the world or anything in the world" (1 John 2:15). The "Good" that can lead us away from God is a different good than the good that He calls us all to become.

To sum up.... seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness. And all of these things (goods) will be added to you. But if you put the things (goods) first, you'll lose both them AND Him.

God, thank You for giving us wisdom to discern between goods and worlds.

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