God saw everything God had made, and indeed, it was very good.
“God didn’t make any trash!” said a seminary professor who was fond of waking up us complacent students to what he considered fundamental truths. “That’s in the Bible,” he exclaimed, “and don’t let people tell you otherwise.” I remember his words when someone (often in the pulpit) says that humanity is inherently sinful and/or depraved.
Of course, we are all capable of terrible things, hurting people profoundly, and making disastrous decisions. We miss the mark over and over again, and when we do, we need to face the darkness, or arrogance, or insensitivity and make a change. The process is extraordinarily painful, but it is possible for us when we start from the belief that we are inherently good.
The existence of evil in the world is a fact none of us can deny if we've lived long enough, but that does not belie the truth that God's creation is good. As anyone who has faced addiction can tell you, the belief that I am “good” and not “trash” can make all the difference in recovery.
Basing our lives on the Biblical truth that as God’s creation, we are inherently good, means that when we feel rage, or humiliation, or despair, we recognize those things as feelings (powerful ones to be sure), and those feelings do not define us. We have erred, as a confessional prayer puts it, and strayed from God’s ways like lost sheep, but it is possible to regain that goodness and get back on the track to wholeness and peace.
That seminary professor gave me quite a gift, one I reopen regularly. Waking me up to our inherent goodness as children of God, he inspired me to love myself and others in a whole new way, and to be profoundly grateful for this “Bible-based” way of life.
Gracious God, help me to see myself and others through your eyes. Amen.
Copyright © 2010 Margaret Jones.