THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2012
SEEK GOOD AND NOT EVIL
Today’s reading: Amos 5:14-15, 21-24
How do we experience life that is true and full? God has a
simple directive: “Seek good and not evil, that you
may live.” (Am 5:14a). The good is of God; evil is of
the devil (see that the word for this diabolical being says
it all: he is “d’ evil.” Notice also that
“evil” is the reverse spelling of “live”).
God only wants what is best for us, ultimately restoring us
to Himself in heaven; the devil wants what is worst for us,
ultimately bringing us to damnation in hell. Seeking good
and not evil is ultimately seeking God and not the devil,
and that is how life as God designed it is all about.
becomes even more emphatic. God wants to emphasize how critical
this seeking or this choice is. It is literally a matter of
eternal life and death. Thus God says: “Hate evil and
love good” (Am 5:15a). Love and hatred are the most
powerful emotions. Do not just avoid evil; rather hate it.
Avoid it yourself like the plague, and do whatever you can
to remove evil from the life of the world. In addition, do
not just try to be a good person, but desire good so much,
both in your life and for the life of the world, that you
would also go all-out to promote what is good.
is one practical aspect of promoting good? It is to “let
justice prevail at the gate” (Am 5:15b). Justice is
of God. Justice is basically giving to the other person what
is his due. To God is due awe and worship. To our fellow man
is due respect as a child of God. To our spouse is due fidelity.
To one’s family is due responsible parenthood. To the
poor is due an equitable share in the world’s goods.
The opposite of justice is injustice, which is doing the reverse
of everything we have said above. It is depriving others of
what God intends for them to have.
can readily see how becoming a just person will result in
good for all, and thus life for all. Again the converse is
true. Let us take poverty, which deprives a great many people
in the world of even the most basic goods of life, consigning
them to degradation and misery. Why is there poverty? It is
not because there are too many people and too little food
and land. The world can produce more than enough food for
even double the current population of the world. As to land,
well, the world’s population can fit in the state of
Texas with elbow room to spare. There is poverty because a
few rich people in nations and a few rich nations in the world
monopolize the resources, and do not share enough with those
in need. If they only learned how to truly share, there would
be no one in need, thus no poverty.
God created a bountiful world, to be shared by His children.
But because people have not been just, the great majority
of people experience the bad and not the good. This spirals
on itself, with the result of conflict, misery and hatred,
rather than unity, peace, joy and love.
injustice is committed not just by so-called bad people, but
by many seemingly good people, in fact, people of religious
faith. Masters go to Church and then malign their servants.
People place their offering on the collection bag and then
cheat their customers or shortchange their employees. Parishioners
sing in the choir and then backbite their neighbor or malign
their perceived enemies.
them God has a stern word: “I hate, I spurn your feasts,
I take no pleasure in your solemnities; your cereal offerings
I will not accept, nor consider your stall-fed peace offerings.
Away with your noisy songs! I will not listen to the melodies
of your harps.” (Am 5:21-23a). How many people today
do you think are going to churches and making their offerings,
not knowing that they are rejected by God?
should they do? How can their offerings be pleasing and acceptable
to God? “But if you would offer me holocausts, then
let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing
stream.” (Am 5:23b-24). There you have it. Be just!
In fact, let justice surge. Make it your lifestyle. Go out
of your way. Influence others. Work at justice such that the
world will be overwhelmed by justice.
justice comes goodness. And with goodness comes life.
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