We always talk about human nature like it’s a bad thing. It’s always involved with lust, greed, violence, envy, etc.
But is everything about people bad? Aren’t good works possible? Don’t we, to a certain extent, value goodness?
What is goodness? Goodness, according to the Christian worldview, refers to loving God and people and following his commands.
Did you know that God’s commands actually make sense? Have you ever stopped and wondered about that? Here I am not necessarily referring to OT commands, rather I refer to those that are very relevant to Christians today (But let’s be honest, pork is not the healthiest meat). God’s commands benefit us and those around us, if not in the short term, then in the long term at least. So they are not arbitrary, but purposeful and beneficial.
1. “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
Of course I had to put this one first, but my reasons for saying that loving God is good for us will make more sense later on. The fact is, there are a lot of things that we can love and dedicate ourselves to. Wouldn’t it make sense that we should worship rather than idolize? Let’s face it, we have to do one or the other.
2. The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
The fact is, if everyone followed this commandment, the world would be a better place. We would help , value, and understand our friends rather than just trying to one-up them. Maybe in turn we would be helped, valued, and understood.
We would be better off because we wouldn’t waste our energy hating people.
4. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
This is empathy. This is being comforting. When you’re feeling bad, do you like it when people tell you to just “be grateful?” And do you like it when people don’t respond to your good news? When we feel for others, maybe we’ll focus on our own feelings less. This can be a good thing.
5. “That it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31)
Who likes arrogant people anyway? And haven’t we figured out by now that ‘pride comes before the fall?’ If we’re going to be proud of something, it might as well be God; not ourselves or an object or an institution.
6. Do not worry
Stop thinking about tomorrow! It’ll drive you crazy!
Do I need to explain this one?
8. 34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Because why should we make promises that we may not be able to keep? Even if it doesn’t seem like we’re talking about something important. Isn’t “honesty” still the “best policy?”
9. Not hiring prostitutes
(1 Corinthians 6:15).
10. But now I have written to you not to mingle with anyone who is called a brother, if he is a fornicator or a covetous man or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or a rapacious man, with such a one do not even eat (1 Corinthians 5:11)
I’l admit that this one is really hard to swallow. But let’s face it, bad company corrupts. I guess we should try not to be bad company ourselves.
11. Warnings against partying, drinking, etc.
There can be consequences.
12. Pay taxes, obey the law!
Because if you don’t, you can go to jail…
Those are somewhat logical arguments in favor of the commandments. But do not be led astray! Salvation will not come if you are doing these things for self-interest. By no means! There will be times, I’m sure, when there won’t be something in it for you. Or when there won’t be clear-cut consequences for doing the wrong thing. I was just trying to prove that God does want what’s best for us; but sometimes what’s best for our soul is not the same thing as what is best for the body.
Does that make sense? So, in the end, we either obey because we love God, or we don’t.