Good grief! I’m sure you’ve heard that expression for dismay or exasperation before. The phrase seems like an oxymoron but I believe these words may fit together as the two missing puzzle pieces of the soul. Let’s talk about a particular bond between good and grief that may be affecting us. First, what is good? Or let’s narrow this down and ask, is there anything good in us? We can probably come up with something that is pretty good and it may even be a consistent good thing that we do. But most of us would say that there are others that have mastered the standard of goodness so we keep believing we can and we will one day. And that is usually our argument if we are asked if there is anyone that has good in them. Most of us point to someone else – someone who is nice and does lots of things for the good of others. This kind of person may be one who is the teacher of the year, or volunteers at the local hospital, or helps at the homeless shelter, or gives lots of money to the poor, or maybe even your grandma and grandpa. We’ve, for the most part, given up hope on ourself though and just try to maintain the little bit of good we find inside all the while ignoring the fact that the goodness we find is usually fueled (unknowingly) by meeting our own needs or our own selfish motives. What about those who have just given up on being good and have let their personal desires take over? Would we understand if we knew they have just lost hope in their own ability to fight the good fight? But maybe we feel that by somehow managing the bad inside ourselves, so more good than bad wins out, it will be counted to us as good one day. Then we will be promoted to the same category as good ole grandma and grandpa. So then really, what kind of good is that?
In the Bible, God tells us to concentrate on His righteousness. Now that’s a word that sounds super de duper good. If you took a survey and asked a large portion of the population if they were righteous most people would tell you no- absolutely not! The word righteousness means a state of being approved by God, along with integrity, virtue, purity, and with correct thinking, feeling, and acting- all the time. If we concentrate on His righteousness then when we look in us we see a honest but bleak picture. That bleak picture of our soul is where our goodness has married grief. Our goodness is like a filthy rag compared to the reality of His goodness. We realize, concentrating on His righteousness, how far we are from God.
Now here’s where things really get good…Reality has a way of letting light shine in and it is a revelation to know our own reality. It is a relief to know we just don’t measure up- not one of us. All humanity is united in the fact that we all have failed in being righteous (sinned) and we all fall short of His glory. But simply, by looking up at Him, instead of looking inward or around us, we will know that this massive gap between us and God is filled by His desire to demonstrate His righteousness through the love of His Son, Jesus. He is our Hope and Blessing. Just look up!