There’s a phrase I learned several years back in a seminar which (the seminar, that is) really stretched my boundaries (for a few weeks, anyway) and had quite a strong impact on my life. It made me stop and reevaluate my, well…values.
The phrase was, “If better is possible, is good good enough?”
Think about that for a minute.
From a Christian standpoint I immediately think about the son who ended up prodigal in a pigpen after squandering his inheritance. After becoming hungry enough to eat the slop given to the pigs this guy had an epiphany: “Hey, even being a servant in my father’s house is better than this…”
But the honest truth is, I can’t identify with that young man. I didn’t have a miraculous and life-changing turn-around testimony like I envied other Christians for. I didn’t get and squander what I believed was my rightful inheritance. The truth is, I identify with his older brother.
The brother. The brother stays home, he keeps working away on the farm. And one day that selfish, unworthy little brother of his comes home and Father throws a party. The older brother is angry because he doesn’t understand that both he and his brother always had their father’s favor, irregardless, and all this time he had not really known who his father was and what his relationship to Father meant. As someone once pointed out, he could’ve had more than just a goat if he’d only asked.
So what does this have to do with good and better, anyway?
I started there but I didn’t end there. I’ve dared to believe that my inheritance is more than I knew. I slowly left a bitter good for a gracious better. And I got the goat, too. Good just wasn’t good enough when I dared to think better was possible. And my forever-faithful Father didn’t let me down on his word.
But there are other brothers.
There are people out there who I know heard the same challenge for better. And they aren’t even interested in seeing what it’s all about.
I’ll be Frank for a minute (because what I’m going to say I may need an alternate identity to live down), I’ve heard what I believe described as, loosely put, doctrine of hell. By people who I have a very hard time believing know really what I believe because they’ve never talked to me. Maybe they’ve read some of my article titles and/or excerpts on facebook, but I can’t begin to guess where they have gotten their information if what they have taken away is that I am teaching a satanic, ungodly doctrine. Is there room for mistakes? Sure. I make mistakes, everybody does. But all that’s beside the point. The point is, better is possible, but so many older brothers out there are sulking outside the house because they’ve believed an exclusive doctrine all their lives that told them, ‘You don’t deserve that goat, you go back out and slave some more in the fields and then, maybe you’ll be on Dad’s good side. Or maybe if you believe hard enough, or faith strong enough.
Better is possible. Better is real. It isn’t something that will send you to hell if you believe it; it isn’t something that will get God mad at you. It’s grace, and love, and peace, and there’s always more. So do you want to hear about it?