Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bad Faith vs. Good Faith (Part 3)

See previous posts for background...

Irresponsible vs. Responsible - We've all known people of faith who would rather talk about Jesus saving them than lifting a finger to help with the job at hand. They leave the work to "unbelievers" while they do "the work of God". The truth is they are using bad faith as an excuse to shirk their responsibility - just another form of denial that has probably defined their life. Bad faith may be used on a larger scale, say, regarding the environment. Rather than deal with the problems and complexities of being a good steward of God's creation, bad faith says that "Jesus is coming soon so it doesn't matter what we do to the earth."

But good faith actually takes on more responsibility. Good faith sees that life is not about the individual but life is about the community; family, local and global. Where they were once concerned only for themselves they are suddenly concerned about all people everywhere as well as all of God's creation. Good faith sees life as a stewardship or an entrustment of the riches that God has given to us.

Rules vs. Relationships - Like the Pharisees of Jesus day, bad faith focuses on obeying rules not developing relationship. Relationships are expendible but rules are sacred. Bad faith spends an inordinate amount of time of studying the rules, executing the rules and judging the success and (mostly) failure of others who attempt to fulfill the rules. But good faith understands that "the letter kills but the Spirit gives life" and that "mercy triumphs over judgment". Good faith seeks to keep the unity of the faith, prefers one another and accepts one another. Good faith goes out of it's way to maintain relationship and only breaks relationship after every other attempt at reconciliation and restoration fails.

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