In this post I both want to tell you about a question that I, especially as a Christian, are struggling with. However I know I’ll eventually get sidetracked into other things, which is fine. Why is it fine. Because I write so I can both record and relieve my feelings and thoughts.
A year ago I was still at school. I was part of our school’s chess team, though we were rather pathetic. But the people in it were great. Once a year we organize the “High Five” tournament, where a lot of people in the school play 5-minute chess games for fun.
In my team there was one guy whose name I forgot. I’ll just call him the Shallow One. Not shallow in the sense of being superficial, but shallow in the sense of being too preoccupied with facts than wisdom or reason. He was a few years younger than me.
After the game he asked if he could borrow some money, just R5 (in South Africa that’s about the price of a bread). So I gave him R10. I didn’t think more of it.
However, later I asked myself why I did it. Did I do it because I want to? If so, then I want to do it. Which makes it selfish. If I did it because I should, since it’s the right thing to do (morally and as a Christian), then I’m doing it because I’m in some sense forced to do it and not because I want to. Which one is correct?
Either you help because you want to – selfish, or you help because you should – cold and unsympathetic.
For a while I wondered about this. Then I thought, it’s about the one I help, not why I help. If he is helped, regardless of why I do it, then that is the right thing. This is the closest I come to a solution, but it still doesn’t solve my motive.
This also took my to another question, one of Good and Evil. How can a good person do evil? And how can an evil person do good? If we are morally perfect, then why do we do evil? If we are fallen from grace, sinners, then how can we do good?
Then I thought about water. Only if it is pure, no dirt in it, can you call it clear. That is good. If the water is mixed with just the most tiny amount of dirt, then it is polluted, evil. Yet there are levels of the evil. Between water with a little dirt and water which is almost entirely mud. There are levels to the evil. Yet there is still good.
That’s why I believe Christ said “none is good”. To be good you must be perfect, clean, holy. You cannot be good and do evil, but you can be evil and do good.