Is Good Enough?

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There are things that seem good but actually aren’t. Can you discern the difference between good and evil?

Is good enough? That’s the question I set out to address in writing my new book.

For too many people, the terms good and God seem synonymous. We believe what’s generally accepted as good must be in line with God’s will. Generosity, humility, justice—those are good. Selfishness, arrogance, cruelty—they’re evil. The distinction seems pretty straightforward. And whatever is good must be on the side of God.

But is that all there is to it? If good is so obvious, then why does Hebrews 5:14 teach that we must have discernment to recognize it?

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14 NKJV, emphasis added)

Consider King Solomon. At the dawn of his reign, he passionately prayed, “Give to Your servant an understanding heart…that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9, emphasis added). It seems in his eyes the differences weren’t so apparent. It also seems what he sought was significant, for he was renowned for his wisdom. Are we missing something substantial by our assumptions?

If we need discernment to tell the difference between good and evil, that means they aren’t always apparent on the surface level. In fact, there may be things that seem good that actually aren’t. Elsewhere in Scripture, we are told:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12 NKJV, emphasis added)

There is a way that seems right—it seems good, wise, beneficial, strategic, acceptable, profitable, and so forth. Yet the warning in this verse is clear: what seems good may actually be detrimental, harmful, and nonproductive—the way of death. This is weighty!

So, what do you think? Do these statements of truth challenge your perspective in any way? If good isn’t obvious, then how do we know what we think is good really is?

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