The Wrong Question
Did you know that I love to ask questions? Not only do I learn from asking, but I teach thorough the use of questions as well. This is known as the Socratic Method of teaching. It is a great tool for guiding people on a journey of discovery as well as moves them toward greater understanding. But what happens when we ask the wrong question? Logically, we would have to say that we get the wrong answer.
Should a woman have the right to choose an abortion? That is the wrong question.
The correct question is: Should society allow the murder of innocent babies?
Should Christians be allowed to pray in government ran schools? Again, that is the wrong question. The question we should be asking is: Should we allow an ungodly government to train and educate our Christian children? When we begin to ask the right question, all of a sudden we begin to get the right answers.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” That is another wrong question. In Luke 18 a rich young ruler came to Jesus saying, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responsed with, “Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God,” (Luke 18:19). There is none good but God. So, when we ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” we are asking the wrong question. The correct question should be, “Why do bad things happen to bad people,” or “Why do good things happen at all?”
Several years ago in South Mississippi, we attended a revival where our friend Brandon Wilson was preaching. He addressed the same thought of asking the wrong questions. The point he made was that many times Christians ask, “Is this a sin?”
We will question…
Is it a sin to drink?
Is it a sin to watch this movie?
Is it a sin to say this?
Is it a sin to date this person?
Is it a sin to (fill in the blank)?
Again, we are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking if something is a sin, what every Christian should be asking is, “Is this holy?” You can ineffectively debate whether drinking is a sin, but when you ask the correct question of “Is drinking holy?” you get a clearer answer.
What about asking if this movie we are about to watch is holy?
Is what I’m about to say holy?
Is this relationship holy?
Is what I am doing holy?
And so on…
With the correct question, all of a sudden the perspective changes. It is easy to justify certain behavior when we approach it from a, “Is this really a sin?” attitude. However, if we approach our lifestyle, our conduct, our words, and our inner motives from the thought of, “Is this holy and pleasing to God?” it becomes impossible to justify those questionable activities.
I needed this reminder, because sometimes I do ask the wrong question. But as a child of God, I am called to examine my life.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves,”2 Corinthians 13:5.
As a child of God I should ask the Lord to search my heart.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” Psalm 139:23-24.
As a child of God I should ask if I am living in obedience.
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy,” 1 Peter 1:14-16.
Lord, is my faith real? Lord, is there any wicked thing in me? Lord, am I living a holy life? These are the correct questions! If we will just ask them, the answers will drive us to our knees and point us to God Almighty.
Bad things…good people?
When a tragedy happens, like the recent one at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, people start asking questions. How can a 24 year old man walk into a theater, open fire, and brutally kill 12 innocent people and injure 58 more? What led him to do such a horrendous act? Where was God when this happened and why did He allow it?
I have no doubt that this was an atrocious, evil attack that was probably influenced by demonic activity. And our hearts break for the family and friends of the victims. Like the rest of the country, these things are on our mind. We question. We wonder. We seek an answer for the calamity. Yesterday after church we were talking about the shooting. A friend was sharing that when something like this happens, without fail people ask the age old question. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” It was then my 9 year old son replies, “Why do good things happen at all?”
Did you catch that? Why do good things happen at all? He’s right. You see, we ask the wrong question. The question shouldn’t be why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? The truth is that as a whole there are no “good people”. “There is none that doeth good, no, not one,” Romans 3:12. We truly have a misconception that mankind is “good” and deserves God’s blessings. But Jesus clearly set the standard for goodness. “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God,” Luke 18:18-19.
Not only that, but bad things happen because we live in a sinful, wicked, depraved world. To blame God for the world’s evil condition would be equivalent to blaming a car manufacturer for a wrecked vehicle due to reckless driving. If we will be honest and look deep into the truth of God’s Word we would ask a different question all together. Why does any good thing happen to us at all? And the answer to that question is simply because of God’s great mercy.
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” Deuteronomy 7:9.
“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee,” Psalm 86:5.
God is merciful and this is why any good thing happens. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 136, I declare “his mercy endureth for ever.” Can you say the same thing? Has God extended His mercy toward you? He is merciful to those that love Him and keep His commandments. He is merciful and good and ready to forgive those that call upon His name.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” Hebrews 4:16.
The other night my family watched a great Dove family approved film called The Woodcarver. It releases on DVD next Tuesday, March 13th. This movie stars John Ratzenberger. (He is probably best known for playing mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the sitcom Cheers.) My children know him from his voice parts in Pixar’s films. (Hamm the Piggy Bank in Toy Story, The Abominable Snowman in Monsters, Inc. Mack the truck in Cars, etc.) Recently, he played a guardian angel in the movie What If.
Ernest, Ratzzenberger’s character in The Woodcarver, is down to earth and one that you will find yourself being drawn to. The movie deals with real life issues that many face like parenting, marriage, divorce, work integrity, and the loss of a loved one.
Matthew Stevenson is a troubled kid from a broken home. When he vandalizes the local church to get back at his parents, Matthew has to repair the damage to the church to avoid criminal charges. While working at the church, he meets Ernest (John Ratzenberger), an accomplished wood carver who created the intricate woodwork decoration that Matthew destroyed. Ernest has become something of a hermit, but reluctantly comes out of reclusion to help repair the church. Now Ernest and Matthew must work together to preserve the church’s beautiful antiquity, and along the way, they also manage to restore their faith in God and in life.
I will say that this is one movie that I could not find any faults with. Trust me, I looked. The only thing that was a little strange was the way the Baptist pastor dressed like a Catholic priest. My husband is a Baptist pastor, so of course I would notice something like that. Most people wouldn’t care. But honestly, I really enjoyed this movie. My oldest son commented about the ending; he didn’t like it. But without giving it away, I will say that I thought it was a good portrayal of the reality of life. It was very touching. So go rent it on March 13th and find out for yourself.
The movie tagline is “Restoring their faith in God and in Life”. So a word to movie producers, keep up the good work by producing more movies like The Woodcarver and my faith just might be restored in the movie industry.
** I wish I could send everyone a copy of this DVD, but I only have one to give away. So leave a comment and I’ll pick one winner on March 13th to receive The Woodcarver DVD.
Disclaimer: I received “The Woodcarver” DVD in exchange for an honest review. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.