J. and I had that discussion again last night. The one about "good" and "bad." He's reading a book about the Civil War and wanted to know if the guys in blue were the good guys. I said that, while I believe that it is good that the North won that war, you can't look at history that way. It isn't like Star Wars with some all good and some all bad. There were good people and bad people on both sides. Even though the North was fighting for the right things, some of the people doing the fighting did horrible things. And though the South was fighting to keep in place an economy based on the despicable institution of slavery, there were people on that side who were decent as well. We had the same kind of discussion about the Roman Empire when he wanted to know why they destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. He wanted to know if it was "good" that Rome did that. We told him that whether it was good or bad (humanly speaking) depended on which side you were on, and that Rome was just doing what it had to do to stay in power against those who were rebelling. Whether or not the Roman Empire itself was good or bad is up to interpretation. It's so hard to get the idea across that history is just the story of what happened, and sometimes there's not a "good" or "bad" but just what is. J. wants everything to be spelled out like it is in stories. I did tell him that spiritually there didn't need to be a temple anymore because Jesus was the final and sufficient sacrifice. They didn't need to offer animals anymore. I hope we explained that well enough - he seemed to get it.
Poor J. He's so concrete minded and he wants everything to be black and white. We told him that sometimes history is a little more complicated than that. Then I told him, again, that really all of us are bad. We are all sinners in need of a savior. That's why it's so hard to say whether some things are good or bad because we are all depraved - sin mars everything - even good efforts and good causes. This is kind of heavy for an 8-year-old. It's kind of heavy for me.
As I've been reading in Genesis, I've been thinking some on what the implications of the curse of sin are. D. and I have been talking a lot about the implications of total depravity. He even brought it up in church council when, as Sunday School director, he was presenting a new curriculum and talking about how we need to be going about teaching the children differently than we have been. Total depravity means that every part of us is marred by the curse of sin. Our desires too. We are poor, blind and wretched apart from Christ. My righteousness is as filthy rags when offered up in my own strength apart from trust in Jesus. My hope is in His righteousness. When God told Eve that her desire would be for her husband, how does that play out for me as a woman today? It means that I am in a struggle with my flesh which wants to go my own way over and above my husband's leadership. It means I fight constantly the temptation to say that I know better or to push for what I want all the time rather than looking at what is more important for the whole family and trusting God to work in my husband's life and to direct him as he leads us. It also means that submission is not easy. This is where the Holy Spirit's leadership is so vital. He changes my desires to be conformed to His will. Praise God that when the Spirit regenerated me, He began a work that He will see to completion. This is what sanctification is all about. Learning to die daily to that fleshly sin nature that would seek to dominate and daily take up my cross and follow Jesus. So, no, J. there is none that is righteous, no not one. Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to His cross I cling. Only Jesus is good. And all praise to Him whose blessings flow far as the curse is found.