For Love or Reason
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For Love or Reason

When we are very small we are good because being bad results in pain or loss.  Unfortunately some people never change their reason for being good. Fortunately some people learn to be good for the sake of love.  They do not want to disappoint those they care about.  This is a very good reason for being good. 

There is another reason for being good.  Reason is the reason. As we mature we understand God’s will is for us to thrive,and the only things He requests of us are for our own good.  There are the do’s.  Take good care of one’s self and one can avoid all manner of ills.   There are the don’ts.  If we avoid certain rotten behaviors, we avoid the rotten fruit.

One of my students interrupted my lecture on why we are good because he wanted to know which was the best reason for being good.  I quickly noted that being good to avoid punishment might work but certainly has no particular moral value. Fear works.  Fear also erodes the quality of life.

 That left love or reason. I like reason.  Reason helps us understand God’s rationale and helps us understand God is not arbitrary.   However, I also like love.  There is something noble about love that has elements beyond our own personal happiness. Love begets goodness for the sake of another. John 3:16 does not say, “For God so reasoned it best to sacrifice Himself for us.”  Which by the way would be a good text.  Instead God’s emphasis is on love.  Love grows and reason grows.  Love and reason fertilize our growth into His image.

Written by Roger Bothwell on June 20,2008.

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574