The 8:28 Cliche

Posted: October 11, 2015 in Random
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Roman Gladiator

You’ve heard it before, right?  You’re going thru a rough time, and someone tries to comfort you by saying, “You’ll get thru this. All things work together for good.” But that’s… not exactly true, is it?

For starters, your friend didn’t finish it. This is another classic example of people taking what they want from the Bible and ignoring the rest. They pick and choose what works for them in the situation. It’s arts and crafts time, kids. Get your Bibles, your scissors, your paste, and your construction paper.  Now I want you to cut out the parts of the Bible that you like best and arrange them on the construction paper in the best way possible.

The statement, “All things work together for good” comes from Romans 8:28, which (depending upon the English version you choose… yeah, let’s not get into how many different English versions there are) actually says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” [source]

Surprised? You didn’t imagine there were so many conditions for things to work together for good, did you? Basically, this guarantee of things working together for good only applies to those who love God, which are also people who are “the called.” (The called refers to the touchy subject of predestination, which I’m not even going to get into here.) And you can bet that there are qualifications to loving God as well.

So let’s try to simplify matters. Do all things work together for good? Not necessarily.  Here’s a list of thoughts to consider.

  1. I try to shy away from using words like “always” and “never.” Here, “all” serves a similar purpose.  Are you really ready to apply this statement to every imaginable scenario? I’m not. That’s a pretty broad spectrum. “All things” covers… all things. Does that include picking your nose? Sneezing? Being early to a party? Going swimming? Getting cancer? Going blind? Yes, all things have equal weight under the “All Things” umbrella.
  2. I try to be a student of life. When something bad happens, I try to learn from it.  Maybe I made a bad decision that I can learn from and, by doing so, not make a worse mistake later. If something can be a learning experience for you, then it can work out for good in that respect. Just because you can learn something from an experience, tho, doesn’t make the experience good. Don’t confuse gaining something positive from a negative with turning a negative into a positive.
  3. We look to statements/cliches/Bible verses like this only when bad things happen.  What about when good things happen? What if something good turns bad later?

If you’ve been beating yourself up because you had a bad experience and you felt pressured to think of it as a good thing, then I would encourage you to think beyond the cliche and set yourself free.

How does that make you feel?

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