Mamma Mia!

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Righteousness has its good points. God seems to like it a lot, for one thing. Because of this there are some nifty perks attached to it. The Bible says that God listens to the righteous and will uphold their causes. The righteous will also be rewarded and get their names written in the book of life to boot. (The wicked, by contrast, are pretty much pre-charcoal.) Overall, righteousness is probably a good bet for those with long-term investments in mind.

On the other hand, righteousness can be pretty boring. Long stretches of holiness and goodness can get to you after a while. It’s kind of like getting snowed in; all that whiteness may be pretty, but it’s not long before you’ve got yourself a major attack of cabin fever. What fun the righteous do have can be pretty lame. There’s UNO, of course, and bowling, and potlucks, and a lot of character-building activities like free car washes, Bible studies, and helping old people. These can be okay in small doses, but on a long-haul trip they could make a guy could lose his marbles.

That’s why most Christians think of righteousness as either a part-time job or as more of a technical religious thing that needs little maintenance. The part-timers generally schedule their righteousness for specific times (say, Sunday mornings) or during special seasons (bringing shut-ins Thanksgiving dinner). They may also do some surgical acts of righteousness which can be done quickly and without residual responsibility, like contributing a cheap plastic toy to a giving tree drive or throwing a quarter at some bum with a cardboard sign. Those who see righteousness as a technical condition point to the Apostle Paul’s claim that “the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Christian techies are pretty much free to do whatever they want as long as they trust God to hand over the righteousness free of charge.

Now it’s true that darkness has little in common with light, but Christians hardly ever try to enjoy them at the same time. Most of the time Christians alternate between righteousness and wickedness so as not to mix the two, which would create confusion, lessen the value of each, and make it difficult to keep score. But as long as there’s a clear line between the sacred and the profane things work pretty well and can even be beneficial. Brief forays into the dark are for Christians like a harmless affair is for a marriage. A little tête-à-tête once in a while helps burn up the extra carnality left over from salvation and can even enhance the Christian’s appreciation for the grace and unconditional love of God. Not only that, quick visits to the shadowlands often evoke a pleasant feeling of remorse so cherished by serious born-again practitioners.

Experience testifies that a dash of iniquity now and then helps make the righteous life much less of a drag. Taking advantage of the many minor trespassing opportunities available is not only satisfying in and of itself but can keep a person’s religious passions burning brightly as well. As Paul implies, righteousness and wickedness may have little in common, but that’s exactly why they work so well together. As far as I can see, it’s a win-win situation all around.


2 Responses

  1. I love your tongue in cheek analysis of the delima that most of us face when setting the course of any given day… “will I serve God; the devil; myself… oh hell this is way too complicated…”.
    Maybe add one more thought… that my truest self really is good. Maybe.. just maybe it’s true that I am the righteousness of God. Sounds just a tad blasphemous. .. but I’m not the first to say it.
    I am loving the pleasures of being a new creation. Sin once was a lot more fun then it is now. I think that’s because that’s not me anymore.

  2. “Anyone who thinks sin is attractive and righteousness is boring has had little experience with either.” ~Ken Blue

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