By Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel
But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. -Romans 16:19
Ahh, if only it were so easy. I think most people do want this, to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil. These are dichotomies of life that come up over and over again. On this day, these two compartmentalized realities come to the forefront in every reading assigned. They are prevalent here because, I would propose, they are so prevalent in life. We cannot escape them as much as we try and as much as we pray that we would be allowed to live in the good over the evil.
I may get in trouble here but I would say both reside in all of us. These are not distant realities, realities that live a separate existence from us. No, they live in each of us, and the struggle we witness and hear of in Scripture today is just as real in each one of us, as it is in the life of a people, a people striving to know God and to loyally follow God. We all know the struggle, that is why these narratives are so real, and why they sometimes even seem repugnant to us. We don’t want to believe “people” could be like that, and we surely don’t want to believe we could be like that. But of course, if you are reading this you know it all too well, both in community, and within yourself. If you don’t, then this narrative will mean little, but it does call us, to look deeply at our role in the struggle, our place in it, not removing ourselves but instead, along with our ancient ancestors, struggling, learning, growing.
What does it mean to you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil?
What “real contemporary life” story could 2 Chronicles be written about? What could we apply from the ancient story to the contemporary one?
God, help me to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil, this day and always. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel is bishop of the Diocese of Olympia in Washington State