Seek good and not evil— and live! You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, being your best friend. Well, live like it, and maybe it will happen. Hate evil and love good, then work it out in the public square. Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, will notice your remnant and be gracious. (Amos 5:14-15)
I know today's passage was written during Old Testament times, but it bears looking at today. The message doesn't grow old just because of when it was written - those words to seek good and not evil apply to any generation. The hope is that we will not only 'live', but live well. Hating evil and loving good is kind of a moving target for some these days. It is something my college instructors used to call 'situational ethics'. When the 'norms' of society are shifted in one direction or another, the 'ethics' of yesterday may not be the ones we maintain today. I honestly think our world is constantly in a state of flux when it comes to ethics. What society proclaimed to be really wrong may only be 'marginally wrong' today - all because the ethics of society have compromised some value they originally defined as 'right' or 'good'. What God tells us is that there is no compromise in the area of good - it cannot be redefined because he is the absolute definition of goodness!
Not everyone compromises their values, though. There are a great many in society who will adhere to what scripture defines as good and avoid what it declares to be evil. In truth, those who do this make up what is actually a remnant of society. Some see a remnant as some 'leftover' part - such as a small amount of fabric at the end of the bolt. Others would almost say the remnant is just a trace of what once existed. Yet, from the beginning of time, God has used the remnant to change the world they live in. A remnant may not seem like much, but when that remnant places their trust and hope in God alone, there is a mightiness that comes forth! A few in his hands, committed to the good and standing strong against the evil, is an army to be reckoned with indeed!
What does the remnant do in society? It challenges the shift in norms - constantly revealing in both actions and words the path God desires of his children. There is a message to declare, but there is a lifestyle that speaks as loudly, if not louder, than the words we might speak. Doing good and not evil - what a message. Returning good for evil - a stronger message. Leading instead of always following - people need leaders. Leading ethically and with righteous morals - people crave righteous leaders more than they might actually realize. Be the kind of person who seeks good and not evil - be a leader who doesn't compromise morals and values, caving to social norms. In God's hands, who knows where you might lead this world! Just sayin!
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