Paper Tigers & Impressing God
A Write 31 Days Series
Since we are talking about grace, I’m going to let you practice grace. I’m going to tell you my new favorite tv show, and I know it will exercise your grace muscles because: 1. It was brought up in my son’s Sunday school class as a bad idea this week. And 2. I don’t even think my tv friends think it is good.
I’m sorry I can’t quit watching it. I’ve even watched some of the episodes multiple times, something I rarely do.
It is the new NBC show The Good Place.
Stop it. I heard you groan. That’s not nice.
If you haven’t heard of this tv gem, let me tell you about it. The premise is this, a women dies and finds herself in an office where she is told that she has been good enough in her life on Earth to end up in “the good place” instead of “the bad place.” In the show, there is a point system that adds or subtracts points (or fractions of points) for every single action you have done in your life. The problem is that there has been a mistake and this woman who finds herself in “the good place” is actually an awful person who doesn’t deserve to be there. Almost everyone who has ever lived ended up in the bad place, for example, the only president who made it to “the good place” was Lincoln. The people who have made it to “the good place” are annoyingly good, and this woman obviously doesn’t fit in. Comedy ensues. You get the picture.
Usually I hate shows or movies that have bad theology laced into their plots. I cannot tell you how mad I was leaving the theater after the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie End of Days. I just looked at the Rotten Tomato score, and it is 11%. I think 11% is too high.
For some reason this show has hit me differently. I think I know why. The point system from the tv show isn’t much different from what most humans feel like would be a fair system of eternal judgement. We’ve all heard the scale system of measuring our good and bad actions described one way or another. It sounds fair right? If our good outweighs our bad, Heaven! And vise versa.
The thing about this weight system and the point system on the show is that it actually isn’t fair. What about people who live longer and have more of a chance to rack up more points? What about people who have bad parents, who aren’t taught good from bad? What about people who have only bad influences in their lives? What about criminals who decide to change their life and begin to do good?
The show, whether it intends to or not, is showing how unfair the “fair” point system actually is. What about real, honest-to-goodness, truth-from-the-good-book theology? It shows itself superior to this man-made point system.
Jesus came and died for you and me, not because we deserved it, but because He loved us.
Through His death on the cross and our accepting of that free gift, we are extended that beautiful gift of grace.
God offers us something better than the frozen yogurt laden land that is the tv version of after life perfection.
God offers us a place in His house, His perfect eternity, Heaven. Grace means we do not deserve this. Mercy means He withholds the punishment we do deserve.
We have been offered grace, because no matter how hard we try, we will never rack up enough points to be considered “good.”
We have been offered grace because He loves us.
We love God back, because how could we not? He loved us first. And how we show love for others is offering them grace as much as humanly possible.
So go ahead and practice your grace out. I’m going to keep watching that silly, bad theology tv show because it is escapism at its finest, and because they are proving how much we need grace even more than we need frozen yogurt that taste like a full charged cell phone. (That is from the show. See? I told you it was funny.)
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I like to share a song with each blog post. This one is a little serious for such a silly post, but whatevs.