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Spiritual & Biblical Interpretations of Life
 

‘There is none good but God’: The Challenge of Understanding and Living This Saying of Jesus

‘There is none good but God’. This is a hard saying for many people. I remember I used to not get what it meant, or how it worked, so I couldn’t really accept it. But now I can feel and sense the truth of it in my soul. It is a very good spiritual place to be. 

The world of course wants us to think the opposite, that we deserve all credit, and good comes from us. It is good and natural to give credit to others for good things done. This is a good and generous thing to do in that we want and need to know we are connected and useful in a good way to each other, but inwardly there is another level. This comes into play in our relationship with the Lord. We receive the desire to do good from Him, even perception itself is a reception from God. And instantly in this inward acknowledgement, there is an inflow of love and creative energy that magnifies our soul. (Like when the pregnant Mary met the pregnant Elizabeth and their body and souls in-flowed with love, joy and awareness). 

But it is important to describe this from practical experience so one gets a tangible understanding and feel for it.

      I work as a chaplain, and I work with doctors, nurses and CNA’s. There are times when people think we have all the answers. Because we have these positions people sometimes project on us their idea of what we do, whether it be good or bad. As chaplain people will sometimes think I have powers and abilities I don’t have. As an extreme example a couple of times, after saying a prayer, Catholic women took my hand and kissed it. This is from Catholic tradition, but really it’s an act of worship that only the Lord is worthy of. Now we can respond to this by taking the adulation or we can sense inside that that is not meant for me but the Lord. It felt strange and abhorrent to me to think it was for me. I think they did it in innocence, and for their sake I think its fine to accept because it is according to their faith, but I see it as being for God. 

In helping others we can guide, inform, empathize and listen, but the real answer has to come between them and God. This is what brings healing and transformation; there has to be a humbling to God. As people we can learn to trust, know and love each other and this serves as an agent of change and transformation, but there is a inner place in our core where God is there for everyone. He is the source and it is by his providence that transformation takes place. Only He knows our whole heart more than we do ourself, and he knows what is needed. It is a great privilege to be used by Him; He is the inner teacher.

    One develops a sense of radar where people are attributing something to oneself or others that actually belongs to God.

      All humans have hereditary evil and what comes from humans is at least potentially tainted with evil. What comes from God is only and truly good; it can always be trusted. When religion compels people to belief – it is not of God. One has to come to believe from within. Change has to come from the reciprocal relationship between one self and God. This is also greatly brought to light by those who seek answers from spirits or the spiritual in any way. In beseeching from the spiritual we should seek from God alone, not any angel or spirit. God is a divine human and we can seek, and we can know Him intimately as a Father, Mother, Friend, hero. That He is the divine human makes Him directly accessible. 

    It is nevertheless a challenge to actually accept and do this in life. I notice in examining my own pain, that a lot of the pain comes from other people. This often happens with people who are close to us, like our parents, family, partners etc. When they can’t face their own pain and problems, to cope they knowingly or not hide the pain, and, in doing so, cannot help but recruit others into not seeing it so that they don’t have to face it.  (Of course we can also do this to others, which is worse). I notice in myself how I took on a lot of this pain, and when it is not our own we cannot solve it, and I blame myself for it. This condition which is prevalent in most people is why the Lord said, “I come to bring division, a father will hate is his son, a mother her Daughter”.

     I bring this up because in place of it I have certain unconscious ‘salvation fantasies’, that are dissociative; they serve a purpose, but also serve to interfere with, or partially take the place the real source. For instance, today I went for a long hike in the rain, it was beautiful. I hiked in Tilden park which has lots of trails and trees. Walking in the wet, cold grass reminded me of living in the Azores where it was very green and rained a lot. This memory itself was part of a salvation fantasy – to be in a place where there was focus and happiness, but it is at least somewhat illusory, it is the past and not possible to recreate. These kind of thoughts are usually half-conscience at best but I was watching them to see what there purpose is. I also noticed I was motivated to hike toward a trial I had been to before where there is an ‘idyllic’ little creek in a deep forest. (These desires are partly true because heaven is idyllic with beautiful paradises). The fantasy partially came from a story I read called ‘All Gold Canyon’ in my youth (by Jack Schaefer). In the story the Author describes a beautiful valley in a canyon that is a little paradise. In the story, a good man, who is a prospector finds a huge vein of gold in a ditch at the heart of the canyon. As he is digging a man shows up behind him who has been tracking him with a gun and demands for him to hand over the gold.

This story is an allegory for what I am expressing, in that the fantasy, to the degree it is dissociative, is tracked and used by evil, usually to a degree far more than we realize, just as in the story the robber tracked the good man to use and abuse him. You can tell the false ‘salvation fantasies’ because they are only partially satisfying. This is because they are not from the core self, and so they are the true connection to God. They are not all bad; they are often developmental. There are also very good and constructive ‘Phantasies’; these are precursors, and developmental to knowing God, and they are how we work out problems and traumas in our mind and soul. These are different than dissociative fantasies in that one leads up and another down so to speak, and any one can serve partially for both ways. For instance, in childhood we believe in Santa Clause, and this is often a precursor to exercising the ability to have faith in a not seen, but benevolent God. 

    I tell this because these ‘salvation fantasies’ are a primary interference and block to understanding how God is the source of all good. I observe in myself a constant yearning but I notice some of them never resolve. They can’t resolve because they are not mine, but from others pain. I feel vaguely in my in my mind that if I could be at these places again, or if I could be with the right person I could find happiness. The fantasy  has a pattern of despair and loneliness, partially because evil and stress seem to come (in spite or because of them). But constructive phantasy if very creative and helpful to growth and happiness.
      It is an important skill of maturity to be able to see that we can have and be both of these at the same time, and its OK. Just because I am involved in a dissociative phantasy that can be harmful does not mean that I am not dong genuine work that is a good service. This is very important to realize because evil wants us to feel that is is all or nothing. Evil wants us to feel condemned and unworthy because we participated in it or fell for it, but this is not true. This tendency to feel we are all or nothing comes from childhood where we think we are omnipotent and we go from one total extreme to another. For instance, seeing our parents at one moment as magnificently wonderful, and then the next hating them with murderous rage. In maturity we learn to discern the subtleties and integrate. 
     Now it is most important to see that an internal love of Jesus and His life is NOT a salvation fantasy (as skeptics like to describe religion) but it is the most real, completely trustworthy thing in all of life. Salvation and goodness does come from him in every particular way; when everything else comes under this Canopy they take on a new light. The misplaced burden on other things to save us and make us happy falls away. Our projects, love of nature, relationships become renewed in this correct order; and some things may leave our life. 
 
Here are scriptures that speak to these truths:
 
“Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me'”. Jesus teaches his disciples here and other places not to compare their lives and destiny with others, or to try to out do others. Our inner life is between us and Him and He has the best possible plan for it, and it all fits in with others, but it is not for us to know others plan. The gifts He has given us are sufficient, and the best possible treasure.
 

There is a very Endearing story about worship in Revelation. John kneels and tries to worship the angel that shows him the Holy City, and the angel tells John, “Stand, Do not do that”. He says this because people and angels are in the same position and relation to God; both are equally in a position of humility to the Lord – only the Lord is to be worshiped, not angels or anything else. There is no ratio between the wisdom of God and that of humans or angels. Humans and angles are receptacles of life, and God is the source of life so it is a structural and immutable truth that all good comes from God. Humans have hereditary evil from head to toe, and angels still have hereditary evils but they are ‘dormant’ in the perimeter of their being. The Lord can activate them at anytime for the sake of a lesson. Only The divine human is without any hereditary evil. Jesus entirely removed it from his human body in the Glorification and Resurrection.

Jesus never called Mary mother, but he addresses her as woman. When she tells him the wedding is out of wine, and instructs the servants about preparing water for Jesus, He says to her, ‘What have you to do with me Woman?” This sounds offensive but there is a very good reason for it. Essential to the process of the glorification Jesus had to remove all hereditary evil He had in His body (from Mary, as all humans have from their mother and father). Jesus had a divine father, so the hereditary evil was only in his body. He did not identity with this in His body, so he allowed no familial presumption. This of course doesn’t mean He didn’t love; He loved her dearly as he does all people (but he is not a ‘respecter of persons’ even his mother). His mission was to remove all the hereditary evil so he could resurrect. This is also a lesson for our human process of regeneration. We seek our identity with the Lord before that with our family.

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