Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Derek Thomas posted today on Nehemiah's expression of real, strong anger in Neh. 13 at the sin of God's people even after He had restored them to the land. He quotes Packer's A Passion for Faithfulness,
What we must bear in mind here, however, is that the conventions and expectations of our smooth post-Christian, relativistic, secular, amoral Western culture are not necessarily in line with the truth and wisdom of God. Any embarassament we might feel at Nehemiah's forthrightness could be a sign of our own spiritual and moral limitations rather than his. Was it weakness that in Nehemiah's code of conduct the modern shibboleth, "thou shalt be nice" seems to have had no place, while "thou shat be faithful to God and zealous for God" was evidently basic to it? Would Moses, David, Jesus, or Paul ever have qualified as "Mr. Nice Guy"? The assumption, so common today, that niceness is of the essence of goodness needs to be exploded. Nehemiah should not be criticized for thinking that there are more imprtant things in life than being nice. (p.182)
Great stuff from Packer and Thomas, reminding us that what God desires from us is not just to be "nice" but to be jealously faithful for the glory of God and to hate sin because it kills people and takes away from that glory.

Go read the whole thing.

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