Long before the written word, stories existed. Information was passed down from parent to child across countless generations in entertaining and thought provoking ways. Tales were told of good and evil, survival and heartbreak, winning and losing. They might include information about what kind of plant cured an illness, where the best hunting spots were to be found, and what parts of the river to avoid. They also told of more though.
Stories set norms. Hard work was good. Sloth was not. Humility and a willingness to learn were good. Vanity and pride were not. Loyalty, fidelity, and chastity were good. Betrayal, cheating, and promiscuity were not. What’s more, in our stories, the latter traits were not only frowned upon, they often resulted in ostracism or even death.
Our stories gave us heroes. They showed us a cause greater than ourselves. They passed on hope to survive in difficult circumstances. They gave meaning to our struggles. They gave our lives purpose greater than ourselves.
Today our society is more free, prosperous, and convenient than any time in history, but our stories do not reflect this. Our stories have changed. They are full of victimization, oppression, and mental, emotional, and spiritual imprisonment. Rather than unite and build up, modern news stories divide and tear down.
Our stories still exist, but our heroes have changed. Society now celebrates confusion, chaos, and lies. Latter traits mentioned above, which were once recognized as temptations of evil, are now called good and what is good is now called evil as the Bible told us would happen one day. What may be worse, is the lack of forgiveness, redemption, and hope for anyone deemed to have violated the demands of modern gods.
Going back to the Old Testament, the Bible talks of humanity worshiping false gods. In Genesis, Cain withholds his first fruits, his best labors, and offers the Lord his inferior efforts. When God shows him that he could have done better, Cain digs into pride and jealousy and kills his brother Able who had given God the best he had to offer. The story does not end there. God says Able’s blood cries out to Him from the ground showing our purpose lasts beyond what we see here. The Lord then sends Cain away from family and the love and safety he’s taken for granted, but even in God’s dismissal of Cain, He shows His Love for him by forbidding others to harm him. The story shows God heard and will reward those who give Him their best, those who are treated unjustly, and those who suffer for His sake. This reward does not always come in this life, but our cries do not go unheard or uncomforted. The story of Cain and Abel shows the destruction of covetousness, betrayal, and greed. It also shows a purpose and existence and Love beyond what we see here.
The Bible is full of stories of people worshipping false gods. Sometimes they worshipped themselves as Cain did. Sometimes they worshipped fear, impatience, and prosperity as presented in Exodus’ golden calf after Moses receives the Ten Commandments. Sometimes they are represented through named gods such as the Ephesians’ god artemis in the Acts of the Apostles. Gods have their heyday for a while. They corrupt souls and lead people astray. They offer freedom, power, and adoration, but return slavery, corruption, and ultimately eternal death.
The Lord is the one true God. He has no reason to be jealous so has no reason to manipulate or lead His Created Beings astray. He is, therefore, the One True God of freedom and Love. This is seen in His stories.
God’s stories have common themes because of the reality of hardship. His themes include redemption and Grace, forgiveness and strength, hope and glory. They give meaning to our suffering and show us the power of redemptive struggle. They offer you, on a very personal level, the promise of Justice, Mercy, and unconditional Love – if you choose it.
Our ancient ancestors knew the power of stories. Jesus, the Lord God Himself who could have used any tool created or uncreated, taught through parables showing our stories are important. They are the fuel we use, knowingly or not, to influence how we see the world, treat others, and choose to power our souls.
If you want to see the Good in the world, you have to understand the Author of Good.
Gratitude Journal – May 4, 2023
Thank You Lord for…
- A. mowing our lawn!!!
- My post observation conference.
- Having it not rain all day. Lol
- Seeing the falcon or hawk or whatever in the tree.
- Barbecue chicken.
- Being invited out with Z and C
- The game being cancelled
- Being able to go to K’s Confirmation.
- Second chances to write.
- Clean laundry.