I was watching a video on Twitter this afternoon that was praising a musician for the quality of his album that had a religious message to it and the person said it helped to make him a better person, better husband, etc. The word “better” rung out to be. It is similar to the language I have heard on Christian retreats, where people commit themselves to be “better” in some capacity. Then, if I could summarize the implicit message of a lot of books on ministry, it can be summarized to this: “how you can be better at…” “Better” is a word and concept that has infiltrated our moral and spiritual vocabulary.
Offhand, this doesn’t seem like a bad thing. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we just treated each other better? I think most us can intuitively see the moral goodness
Now, there is nothing wrong with quality, so far as a) you are talking about products and b) you aren’t placed you full hope on these products. But besides the obvious negatives about consumeristic hopes in better products, when the language of quality pervades our views of people, we are walking down a tight-line towards objectification of people.
Now, sometimes the language of better masks the language of repentance. For instance, men who wish to be better husbands may have a recognition that they have not been as respectful and faithful to their wife as they should have been. But this masking of repentance I would say is a
Then, there is the issue that “better” suggests we can’t redirect to focus on other
“Better” is not the language of God’s kingdom. The language of God’s kingdom is repentance, faith, and faithfulness. Repentance is the attitude where we see our past actions in light of a new attitude; it isn’t a “let me fix it” mindset but “I understand” reflection. Then, with repentance, we pair faith; faith in God that He is merciful and forgiving, but in the context in our social relationships, a well-placed faith in others that they will be there with us to help us(this type of faith should be towards those who do act in a trustworthy fashion; you shouldn’t trust the untrustworthy). Then, what is usually translated as righteousness in the Bible we can helpfully understand as faithfulness, which is built around a concern from our heart for the other, not a successful product(ion) for another. Faithfulness from the heart comes both with attentiveness, which enables us to learn, and an eagerness, which motivates to act according to what we learn.
Christian. Quit trying to be better. Repent, have faith, and be faithful. This way of life will create a harvest of righteousness; better can have you straining at a gnat while you swallow a camel.