There is something to be said about good news. They do not come in a vacuum. The good news “Here’s a large pizza!” is only good news if I am very hungry. Well, maybe even if I am a little hungry ;0). Hunger causes the announcement that there’s a hot, crunchy NY style thin-crust pizza available into very good news. In the same manner the good news of Christianity does not come in a vacuum, there’s a reason why it’s good.

We spent the first three issues of our newly formatted newsletter looking at what sin is for this very reason. A poor appreciation of the good news is in a large part due to a poor understan- ding of sin. To downgrade sin to simply choices and behaviors greatly limits our appreciation of the good news. There are several reasons for this, so we will only look at one. A major one.

It is our natural ability to compare ourselves to others. If sin is simply bad choices and behaviors I will find it easy to find someone else who behaves worse than me, or has made worse choices than I have. The better I see myself the less appreciation I will have for the good news of Jesus. We need to experience the revelation that when I compare myself with others I am judging them, cruelly. Which means I can be a pretty cruel person, not a compassionate one, like Jesus. This is why gossip is such a big issue to God. He has placed it as part of the Ten Command- ments. It is a huge mistake to misquote the commandment as simply “you shall not lie.” It actually says “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16. Gossip will always carry bits and pieces of truth which mean it also carries exaggerations and omissi- ons that make it false. Gossip will always be bearing false witness against someone even if all of the information shared is one hundred percent accurate. It will be false because the motives behind the sharing of that information is selfifish, vindictive, cruel.

The truly alarming thing of all of this is we do not have the internal mechanisms to discern when we are doing this. Most of the time we deceive ourselves into thinking we are actually being loving concerned Christians when we gossip in cruel, judgmental, condemning ways. If we could only hear ourselves the way Jesus hears our words, right? Well, this is where the good news come in. We actually can!

The Holy Spirt is the One who allows us to experience the good news. Pay attention as the good news experience is described: “And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” John 16:8. Do you see how the good news experience begins? With the conviction of ... sin. With our inability to hear ourselves gossip, judge, and condemn. ThThis realization creates in me a deep hunger for real, genuine goodness. One I cannot produce no matter how much I may try. This is the point when the good news truly become good news to me!