The Good News Fight


THREE COUCH POTATOES sprawled across the living room furniture one evening in front of the TV, when their favorite program—“CSI: Topeka”—was suddenly interrupted by that laundry-detergent commercial starring the Mud Puddle Kid.

Up on the screen, a weary mother looked blissfully grateful for the box of Mud-B-Gone detergent she hugged tightly in her arms, as—out in the street in front of the house—her young son stomped gleefully through the muddy puddles in his freshly laundered pants.

“Would you look at that?” remarked Couch Potato #1. “That kid has messed up his spanking-clean clothes with that yucky mud. Good thing his mom has that detergent.”

“Well, maybe,” added Couch Potato #2, “but what good does it do for her to wash his clothes, if all he does is run right back out and stomp through the puddles again? What this kid needs is for somebody to make it so that he doesn’t even want to stomp in puddles again.”

Up on the TV screen, the Mud Puddle Kid continued to splatter himself in muddy goo, as Couch Potato #3 put in his two cents’ worth. “It’s one thing to clean up the kid when he gets muddy,” he said. “And it’s another to fix it so he doesn’t even want to get muddy. But what would really solve everything is if somebody could take the mud puddles themselves away. Now that would truly be Good News!”

It pains me to say it, but the Three Couch Potatoes got into such an argument over who had the right solution—over what was really Good News—that they ended up out in the street in front of their own house, each slinging mud at the others and trying to whip them into piles of mashed potatoes.

Sad to say, Christians sometimes get into the same kind of argument about the Good News of salvation. Some say that when we get all covered with the mud of sin, we need God to forgive us and clean us up. Others say that this doesn’t do much good unless somehow, God can do something about our desire to keep sinning. And finally, some say that we can never be fully saved from sin until God takes sin itself away.

The truly Good News is that ultimately, God delivers us from sin’s penalty, power, and presence.

Each spud saw only part of that truth—though of course, they were all three right!

(Note: The above parable was first published in Insight magazine by your friendly blogster quite some years ago—revised and updated now in his old age.)


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