Am I the Good Guy or the Bad Guy?
Behold, the Lord is coming out of his place . . . And the mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split open, like wax before the fire . . . Micah 1:3-4
I remember once watching a movie in which the main character began to dabble in criminal activity to get himself out of financial trouble. He didn’t set out to be the villain, but in the end, his life and family were destroyed as his manipulative schemes snowballed, consuming everything around him. If he had just come clean when he first got into trouble, it would have been painful, but it would have still been fixable.
I remember feeling sympathetic. I’ve known that feeling. I can fix this. I don’t have to confess. I’m not a bad guy. Then, as my life inevitably came apart, the profound feelings of regret, dismay, and hopelessness shattered my illusion of innocence. I never meant for it to go this far!
Many of us have been here. If we had to write our own story, we wouldn’t make ourselves the villain. We’d be the good guy. If we are honest though, we’d have to include how our toxic, selfish behavior has led us and our loved ones to pain and misery.
This, I think, is where God’s people found themselves in today’s passage. If you asked them, they would have claimed to follow God. Micah however, exposed the very different reality of a people who abandoned God to follow their own way. Micah told God’s people that time was running out and that soon, their world would melt like wax before the fire.
God is merciful and slow to judgement, but when we abandon him to go our own way, he allows us to find the inevitable consequences. We may see ourselves as the good guys, but our rose-colored self-image won’t save us from the disaster of our destructive pursuits.
Micah’s warning to his people is a warning to us. When we follow ourselves, indulging in lust, greed, anger, addiction, gluttony, pride and selfishness, we find pain and misery. When we follow God, we find grace, mercy, love and peace. We must daily choose God intentionally, or else we just naturally become the bad guy, creating misery, in our own story.