Kristin and I were reading Bonhoeffer's Ethics last night. He identifies the fall of humanity with the eating from the knowledge of good and evil, and therefore the redemption in Christ with the abandonment of the knowledge of good and evil. He shows that Jesus' instruction that we "Judge Not" is connected to this letting go of the knowledge of good and evil (the source of our fall). Instead of knowing good and evil, which caused disunion between us and God as well as disunion between each other (thus sin = broken relationship with God and each other) we are called to simply know God. In knowing God through Christ -- we find union with God and each other. There is no decision between good and evil, because only one thing is known and that one thing is God--which is why Paul can say that the knowledge of Christ causes all other knowledge to fade away--only that one thing is important. The punchline of this is the call for the Christian to be good without knowing they are good. To know we are good is to acknowledge another possibility; which leads us to disunion from the one thing we are invited to know.
We have been focusing on characters of scripture through the past several weeks, and I have been again impressed at how unimpressive the most impressive heroes are. When we tell stories, we quite often emphasize the strengths of characters. When there are character flaws, such flaws must be overcome. But it is not so in scripture. Flaws have consequences, flaws are exposed, occasionally a flaw is overcome--but the emphasis is almost never on individual conquest, but God's faithfulness to use a person despite, and even because of their shortcomings (real or perceived).
The witness of scripture is clear--the one thing that matters is the goodness of God. In Christ we are invited to know God; but not to know and therefore judge between good and evil. We are like children with an undeveloped self-identity. We are loved by our parent, and invited into a loving relationship with our parent. Everything else fades in importance to that relationship. We are not expected to sort out all the problems of our siblings--for they too are loved by our parent. When is the last time you allowed your self to get lost in the love of God. Do you find a self-help culture to helpful or does such reflection drive a wedge between us and God?