“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” the saying goes and Martin Luther understood that finally, and I am seeing it in the Church, in society at large. How cam “good works” be a trap, something that backfires?
It can, can lead to first of all an ego trip, love of the spotlight, look at me how great I am, what I do, and according to the dictates of my own moral codes etc… That is a real danger and it happens, can easily happen. There is also the danger of works becoming the focus of faith, rather than the spiritual life, and being productive to society, a productive member of society and helping others to do so as well, creative a society of victims, of dependency, of snowflakes, of intolerants where not views are accepted other than their own, not even allowed to be expressed, something we see happening with the Liberal Left unwilling to allow any expression of Conservatism. It puts the emphasis on us, what we do, on us as the centerpiece, rather than us as simply conduits for the great gifts, talents and opportunities given by the creator, and especially with our honoring the boundaries set forth by him, his teachings in sacred scripture, even basics such as the Noahide Laws, Ten Commandments for code of behavior, artistic expression to reach hearts and souls. There is so much that we are given if we have the proper environment, particularly, free market environment, that when we focus on good works for our salvation, thinking we can earn through good works, prayers and indulgences any of our salvation, we make ourselves and others God. We are created in the image of God, with intelligence, reasoning, the capacity to create to an extent, feel, govern, all of that, but we are not God. We also can see how good works can go awry in the Social Justice and Liberation Theology sphere as has done with the Church, Catholic and other denominations, defending law breaking, illegal immigration, and things that clearly go contrary to scripture, the Pope creating confusion with his encyclicals,. The fight for reproductive rights, right to kill the unborn in and outside of the womb once fully formed. Churches who support this will argue they are simply fighting for the poor, all kinds of justifications. Society is on a warpath with anything that is love of faith, God, country, flag, Federalism, Constitution in any originalist form, anything like this, conservative scripture viewpoint, and that includes the church, but it is done in the name of social justice, civil rights. They consider it “good works”. Good intentions, but it is sending the society to hell in a breadbasket, into chaos, confusion, nothing good, including the rise of fascism in Europe due to the good intentions of open borders and lack of clear national identity, so what would be even from perhaps a spiritual point “good”? Why should you do it if not for salvation of your friggin soul?
Good works would actually probably be teaching people to have enough self esteem and self worth as creations of God, redeemed by what Christ chose to do for humanity, in their talents that they seek to create a truly capitalist, federalist republic in their nation, create strong communities that solve their own problems through collaboration with each other and the free market, allow for love of family, God, Country etc.., even Conservative ideas and worldview. It would be teaching people to be empowered and helping them to be empowered, never dependent, always empowered, connected to the divine, a strong spiritual life, that could mean just gathering with people in the community to pray, meditate, read poetry together, spiritual poetry. It’s perhaps encouraging people in their gifts, talents, skills, providing mentorship from a young age and every opportunity locally in community, not via government or bureaucratic non profits, just local entities, churches, synagogues, cafe, condo, coop community rooms that put on shows with residents to showcase their talents. If there is a need for social welfare, don’t have it be government, make government take as little money as possible and let the community entities locally figure out how to help people with dignity and to quickly transition and get back on track as necessary. Want good works, keep it local, start local, keep it communal, and do it not for salvation or anything like that, do it because it’s the right thing to do, no other reason. Also balance that with law and order must be the order of the day and must be honored at the local, state and national level and must not be violated but respected.
When attempting “good works” meditate a bit and pray because remember “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”