Euphemasia - because we are killing ourselves with things that sound good.
We are a people going after the next big thing, the next better thing. A promotion at work. An attractive spouse. Well-behaved children. A nice house. A fancy car. A reputation. A responsibility. A righteousness.
And I'm not saying these things are necessarily bad - they aren't - but neither are they the best good.
The man who goes after a promotion at work may be a skilled man, but he also may be a man questioning his skill. His pursuit of a new title may have little to do with what he can give and more to do with what he longs to know, which is - am I good at anything?
The single woman looking for an attractive man may be looking skin-deeper for a heart to connect with, but she also may be a woman questioning her own beauty. Her pursuit of a good-looking man may have little to do with the man himself and more to do with what she wishes she could see in the mirror, the reflection of a woman who wants to know - am I beautiful?
Parents raising well-behaved children may want to instill in the next generation a healthy respect, love, and servitude, but they may also be parents questioning their relationship. The way their children behave or "turn out" may have little to do with what it means for the children and more to do with what it says about their marriage. The question they are asking is - are we right together?
A man looking for a fancy car may not be looking for something quality but rather, questioning the quality in himself. He's asking, maybe - am I special?
A woman focused on her reputation may not care so much what people think of her, but rather, may only want to know if they are thinking of her at all. She is asking, maybe - do I matter?
A person searching for responsibility may be searching for a place to belong, even by contributing. He may be asking - do I fit anywhere?
A man or woman concerned with his or her righteousness may be not so focused on righteousness but on self-perception or self-worth. He or she may be asking - am I anything good?
You see, these are all things that sound good, at least on the surface. There's nothing wrong with climbing the ladder, marrying up, raising good kids, driving a nice car, earning a reputation, taking on a responsibility, or searching for righteousness. But when these things are simply answers to a question instead of responses to a calling, they're nothing more than things that sound good. And they are stifling.
Because they will never be the answer.
Oh, the questions sound good. They're all euphemisms. I mean, doesn't it sound good to say you're looking for a promotion instead of laying out there that you're questioning your value? Doesn't it sound better to say you're looking for an attractive mate than to admit you're questioning your own beauty? It sounds good to say you're going after righteousness, but if you're questioning in your heart whether there is any in you to be found, even finding it will not be the answer. Even if it sounds good.
You have to lay your honest heart out before God and dare to ask the questions. Dare to look for the truth that will actually answer you. Dare to look for life, which simply can't be contained in even all of these good things. You won't find life in a job or a family or possessions or reputation or attitude or any personal trait. You will only find life in God, and when He answers the question you're asking, dare I say? Maybe you get these good things, too.
Only in the power of true life, they are actually good.
Because you get the promotion knowing what good you can do, and you seek to serve with all your heart. You find the man knowing how beautiful you are, and he reflects that in the way he treats you every day. You raise the kids who are more focused on answering the questions than being the answer, and the next generation grows. You drive a nice car knowing only where it can take you. You build a reputation based on who you are created to be, which only frees you further to simply be that. You embrace responsibility because you've been created to do so, and you are honored to serve. And you find righteousness because you understand, in truth, from the depths of your being, that God created you good. And you understand that you are good.
Which is how you end up with good things that are actually good things, instead of the things that only sound good but are killing you.
Which is how you end up living the good life, instead of dying by the good words.
Which is how you escape the culture of euphemasia in which we live and start living in a culture of life.