Cling to What is Good

Cling to What is Good

Our world is in complete disarray: war, trauma, child imprisonment, sickness, loss—all easily exacerbated by the constant hum of the news cycle available at our fingertips.

Lest we forget our own personal traumas on top of the world’s heaviness on our shoulders: I don’t know about y’all, but my own world has felt chaotic on top of all the hurt of the world lately.

It’s difficult amidst the hard to even see glimmers of hope. There have been days that have gone by where the only good thing was that I survived; on those days, the task of finding good and hope and joy is near-impossible.

But that’s what we do, as people that follow Christ: we find hope in the unexpected. We find good in the midst of the struggle. We see the broken world but with a redemptive hope that someday it will be made whole.

As we toil and mourn and fight the darkness, I keep coming back to these words from Romans:

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9 NIV)

Cling is such a powerful word here. It conveys a feeling of hold-on-for-dear-life desperation—this idea that good isn’t something we look at or point out for a moment. Cling conveys an intensity; it tells us not to simply notice or gloss over the good, but to embrace it and hold onto whatever sliver of hope we can find to keep us afloat.

The dictionary definition of cling reads: “hold on tightly to; embrace; stick; hold fast; keep close.”

If you want to get nerdy with me, let’s look at the Greek word for cling, kollōmenoi, coming from the Greek word kollaó, meaning “to glue; join closely; unite; keep company with.” You can find various versions of this base word in scripture, usually used in the same way: joining, fastening, sticking one thing to another.

These definitions tell me that good isn’t supposed to be a passerby feeling or once-and-done moment of gratitude.

Good is what we’re supposed to be grounding our lives in, not the hurt and pain of the world.

We’re called to fight and despise evil, but not to be consumed by it or cling to it. We’re not meant to cling to darkness of the world but rather to use our small light to push back the darkness. We have to find the good. As Annie Downs says, we have to look for the lovely: we have to seek out any moments of joy, glimmers of hope, slivers of light and love we can find. Those glimmers and slivers of good may be small sometimes, but they add up; it becomes our armor and our source of life in spite of the heavy heartache of the world.

The Voice translation of this verse captures the necessity of clinging to the goodness:

Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it.

As if our lives depend on it, y’all. We can’t claim goodness in the land of the living while holding on tightly to all the world’s aches and pains. God holds all the darkness and sadness, and he calls us to fight it with him, but he never intended for us to let it consume us like it easily does.

Grasp the good things about this life, and glue it to the parts of your heart and soul that are marred by the darkness and pain. Don’t just touch it or lace it through your fingers— hold on to the good as if your life depends on it—because we were not meant to dwell in the darkness without the warmth of the light.

Fight the evil. Keep calling out the darkness in the world. But celebrate the beauty. Point out the joy. Cling to the goodness. Keep company with the good and holy and wonderful moments God dwells in.

Even if Jesus is the only good we can see right now, let's cling to it, and to Him.


Photo credit: Nick Fewings

"Raise Your Voice" excerpt

"Raise Your Voice" excerpt

Will You Hear Her?

Will You Hear Her?