From our own loves and selves, we would only be evil and no longer even human. But the Lord is constantly flowing into us with His Divine Love and Wisdom and drawing us towards Him and heaven. We are predestined for heaven. We are born into evils of every kind and yet we are predestined for heaven.
“All reason shows that man must be regenerated, for he is born into evils of every kind derived from his parents; and these evils have their seat in his natural man, which of itself is diametrically opposed to the spiritual man. Nevertheless man is born for heaven; although he does not enter heaven unless he becomes spiritual, and he can become spiritual only by means of regeneration.”True Christian Religion 574
I think there are a lot of people in the world who sincerely try to be good. There are people choosing to do evil, but I think a lot of people are trying to follow the Lord or at least trying to do good to the neighbor.
There are a lot of people with whom we disagree. We meet people who are unkind to us. If everyone was always trying to do good to the neighbor and follow the Lord, the world would be even better. But I still think that the world is full of people who have in their hearts and minds that serving the neighbor is the right thing to do.
“Those, however, who in the life of the body have from within thought and taken interest in nothing else than what relates to self and the world, have closed to themselves every way or every influx from heaven; because the love of self and the world is opposite to heavenly love.”Arcana Coelestia 4948
I know people who seem to be acting selfishly. Do I really think that those selfish acting people have “taken interest in nothing else than what relates to self and the world.”? I’d say some of the time people seem to be acting from a purely selfish place. I can hardly think they are always ONLY acting selfishly. ‘People aren’t all good or all bad.’ A friend said that to me once. I was feeling bad for complaining about someone who had been unkind to me, but later this same person had done me a favor. I know it really isn’t about me, but rather about what that person’s relationship to the Lord looks like, but loving the Lord also looks like loving the neighbor. The problem is, that people actually are evil. We are nothing but evil except to the extent that we allow the Lord in.
“Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety.”Deuteronomy 12:8-10
The Lord has provided us with the freedom to choose our path. He flows into us with all His Love and Wisdom and we get to accept or turn away. The hells want nothing more than for us to turn away. The Lord will always be there to bring us towards Him when we turn to Him and the Word. I know we all go through times where that isn’t as easy as it sounds. But it is easy: Shun Evils, Look to the Lord in His Word and do good to the neighbor from that Love from the Lord.
“Unless we were in between, we would have neither thought nor intention, much less any freedom or choice. We have all these gifts because of the balance between good and evil. So if the Lord were to turn away and we were left to our own evil, we would no longer be human. We can see from this that the Lord is constantly flowing into every individual with good, just as much into the evil person as into the good. The difference is that he is constantly leading evil people away from evil, while he is constantly leading good people toward the good. The reason for this difference lies in us, since we are the ones who accept.”Heaven and Hell 546
So, what’s the point? Just love everybody and it doesn’t matter because we are all trying? Nope. I don’t think so. I think the idea that we do not know a person’s spiritual state is important, but I also think it is important to assume each man is working on his own spiritual well-being. We can love the ways a person is following the Lord. We can and should recognize the good from the LORD in each person. But there is a distinction in loving someone “no matter what” and loving what is from the Lord in a person. `
“Judge not, that you may not be condemned (Matthew vii. 1)
This certainly cannot refer to judgment on a person’s moral and civil life in the world, but must refer to judgment on his spiritual and celestial life. Who does not see that if we were not allowed to judge of the moral life of those living with us in the world, society would go to pieces? What society would there be if there were no public judiciary, and if one could not have his own judgment about another? But when it comes to judging what the inward mind or the soul in a man is, thus what his spiritual state is, and hence his lot after death, of this, because it is known to the Lord alone, we may not judge.”Conjugial Love 523
While we should assume people are doing their best to work with the Lord and the Word to guide their own lives, we also should make sure we aren’t supporting evils. We need to make sure that by supporting someone, we aren’t making it harder for that person to ask the Lord to take them out of evils. More importantly, we need to pay attention to our own lives and regeneration. The Lord always promises good things for us, but they almost always include this caveat, “SHUN EVILS”. Time after time the Lord says He will lead us to heaven. He will lead us to a “lovely and legitimate partnership with one” (Conjugial Love 49), but every time He says that He also says, “SHUN EVILS” and “Spurn wandering lusts” or “Keep My covenant”.
“But my friend, shun evil and do good and believe in the Lord from all your heart and in all your soul, and the Lord will love you, and will give you a love of doing and faith to believe. Then from love you will do good, and from faith, which is trust, you will believe; and if you persevere in so doing, a reciprocal conjunction will be effected, which will be perpetual, and this is salvation itself and eternal life.”True Christian Religion 484
I am an optimist. I know we all struggle with things that are closing the door to heaven and not in the Lord’s order. But to the extent that we take the Truths the Lord gives us, look to Him in His Word and shun evils as sins against Him, he removes us from those evils and draws us to Him. We are predestined for heaven. The Lord wants us all close to Him in the beautiful eternity He is preparing for each of us. It is up to us to decide our path. It is up to us to ask the Lord to bring us out of evil and into good. I think more people are doing those things than we know or sometimes want to believe.
“That it is not so difficult to live the life of heaven as some believe can now be seen from this, that when any thing presents itself to a man that he knows to be dishonest and unjust, but to which his mind is borne, it is simply necessary for him to think that it ought not to be done because it is opposed to the Divine precepts. If a man accustoms himself so to think, and from so doing establishes a habit of so thinking, he is gradually conjoined to heaven; and so far as he is conjoined to heaven the higher regions of his mind are opened; and so far as these are opened he sees whatever is dishonest and unjust, and so far as he sees these evils they can be dispersed, for no evil can be dispersed until it is seen. Into this state man is able to enter because of his freedom, for is not any one able from his freedom to so think? And when man has made a beginning the Lord quickens all that is good in him, and causes him not only to see evils to be evils, but also to refrain from willing them, and finally to turn away from them. This is meant by the Lord’s words,
My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matt. 11:30)”Heaven and Hell 533
Further Passages on this topic:
True Christian Religion 401
Divine Providence 183
Divine Providence 322
Divine Providence 330
True Christian Religion 282
2 thoughts on “We Are Always Being Led Into Good”
“. . . we are predestined for heaven . . .”
A good reminder. Thank you.
Phew! Thank you for this, Eliza! (So many thoughts and potential comments came up for me, in reading this – I hope I remember them all!)
– I love the idea of choosing to believe that everyone is trying to do good. Just last night, my husband and I were in a conversation with a friend about conspiracy theories (she’s all into them! “They aren’t theories, they’re fact!”), and I really appreciated hearing my husband say that he thinks that the people involved really do think they’re doing what’s best (even if it appears to us that maybe their motives are not so good!). It boggles my mind – and saddens my spirit, deeply! – to think that some people really do have evil motives; I like to think that people think they’re doing good. I suppose some people actually are dark and intentionally evil 🙁 but hopefully most aren’t…..
– “The problem is, that people actually are evil. We are nothing but evil except to the extent that we allow the Lord in.” That’s such a hard pill to swallow!! -I’m not disagreeing, but acknowledging that, woah, that’s huge. It’s such a sobering concept.
– Regarding loving the good in the neighbour: I absolutely agree. This became so clear in me a dozen years ago, when I was gifted with that insight when thinking about my lesbian sister. We hadn’t been close anyway, but for whatever reason that came to the forefront of my mind when I realised that I didn’t have to harbour ill feelings towards her. We agree to disagree – she’s well aware of my stance on the subject, and I of hers. This life choice of hers, though, doesn’t need to negate EVERYTHING else about her – she really is a kind person, loving, generous.
– “when any thing presents itself to a man that he knows to be dishonest and unjust, but to which his mind is borne, it is simply necessary for him to think that it ought not to be done because it is opposed to the Divine precepts.” Ugh – again, so true, and can be so difficult! This is such a good reminder, though – thanks, Eliza, for the reminder and nudge through this compelling article!
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