Soap Opera Drift

Disclaimer: My aggregate soap opera viewing time for my entire life is about 52 minutes, but I still think I know what I’m talking about <grin!>.

Soap operas are usually pretty predictable. If you’ve watched them for even a short time it’s not hard to figure out who’s who and what’s what. In fact, the plot lines are typically so predictable that you can stop watching a particular soap opera for months — or even years — and when you tune in again it will only take a day or so to once again know who’s who and what’s what.

One of main reasons for this is the simplicity of the plot lines. There are three types of characters: good guys, bad guys, and the wishy-washy guys that are swayed by the good guys or bad guys.

We applaud when the good guys win and the bad guys get what’s coming to them. We groan when the good guys get unfairly treated and the bad guys seem to get away with their badness. If we could give advice to the soap opera characters it would be pretty straightforward: “If you’re a good guy we’ll cheer for you!”

But here’s the problem — it’s becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between the good guys and bad guys. It seems like more of them fall into the wishy-washy category. Over time the characters have become mostly good but can be swayed to take revenge or cut corners. Or they’re mostly bad but still have a soft place in their heart to help the little orphan child. There are very few good guys left.

There’s a drift from good to mostly good. But mostly good is only one step away from mostly bad. And only one more step from mostly bad to all just-plain-bad.

I’ve been reading through the soap opera history of the kings of Israel and Judah. Like our modern soap operas there are three types of kings: (a) the good kings did what was right in God’s eyes; (b) the bad kings did what was evil in the God’s eyes; and (c) the wishy-washy kings usually did what was right but had a “however” attached to their reign.

The good kings typically had long, prosperous reigns with God’s blessing, and the bad kings usually had short, turbulent reigns apart from God’s blessing. If we could give advice to those soap opera kings it would be pretty straightforward: “If you’re a good king God will bless you!”

Unfortunately, the good kings tended to drift from good to mostly good, and eventually to mostly bad. The drift continued each generation toward mostly bad until God was hard-pressed to find any king who wasn’t bad. How sad — God’s blessing was right there for any good king to claim, but they kept on drifting away!

Drifting happens so easily, which is why we have to be so diligent.

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow His directions, doing your best to find Him. That’s right — you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road He set. You, GOD, prescribed the right way to live; now You expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course You set; then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with Your counsel. I thank You for speaking straight from Your heart; I learn the pattern of Your righteous ways. (Psalm 119:1-7, The Message)

Just like those soap opera characters or soap opera kings, we can get some pretty straightforward advice from the Bible: “If you stay on course, walk straight along the road God set for you, He will bless your life.”

Don’t drift. Don’t settle for mostly good. Don’t assume you’re doing right in God’s eyes, know that you’re doing right.

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