April 22, 2024
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“See The Good.”

Large letters on a big billboard. White words on a black background. Caps and lower case, just as rendered here. 

 I don’t know who paid for the billboard ad. It’s possible there was some fine print at the bottom claiming responsibility or enlarging a bit on the three-word admonition, but I drove by too fast to notice any.

“See The Good.”

Almost immediately, I saw the bad. Or, at least, the wrong. Maybe you did, too.

I think they messed up by capitalizing the “T” in “The.”

Granted, there are more important things to consider here. Like the meaning of the real message. I do indeed want to talk about the meaning of the 10-letter word-forest, but I’ll do that after I take a look at one letter that’s an overly tall tree. Yep, that “T.”

I really can’t help it. If a firefighter drives by a house and sees smoke leaking out of the garage, he won’t notice if the house needs painting.

I’m an English major. I’ve done a little bit of English-teaching. I’ve been editing a little devotional magazine for almost forty years. I’ve done more than my share of copy-editing.  May I modestly just tell you the truth: if you toss a paragraph or two of words my way, I can toss it back to you in better shape than it was when I caught it.

That “T” should be “t.”

Unless they capitalized that “T” on purpose for graphic (as in “graphic design”) impact.

Or unless they capped that “T” for an even deeper impact. Maybe the advertiser wants us to see that “The Good” is big enough and important enough that it almost deserves to be personalized as its own entity: “The Good.”

And so, now seems like a good time to talk about “The Good” that we’re being encouraged to see—and why focusing on it is, at least in the mind of whomever bought that ad, worth some expensive rent.

According to the dictionary (Merriam-Webster.com), the “good” is “something that is good.” And that’s not much help. But read on down.

The “good” is “something conforming to the moral order of the universe.” It’s something that contributes to the “advancement of prosperity or well-being.”

Not bad, those definitions. Good, really.

At the heart of the “moral order of the universe” is God.  All that is right, beautiful, uplifting, and true deserves those adjectives because it squares with what “is.” It is loving, not hateful. It is right, not wrong. It is straight, not crooked. It is beautiful, not ugly. It is true, not false.

It’s easy, and tempting, to focus on what is bad, wrong, sick, twisted, and hurtful. But much that is very good still exists in this world. How said if we let ourselves become blind to it.

I don’t know the names or the motives of the advertisers or their organization, or whether or not they are accustomed to behaving wisely or foolishly. But the advice itself on that billboard is good. I won’t quibble any longer about the “T.”

We are, after all, told in Scripture that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights . . .” (James 1:17).

Yes, let’s keep our eyes on “the good.”

By Curtis K. Shelburne

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent


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