In the urban lingo, “It’s all good” is a platitude that covers a wide range of sins, emotions and situations seemingly saying very little. Its only real meaning is that the speaker is trying to rise above whatever problems exist without expressing the underlying negative emotion which might be anger, sadness, being upset or even depression.
So what they’re saying in street jargon is that despite any doubt, everything’s cool: “Oh, I took your girl out on a date.”
Response: “It’s all good.” “Hey, man, I’m sorry to keep you holding for so long. Had someone else on the other line.” Response: “Oh! It’s all good.” Sometimes, “It’s all good” is a passive aggressive statement, meaning if you think it’s cool to do it, go ahead and do it. Rarely is it compassionately used to make somebody feel better.
Whenever I hear someone say “It’s all good,” I think to myself, “Are you just saying that? And if it’s all good, what makes it so?”
In Acts 11:2, Peter is criticized by the circumcised believers for his actions in receiving Cornelius, an uncircumcised gentile, and his family (Acts 10:23-34) into the church.
So Peter, in Acts 11:9, tells the circumcised believers, “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, saying, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’” In urban words, “Chill out, homeboys. It’s all good.”
Peter is saying to the believers, “Through Jesus’ death, resurrection and His sending of the Holy Spirit, it’s a new time and a new day in the church.” But the circumcised believers hadn’t sensed the shift nor did they understand the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Just prior to this passage, it was unlawful for a Jew to even hold a conversation with a gentile. Now here’s Peter preaching to them and it’s brought down the promised Holy Spirit upon “those people” – the Gentiles – and now they’ve joined the church and Peter’s ready to serve them communion.
One might ask then what makes it “all good.” In Peter’s situation, in Acts 10 and 11, what made it “all good” was the concurrent actions of the Holy Spirit.
Earlier in the story, the Holy Spirit had spoken to Cornelius, according to Acts 10:1-8, saying, “Send for Simon (Peter),” and it had told Peter, while he was still pondering the meaning of his vision (Acts 10:11-13), “Three men are looking for you, go with them, for I have sent them.”
So we see the Holy Spirit makes it “all good.” Through the Holy Spirit, we can see clearly when “it’s all good.” So how do you know when that is?
This is how:
You make a mental record of the Holy Spirit’s words. Compare the Holy Spirit notes with the other party. Communicate the Holy Spirit’s experience.
For instance, when Cornelius and Peter got together, they compared notes and communicated their experiences to each other.
Peter said, in (Acts 10:28b, “God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.” Cornelius said, in Acts 10:30-32, “A man in shining clothes said to me, ‘God has heard your prayers and remembered your gifts to the poor… send to Joppa for a man named Simon.’”
Thus Cornelius confirms for Peter it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to him and
Peter confirms the same for Cornelius.
The message to all Christians is: Don’t you think it strange when other Christians contend with you about the work of the Holy Spirit? Because, in due time, the Holy Spirit will prove itself, if the work is genuinely from God.
So, instead of getting upset, you should rejoice in knowing that if you have followed God’s vision, and not your own, “It’s all good.”
Like Peter, we sometimes need to moderate our responses when we see others doing something suspicious.
Because the Holy Spirit is always at work and on watch, we mustn’t judge anything too quickly, too harshly, or before the right time. Just say to yourself, “It’s all good.”
When you make a mental record, like Peter and Cornelius, who noted what to do and did it, then compare notes and communicate your experiences with the Holy Spirit to others, it confirms both the truth and the will of God in and for our lives. This makes it “all good.”
*The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org