by Andrew Cromwell
I am constantly amazed by how much time and effort we spend at trying to convince others and ourselves that we are good people.
You might believe you really are a good person and that you have put others at the center of your life. People are always telling me, “I’ve always tried to be a good person and I’ve never done anything really bad.” And while I don’t doubt that, I also know that it is beside the point.
Just because you have tried to be good, doesn’t mean that you actually are good. What’s more, just because you don’t go around killing, stealing, or generally being a thug, that doesn’t mean you are not a self-centered, self-obsessed, royal jerk. It just means that you are good at comparing yourself with someone else whose behaviors are more “over the line” than yours.
We give ourselves far too much credit for not doing the “bad stuff” while at the same time giving ourselves a pass for bad behavior that we believe was justified. Very few of us have been tested to the breaking point so we don’t really know what we are capable of.
We are proud that we haven’t stolen anything, but we have never gone hungry or watched our children go hungry. We feel good that we are not hooked on pain meds, but we have never suffered from chronic pain.
And somehow we find a way to excuse ourselves when we do something wrong. We tell ourselves that we deserved that little indulgence or that anyone in our situation would have done the same thing.
Let’s just be honest, none of us are that good. Scripture says, “No one is good, not even one.” All of our attempts to be good are just that—attempts. Even the best of us, if you look closely enough, wither under scrutiny.
My point is not to make you feel bad about how much of a jerk you are (although you are). Rather, it is to simply remind you that when we go through life trying to “be good” we miss the point. God isn’t looking for people who are trying to “be good”—if that is your goal, not only will you fail, but you will also simply become proud at the few times when you do succeed.
Instead, God is looking for people who recognize that they aren’t good and are unable to be good and so they turn to Him for help. Romans 3:22 says, “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” Our own goodness won’t get us anywhere, but God’s goodness sure will. When we allow Him to shine through our weakness, our self-centeredness and our excuses, we discover that His power to love others and to live rightly is the only way to truly succeed.
This weekend, the pastors in Kings County would love the opportunity to help you get past the “but I’m better than...” comparisons and step into a new power to walk with God and live according to His purposes. Don’t knock it until you try it.