A young man in our community passed away a few weeks ago. I may have mentioned him before, I don’t remember, but the circumstances of his death have not been revealed to the public. Some posts on social media from people who were closer to him than I was make me surmise that it was suicide. Now, I say that not because it really has any bearing except it demonstrates a desperation that I believe the majority of us really cannot handle but don’t realize that perhaps we should relate a little more closely to it than we realize.
You see, it is gradually coming to my attention that we are all under strong delusion that, as people, we are inherently good. However, before we proceed to make any further assumptions, we need to fully understand the meaning of the word “good”, in all it’s layers. Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines the word “good” three ways: (AGATHOS) as being morally honorable pleasing to God, and therefore beneficial, (KALOS) is that which is well adapted to its circumstances or ends, intrinsically good (honest), and (KALOS/AGATHOS) refers to the attitude of which is right towards God (honesty and good).
So, who do you know who is good? I can think of several people, but if I look closer, I have put myself into that category, too. Why? Well, because I think I’m good, that’s why. So what happens if I take an even closer look at myself? What do I see? I start to see all the things I chose to “forget” when I was calling myself good.
Things like what I think about people in any given situation. “Those pants are way too tight for her” might sound innocent enough, but it’s thoughts like these that lead to more dangerous thoughts. Thoughts that can hurt the soul. You know, like, “Those pants are way too tight for her fat self. She needs to go look in a mirror and see how ridiculous she looks.” Right there, you see? I went straight from making a simple observation to being judgmental without bothering to see things from any other perspective.
How about all the charity that we do on a regular basis? We give to organizations because we care about the welfare of those who aren’t as “blessed” as we are. Yea, I can relate to how you feel, but I warn you, get off your high horse now before you take a hard fall. First of all, the “charity” you have been contributing to may or may not actually be helping those in need to the degree you expect them to. Secondly, anything you give to support the poor is nothing more than your duty, your obligation if you call yourself a Christian. It certainly doesn’t make you good, so you need to watch it.
Mark 10:18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”
Right there it is. No one is good. We were all born in sin, which means we have evil lurking in our hearts every moment of every day, whether we are Christian or not. It’s a battle each day to get up and determine to focus on pleasing God rather than pleasing our flesh. It never ends until we give up these fleshly houses we’re living in right now. The first thing we have to do is recognize our vile selves and then realize that through it all, God still loves us.
If that doesn’t make your heart skip a beat, then nothing will. Actually, it’s probably because you still haven’t realized how “un-good” you really are. I’m sorry. I want to be good just as badly as you do, but the fact is, we are not. In fact, C S Lewis says God’s love for us is an “intolerable compliment”. Now that man had insight. Think of it. God created us and what did we do? We betrayed Him by doing what He specifically asked us not to do. Yet, He still loves us enough to provide the way out of the death trap we created for ourselves.
Yes, you can say Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan. That’s a fact, but it doesn’t hold true to say that they had no choice. They certainly had a choice and they also had the benefit of experiencing the fullness of God before they made their decision. None of us can say that now. Even the most filled person is not wholly filled by the Spirit. Why? Because we are still fighting that battle of selfishness, pride, envy, even hate. We don’t see it all clearly, but it’s definitely there. (Ok, so some of us are more advanced in being filled with God’s Holy Spirit, that’s for sure but I still believe that none of us will ever achieve that complete filling, not until after Jesus comes back)
So, I’ve outlined our problem. What can we do? Recognize it in ourselves. Only you can really come to terms with the kind of person you have been. I am still doing that with myself. I am right along the lines with Paul when he said he was the “chief sinner”. That’s where I am coming to as I examine my own life. Oh the things I have done, thought, said and wanted to do. None of it was in line with God and His Word or His Holiness. The shame it makes me feel when I focus on that is almost overwhelming. But, there’s something cool about God’s forgiveness.
Not only will He forgive us when we come to Him with a repentant heart, but He insists that we feel no guilt or shame afterwards! He wants us to look forward, never backward. And as we look forward, we move forward, in His eternal Grace and Mercy, and make our actions, our flesh, be compliant to the will of God and not the will of our flesh. He gives us the forgiveness and then He gives us the ability and strength to climb higher, closer to His Holiness and be more like Him each day. Intolerable compliment. He cannot tolerate our sin, but He gives us the ultimate compliment by loving us anyway and forgiving us. If that doesn’t make you desperate to sink down on your knees and repent so you can be in His everlasting arms, I don’t know what will.
No one is good but the Father, and He continues to prove it to me every day.