For most of my life I never really owned up to the fact that there was anything essentially wrong with me–and I still have trouble with this now. Instead, I would have told you that I was a “good” person with “high” moral standards and enviable character traits. Considering yourself in these categories, you would probably agree with me and we would be confirmed as two more people with the standard self-evaluation.
Isn’t it crazy though, that we all look within (and not too deeply, I might add) to get this verdict? I guess we believe we are the only true expert on ourselves, but what if we’re not? Now, I know, I wouldn’t ask my next door neighbor to tell me what he thought of me because it would be just that: him telling me what he thought of me, and in the instance of the purposes we are discussing his offered opinion would have little weight.
So what about family–after all, they know us the best of anyone, right? I don’t know about you, but if I wouldn’t ask my neighbor, I certainly wouldn’t ask my family. I just don’t typically invite judgment like that? You know what I mean: they see us on too many of our bad days. And besides, they are usually inclined to use this windfall opportunity to call upon their long and unforgiving memories to jab us and build themselves up by comparison.
Okay, we agree on that, so can we still take a chance with friends? After all, we are with them when we are our jolliest and most well-behaved. Couldn’t such an interview be helpful? Wait, I just thought of something…what if they wouldn’t really count because everyone knows that friends can be very biased. I mean, their loyalty can be really good for our self-esteem and it is a true comfort that they like us no matter what…but maybe that’s the problem here. No, if you will agree, I think we better find someone more objective. But who?
Who could we possibly find who would be both objective and authoritative on this matter? I don’t know why it always takes me so long to get to this point where everything suddenly becomes exceedingly obvious. Maybe it’s because getting here is exactly what I was trying to avoid. But anyway, the answer to our question, to our need, is God. He has been the answer all the time, but now perhaps we are more able to hear His evaluation. There is something about the truth that is always far better than a million lies, that is, once you’ve decided you will face it.
So here it is: So are we [who are “good”] better than others? No! We have already said that [“good” people] and those who are not [“good people”] are all guilty of sin.As the Scriptures say:
“There is no one who always does what is right,
not even one.
There is no one who understands.
There is no one who looks to God for help.
All have turned away.
Together, everyone has become useless.
There is no one who does anything good;
there is not even one.” — Psalm 14:1–3 (Romans 3:9-12)
Not the most flattering description of myself I’ve ever heard, how about you? Actually, it’s the worst description I’ve heard; their is no familiar sugar-coating; nothing has been left out and I cannot deny any of it if I am to be truthful and real. I am left exposed and certain to be rejected by the very Sovereign who executes such a judgment. What is my hope?
My hope, your hope, the hope of all mankind, is, surprisingly, not small, but hugely significant. Yet, it can be found in only one place. The place where we hold both the scars of my humanity and the balm of Christ’s divinity. In Him the two have been forever bound together. Hope exists in our acknowledging before the Savior our need for help and healing. I know of no other way by which we might be saved from our sin and our fearfully dangerous propensity to deny that such a reality is ours.
Christ stood in our place, wrapped in our flesh and shrouded by the shadows we brought upon ourselves. He faced our deepest darkness and accepted our final punishment so that we could be returned to the Father who has loved since the beginning–He whom we rejected with all our soul and strength until now.