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Being "Good" Isn't Good Enough

There is a problem with the world. There is a problem with us. Something's missing and we know it.

Take a look at any person, any religion, or any culture in any time and I guarantee, you will find they all agree with that statement; if not by their words, then at least by their actions.

The solution isn't so widely understood though.

Is it found in satisfying our desires? Or is it in getting rid of them? Is there a being we must satisfy? Should we chase happiness, fulfill our dreams, be our true self? (Whatever that means.) Does it mean accepting ourselves and others no matter who we are? Is it overcome by education? Money? Technology?

Today, one of the most widespread (and vague) answers to this problem in Western culture is being a "good person".

What is being a good person you might ask? Well, if we're being generous, it's as simple as not harming others. If we're being a little less generous, it involves helping others. But ultimately, it involves doing more good than bad.

The thing is, this system doesn't work.

Even for those who don't admit to an ultimate standard for right and wrong, we all know we are guilty. We've all wronged others, we've all wronged ourselves, and most importantly, we've all wronged God. And no matter how many good, kind things you do, nothing is going to erase that. A judge judges not by the good you do, but by the bad and boy, have we done a lot of bad.

To make matters worse, even the good we do is often done through pride. We want ourselves and others to look at us and see our "goodness" for purely selfish reasons, not for genuine care of others. When we do care, it's often only when it's easy-- when it's people we love and who love us-- not for that person who wronged us and spat in our face. What accomplishment is that? (Matthew 5:46)

Of course, you could say I'm preaching to the choir here. We all know we can't save ourselves by our "goodness". However, it is a lot easier said than lived out.

Too often we look to ourselves to feel good, to gain other's approval, even to be on God's "good side" and we forget how little we add up. Or, we see it and shrink because we know it's not good enough.

On top of that, it's exhausting trying to be good enough-- constantly working and worrying and still knowing you'll never be able to reach that goal, not even close.

And that's why it's so glorious that we don't have to worry about being good enough. Jesus is enough. And that really changes our whole perspective on what it is to do good works. Instead of worrying, we can rest in Jesus' strength and in that rest work out of love for our God and the beauty of his goodness. Not because we have to work our way into salvation, but because we want to be like him.

What a weight off our shoulders.


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