When You Aren’t Good Enough and That’s Okay

We’re sitting at the table this morning, eating Cheerios with fresh peaches, and reciting Awana Bible verses (trust me, most mornings are not this idyllic). My three-year-old Awana Cubby repeats his condensed version of Romans 3:23, but then Landon queries, “Why does he have to learn that verse?It doesn’t say anything about God or what He did.” This boy doesn’t miss a thing.

I nod in consent, “You’re right, Bubby. Why do you think it matters that we know ‘All have sinned’? What does that tell us about who we are and what we need?”

He ponders the question and responds, “Because we need God.”

Ding-a-ding. Give that boy a prize.

I take a last bite of peach and internally consider what recognizing our depraved need does for us. What happens when we don’t acknowledge it? After all, if we think “we’re pretty good,” what use do we have for a Savior? In our minds, we don’t need saving. We become the proverbial man on the roof, stranded by high-rising flood waters, oblivious to our impending doom, shaking a shoo-away hand at anyone who comes by in a boat.

Peace and security don’t follow ignorant distraction. Or from pretending that our truth is found in an alternate reality–one that denies our Creator, our need for saving, and our Savior’s plan. He’s the one that writes the story and He’s already scripted the final plot twist and climax.

Going back to my son–lest you think him a redeemed angel–he proved his point in full display not one hour later. Refusing to obey to my command and yelling explosively at his brother, he demonstrated the ugliness of our natural sinful state. Calmly instructing him in how he should talk to his brother and me (ahem, screaming “I hate you!” is not okay) did not result in remorse. The consequence of losing treats, TV and shortening his bedtime just invoked further outrage.

People often see consequence as some kind of annoying blight on their fun. In other words, if people just ignored a standard of absolute right/wrong, everyone could do what’s right in his own eyes and all would be well. Really? Does anything become punishable at that point? Who determines what is morally wrong and what isn’t? Authorities? What if those in power change…do morals morph too? Some would say a culture determines what’s permissible and what’s punishable? Some would say it’s “majority rules.” If that idea were true, then people would agree that Germans should have fully complied to Nazi standards. That major genocide was acceptable.

Without launching into a deep theological explanation–that’s not the purpose of this post–we have to ask ourselves, who decides what’s good enough? If the standard is ever fluctuating, how do we rely on it? If it’s cultural, is it dependable?

Obviously, the standard–if it’s to be one at all–must rest contingent on a source outside ourselves. The law of gravity isn’t subject to human interpretation. Of course, I suppose you could claim, “I defy gravity and will prove that my way is better” and jump off a 10-story building. Of course, you’d only prove that gravity remains steadfast and people that jump are people that die.

Likewise, the definition of right/wrong, good/evil, and sin originates with the One who writes the Story.

  • We are born broken.
  • We are walking dead.
  • We are fallen and prone to stumble.
  • We are selfish.
  • We are lustful and rebellious.
  • But, we are created for a different purpose.
  • We are called created with a plan.
  • We are cherished and valuable.
  • We are wanted.
  • We are loved.
  • We were designed for a life other.

But, we can’t get there on our own.

No amount of denial or striving or conjuring will get us to the side of eternal atonement.

We need a Redeemer.

You aren’t good enough, and therefore, you should rejoice! The hope of salvation doesn’t have to come from within, for He already covered it all. Everything you did and couldn’t do was buried with Him and now we rise again renewed and eternal. We’ve been given a new hope.

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