Romans 3:10 As it is written, “None is righteous- not even one.”
A number of years ago my cousin convinced me that I needed to watch a Korean mini-series, dubbed in English. Well, well. This was one of those “smile nicely and nod your head, but doubt you will ever do that” moments. But again, this is my very persuasive cousin so eventually, when she came to town, we plugged in those DVD’s that she had actually purchased for me and true enough, after the first three hours that moved very slowly, the remaining 13 hours were “can’t put this down” moments to be savored. My Lovely Samsoon was great entertainment, but it also marked a huge turning point in my world view. Forever.
This is what Samsoon taught me. In America, we categorize. We have the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. We have John Wayne in a white hat and the bad guy o-the-day in the black hat. We have Santa telling us we are either in the good category or we are in the bad category. And so it goes, on and on. Yet in this Korean soap opera, the fallacy of this thinking was exposed. It was that darn male protagonist. One minute, the compassion I had for him was staggering and palatable. The next minute, I simply could not stand the sight of him because he could be more viciously cruel than anyone I’ve ever seen. What? How could this be? He was the good guy in the movie. He was the bad guy in the movie. It was a new concept. I was floored at my own response. And it shocked me into a new reality.
I started to think about this. Ever met the young woman who is dating the loser dude but says- “But I see the good in him. Maybe you don’t but I do.” Hard to think of how many divorces there are because some young man or woman saw the good in another person and therefore put them in the good column in their mind, only to discover that their spouse’s righteousness was as filthy rags so they jumped columns and that is justification to exit a vow made to God. Just think on what I’m saying for a minute and let it expand in your brain. You will begin to grasp what I’m talking about and have your own a-ha moment- I’m betting. How about this one? Person #1 to person #2: “I really am having a hard time with the way you are dealing with this issue.” Person #2 to person #1: “You don’t like me!” Umm, that’s not what I said. But we have to have that category, right?
Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
Now there’s the truth. There isn’t one of us- not one- who lives in the good column. We are all capable of good and we are all capable of evil. We don’t wear white hats or black hats. And the Santa message? Well, he knows if we’ve been bad or good- and heck, that will determine how many gifts he gives us or if we will get any gifts at all! What a counterfeit to the truth!
This is the truth. There is no good in us. There will never be. Let’s not be shocked or dismayed when we see bad in a person we had put into the good column. Of course there is. And it’s in us, too. So what is our response to be? Well, what was our Lord’s response?
Scripture says: Roman 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And what do we do when we are faced with sin in those around us? Are we willing to die to self in order to reach them for Him? Or do we reject them as He chose not to reject us? Reject behavior, yes. Reject the human being? If we saw ourselves in true juxtaposition to the Lord’s righteousness, we would be too humbled to point fingers at anyone else…. because we would see ourselves in them.
Takeaway: Apart from Jesus, there is no good in any of us. With Jesus, we can find good. So we are called to put Jesus on display to others, whether their evil is showing or whether it is not. We are each capable of doing both good and evil. And it is when we place ourselves in the “good” column that we have no true sense of our righteousness being as filthy rags. The distance between goodness in us and another’s badness may seem the length of a football field. Yet, the difference between our goodness and God’s goodness is the distance between saturn and the sun.
Prayer: Lord, while I am yet a sinner, You died for me. It doesn’t mean that all of my actions are acceptable to You. It does mean that I am acceptable to You. Please grant me the grace to live out the love You have put on display in my salvation. And Father, please help me to not categorize anyone but realize that we are all sinners and we have all fallen short. May I see life and others through Your eyes.