A teenager whose father is abusive said to me, “I want to be a good man like my Sunday school teacher and like you, not like my dad.”
Knowing his Sunday school teacher, I could certainly agree that he was a “good man,” and I was grateful that he also saw me as “good.” I do want to be reverent, kind, forgiving, pure in my lifestyle, and obedient to God. But I also know the sinfulness of my own heart and how dependent I am on God’s goodness and grace.
The Lord spoke of Job as “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). Yet after all his trials, Job said, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (42:6). Even after reflecting on his own goodness (29:1-25), he knew the condition of his heart.
From a human perspective, many people may be described as “good.” But God sees the disobedience, selfishness, and hate that lie deep within all of us. He also knows that we have spiritual blind spots. And when He opens our eyes to see ourselves as He does, we understand why a “good man” like Job said he abhorred himself.
Lord, help us to be good but never to lose sight of our sinfulness and unworthiness. Thank You for the forgiveness You offer us in Christ.
Teach me, Lord, my true condition,
Bring me, childlike, to Your side;
May I never trust my goodness—
Only in Your grace abide. —Anon.
Even the best people have nothing to boast about.