Direction 1/22/2015

How Good is Good Enough?


We all have our definitions:

  • “She’s such a good person.  Even though he’s unfaithful, she still stays married to him.”  What if she’s staying married because of his money?
  • “I’m a pretty good guy.  I don’t do what the other guys do on deployment.  At least, not anything too bad.”  You can always find someone whose behavior makes you feel better about your own.
  • “He’s such a good man, so generous.  He gives to anyone who needs help.”  Of course, he cheats on his taxes and cuts corners in his contracts, but his generosity offsets that, doesn’t it?
  • “I really admire her for her convictions.  She has such a strong faith.”  When was the last time she confessed her attitudes of judgment and self-righteousness?
  • “Momma, I know he has a past.  But deep down, he is a really good guy.”  Then where does all the bad stuff come from?
  • “He loved his God, loved his family, and loved his country.  He was good man.”  He served his country, and he served his family, but did he ever serve his God?
  • “She is such an amazing person, the way she takes care of herself.  She is so good at it!”  Yes, she works out.  Does she spend time working out her soul issues?

Get the picture?

We define who is “good” based on a very narrow slice of a person’s life.  There is another side to everyone.   We seem to hope that if there is enough “good”,  then a person will be “good enough”.

Good enough for what?  For people who believe in the afterlife, there is the hope to be good enough to go to heaven.  For people who don’t believe in anything after death, there is the hope that you will be considered a “good person”.  We all hope that we will be pronounced “good.”  .  That’s why so much energy goes into being “good” in some area of life.  We’re hoping to be pronounced “good enough”.

Jesus, however, deals in reality.  He eschews the comparison games we play.  Instead, he tells us that good people start by knowing they are poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).  He is saying none of us are good.  Until you know you are not good, you do not know how much you need God.

Jesus tells us that being good is more than doing good things.  Being a good person is about  becoming like Jesus.  That happens when your heart is transformed by relationship with Jesus, not rigidly adhering to the rules.

How good is good enough?  The only answer to that question is Jesus.  My goal is not to be good enough; my goal is be like Jesus.



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