He looked into my eyes, this person I loved, and said with conviction, “I don’t need God. I’m a good person.”
My heart sank. How could I help him understand? Yes, he’d behaved admirably the whole of his life. He was kind to strangers, generous in his giving, and always tried to do the Right Thing.
But was he good? Not according to Jesus, who said, “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19).
Oh dear. How do you tell someone you care about, “Your good isn’t good enough.” Sounds like the opposite of grace, doesn’t it?
Besides, aren’t we supposed to be good? Matthew 12:35 tells us, “Good people bring out good things from their good treasure” (CEB). So goodness must be possible, right?
It is entirely possible—but not without God. David the psalmist put it like this: “Apart from you I have no good thing” (Psalm 16:2).
So, if we’re not good, are we bad? Yes, we are. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). Doesn’t leave room for mostly good or fairly good. With God, it’s all good or nothing.
The time comes when we have to accept that we’re sinners, comparing ourselves not to each other—“Hey, she’s worse than me!”—but to the goodness of God.
Like the chapter title says, we have to “Embrace Sin.” We aren’t meant to celebrate it or wallow in it, just own up to it, so we can embrace the forgiveness we desperately need.
That’s where my loved one got stuck: he couldn’t see his own badness, so he saw no need for God’s goodness. Years later, my heart still grieves for him.
For all of us who’ve been there, are there, or know someone who is there, here’s a story meant to give us hope.
To read the story that gives hope, visit Liz's blog. It is WELL worth your time, I promise.
At the end of this post, Liz challenges her readers to be open about sin. She encourages us with her own personal testimony...
From the beginning of my Christian walk I’ve aired my sins in print and on the platform—sharing my Former Bad Girl testimony, and being open about my weaknesses and stumbling blocks. I know well the power of confession, and pray that it not only sets me free, but far more to the point, sets my sisters free.
As I say in Embrace Grace, “When we confess our sins, they no longer exert any power over us.” In being honest with God and with each other, we defeat the enemy of our souls and douse his fiery darts. As David prayed, so can we: “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).
The forgiven life is one of freedom. How I long for you to embrace that truth with your whole heart this week!
Your sister, Liz
Friends, let's be real. Life is hard. It's so much harder when we're all pretending "We've got this!" Not only does this place unnecessary shackles of pride on us (ugh, do I ever know about that!), but it also distances us from our sisters. How? By projecting this attitude of self-sufficiency and perfection, we might cause those who can actually recognize and admit their short-comings to feel a bit uncomfortable around our self-righteous selves. It also causes us to distance ourselves from others because, believing ourselves superior, no one in this world can meet our standards. So, no one is worthy of our time or friendship. All that pride and self-righteousness is a sure path to loneliness. Been there, done that.
And although, laying down pride is a daily, life-long struggle, Jesus is helping me. He reminds me constantly that I have a choice: pride or joy. Me or Him. Sometimes I choose me, but then I remember the bliss of Him and I come back, chin dropped, begging for forgiveness. Every time, every single time, He lifts my head (Psalm 3:3) and offers incomprehensible forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Just this morning I had to apologize to my girls for my impatience and short-temper. And then we prayed, because I knew I needed to apologize to God too, and I needed Him to come into that area of my life, RIGHT THEN. I can't be patient without Him; I can't be self-controlled without Him. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. Nothing good, that is. (John 15:5)
"You are my Lord; apart from You, I have no good thing. (Psalm 16:2)
But He is good. He is ever so good. And, He is even willing, no, desirous to be good through us. Desirous to set us free.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!" (Galatians 5:1)
On this cloudy day, let's pull out our dancing shoes of confession then cut a rug right here in our ray of freedom! And we will trample our enemy under our dancing feet!!!
"Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Then you will see it and will be covered with shame. I will see your downfall! You will be trampled underfoot!" (my paraphrase of Micah 7)