He will never go away, is rarely known, causes fiery debate, yet in some strange ways is admired. He is held in esteem because of deceit and charm, and this beautiful looking creature is called ‘Mr. Goodness.’
Oh yea, alluring to the nines, he comes dressed in all the pomp and circumstance of life
telling, no mark that, insisting ‘how great thou art.’ I was reading else where about the innate goodness of man, and the examples used to prove this goodness were the usual suspects.
The list is a mile long about what people ‘do,’ and the imaginary ledger is always in the black, for the good always outweighs the bad. Or does it.
We are poor accountants of our own doings, and we tend to leave things out, lest the auditor find disagreement. Fed the hungry yep, gave to the poor yep, cut my neighbor’s grass yep, prayed for the president yep, extra points for returning the wallet, voted for a good man yep, on and on and on.
Not even to mention the lack of lying, stealing, cheating, no adultery, no coveting, on and on. Hear that small voice: ‘You are good, you are VERY good.’ Oh yea, heard it plenty times, ‘now get lost Mr. G.’
Trouble is, we do not know perfectly what the eternal auditor knows and sees. We judge imperfectly and with prejudice. We have left out some critical facts, which when examined, should evoke an immediate ‘woe is me!’
When the rich young ruler tried to justify himself (not a good idea) before the Lord, he boasted, ‘I have kept all the law from my youth up.’ Well, maybe the fellow went through the motions, but his assessment of himself was a little off center. There is the letter, and there is the spirit of the law.
And this is where Mr. Goodness inserts his wedge of excellence to the unsuspecting. He would have you, me, us, compare ourselves with the doings of others, and wow, we look pretty darn good.
No killings, no grand theft, no fornication, no spousal abuse, no tax cheating, and of course I go to church, yep that’s me.
But let’s look at that one imperfection, just one, that one wayward thought even, oh yea, did I tell you ‘the thought of foolishness is sin?’ What pray tell is the value of that indiscretion? Using what scale do you determine its egregiousness? What absolute law of the universe is called into play for the reaping of this poorly sown seed?
Truth is, man cannot judge perfectly being imperfect, but there is One who can. To look at our shortcomings, our deeds, our sins, we need an impartial look, and this can only come from heaven. And what is this view? Glad you asked.
-Not only are our bad deeds bad, but God says ‘our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.’ (it has been said that the literal rendering of Isaiah is that these rags are such as a menstrous cloth.)
The ramifications of this are staggering, not the rags so much, but that the holy man of God Isaiah included himself as a miscreant. He said ‘woe is me.’ How could he say this? Because he saw who God is. This gives the perfect perspective.
-God says that the poison of asps is in our lips
-God says the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked above ALL things, who can know it?
-God says there are none good no not any. This is where Mr. Goodness says ‘did God really say that? Of course you are good.’ This is where Mr. G. snares many a soul, and gains a new disciple, for as long as man compares himself with others, and does not see He who is perfect, his judgment will always be wrong.
-We say we will not deny the Lord; He says ‘yes you will.’
There is a leper sitting yonder. Blind. Isolated. Alone. Aloof. Unloved. Full of spots. Without hope. Without God. A pariah. Above all the obvious there is one greater issue that is unbearable to him: —— distance——- From God and man there is a great gulf fixed.
That leper is you. And I. And all mankind.
But God who is rich in mercy reached down, and touched that leper, and said ‘be thou cleansed.’ As if that was not enough, to have his spots gone and the distance evaporated, he was given new clothes and a seat at the banquet table. And he heard these words for the first time: ‘Draw nigh.’ Wow.
Now all the days of his life, he went about doing good; but do you see now the nature of this goodness? He is not a good person, but a new person who does good things. He was dead, but is now alive. He can now see the kingdom of God.