What's Your Standard?
If I were to go out on the street today and walk up to a complete stranger and ask them if they are a bad person, what do you think he or she would say? Most likely I would get something like “Well, I’m not perfect, but I’m not that bad. I’m not a robber or drug dealer or murderer! I’ve never been to jail. I try to treat people the way I want to be treated…so no, I’m not a bad person. I think I’m pretty good.” Did you notice what this man or woman did to justify their goodness? They automatically compared themselves to bad people, right? By comparing themselves to a robber or drug dealer or murderer, they are able to feel pretty good about themselves! This is what we ALL do to make ourselves feel better about ourselves…we compare ourselves to REALLY bad people. The problem with comparing ourselves to others is that we’re all using the wrong standard of measurement. The wrong comparison. Our problem is not how we stack up against other people, but how we stack up against God. I can feel good about myself all day and pretend that I’m a really good person as long as I’m comparing myself to drug dealers, robbers, and murderers, but as soon as I compare myself to God’s holiness and perfection then I’m suddenly not so shiny and squeaky clean! In fact, I’m filthy because what the world can’t see and doesn’t know is what’s on the inside of my heart and mind. There’s a lot of filth and evil there. Hatred, jealousy, bitterness, lust, complaining, greed, more lust, dishonesty, mocking, racism, selfishness, and pride. All this stuff is swirling around inside of me - and you - all the time. The world doesn’t see or know it, but I do and you do and God does. When we measure ourselves according to God’s standard, we come up short. Way short: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23 But here’s the amazing thing. Even though God knows about our sin - all of our sin - He still loves us! “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Experiencing God’s forgiveness and love and plan for your life CAN ONLY HAPPEN when you realize and recognize that you are sinful, separated from God by your sin, and hopeless on your own. You must look to God and ask Him to forgive you for your pride, ignorance, and disobedience and He will forgive you and begin to make you GOOD from the inside out.