I grew up in church. I grew up attending Sunday service every week. My mom was a Sunday school teacher and I was an avid and willing Sunday school goer.
For the most part I enjoyed waking up on Sunday mornings, getting dressed up and going to church. I enjoyed singing songs, listening to the sermon and even attending Sunday school. I participated in our youth events and even attended a mission’s trip to New Orleans.
I was a good girl, a do-gooder. I followed the rules.
Outside of church, I did my homework, raised my hand in class and participated in extra curricular activities. I was nice and kind and tried to lend a helping hand. I was courteous and labeled as such by my teachers, piers and parents.
Like everyone I went to middle school. I continued to enjoy going to church. I was more involved in youth events and extra events that were held at the church. I even fasted during Lent; I prayed at night. Soon, I took my first communion and was confirmed.
I didn’t lie much. I didn’t cheat much. I was nice to everyone’s face. I was agreeable. I was a hard worker in school and I enjoyed what I did.
Even throughout high school, I didn’t stray from the path. I was super involved committing to DO MY BEST in everything I did. I was even commended for such things at the end of my senior year. I was given the honor of being named the most outstanding senior girl. I was a good girl; I now had a plaque to prove it.
But under the surface, if you were to search deep down you would have seen the truth. I really wasn’t all that good. I was prideful but people called it self-esteem. I was a gossip but people called it venting. I was about things not about people. I was about me not about God.
I was the good girl and there my identity remained until my eyes were opened, until my cold heart was softened and Truth became known.
“No one is good, not even one” said Jesus, the man I claimed as Lord, yet I believed him not.
I claimed the title that He said no one could have and pledged my life to Him? How could that be?
What makes someone good? Is it that they are better than another? Who are you comparing yourself to?
I was comparing myself to those I called friends. I looked down on them naming myself superior, better than they for all the things I did, for all the nice I was.
Jesus doesn’t judge based upon our neighbor. He DOESN'T look down and label parts of the population good for attending church, for trying hard, for feeding the poor.
No He looks down and sees our hearts, hearts that long to serve ourselves, hearts that make idols out of lesser things, hearts that seek the good of ourselves over the good of another.
He looks down and says “No one is good, not even one,” judging us based upon the Law. We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul and mind and love our neighbor as ourselves.
He looks down and sees not one. Not you, not me. We cannot fulfill the law. No amount of works can undo what our hearts are.
That is why Jesus came; that’s why the Gospel is called the Good News. In light of this dark situation where no one is good, not even one, Jesus comes so that we might have hope, that we might have light.
He was good for us, the good we can never obtain. He came and lived a perfect life, humbling himself to the cross to pay for our wicked, selfish hearts.
We’ve been judged based upon the Law and found to be guilty but Christ took our punishment on the cross so that by His grace and righteousness we would be seen as clean, good.
What a humbling thing to know that all my life I had tried so hard to obtain something I could not, and yet the God of the Universe freely GAVE it to me.
By no means was this gift free. It was very costly, blood spilled, flesh torn, but through the ultimate sacrifice I have been redeemed, my cold heart melted, my eyes opened.
I am not good, but I know the One who is.