The Pretty Good Guy Problem
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24
Even while using drugs, I convinced myself I was a pretty good guy, and I was, as far as most people knew. I was an ER physician, doing good everyday at work. I went to church. I was an attentive father and husband. Undermining all that though, was the fact that I was harboring a lie that threatened to destroy it all. As long as I could maintain the facade that I was a pretty good guy, I didn’t need to change. As long as I could keep my dark behavior and my pretty good guy identity, I wasn’t going to quit using.
To get sober, to be saved from myself, I had to accept the fact that I desperately needed saving. Being a pretty good guy meant nothing while indulging in an addiction that was going to burn my life down. Radical transformation is hard, so, to embrace it, I had to first understand how desperately I needed it.
Many of us find ourselves in this position – not necessarily struggling with drugs – but rather, we feel we’re pretty good people. We don’t drink, smoke, or curse, and we’re pretty good spouses and parents. In this mindset, we don’t really need saving and therefore, we just don’t need a savior or radical change. Even Christians can find ourselves here. I believe. I’m good now. I don’t need to change anymore.
Paul spoke to this mindset in today’s passage where he used a much different measuring stick. We tend to compare ourselves to each other. I’m way better than that guy. Paul however, said that none of us can meet God’s requirements for goodness. We all struggle, and we all fail. In our failures, we fall infinitely short of God. We’re like a blade of grass, hoping to grow to the sun, but being satisfied that we’re a little taller than the blade next to us.
We may feel we’re pretty good people, but Paul insists that we’re not. In the same sentence though, he provided the solution to our problem. In turning to Christ, we can be saved from ourselves. To find faith, recovery, and salvation though, we must be honest enough to recognize that we desperately need it. We may be pretty good people, but we all fall short and we all need saving from ourselves. Thankfully, God is waiting, longing to save us.