Am I Better Than The Next Guy?
It’s easy for me to say I’m better than the next guy. I could put my hand over my eyes and point in any direction, and I could find someone who I think is more selfish, greedy, or unkind. Someone I can judge and say, “At least I’m doing better than them.”
However, when I am alone, I know how much I fall short. I’ve lied to protect my own interest. I’ve snapped at loved ones. I’ve gossiped about friends. We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. There is a reason that when Jesus tells the angry crowd, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone,” everyone walks away (John 8:7).
We can be gracious to ourselves and our shortfalls, forgiving ourselves and repairing relationships with people. But if we are giving ourselves grace without inviting the grace of God into our lives, we are kidding ourselves. We can’t base grace on how we compare to other people - especially when we know so little about them.
Psalm 14:2-3 says: “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
My first instinct is to say: What an insult! How can someone say I don’t do good? How can someone say I’m corrupt? I know I’m not perfect, but I’ve done nice things for my friends and family, and I work hard at my job, and I do my best to help others. I’m hurt at the thought that I am not as good of a person as I want to be.
For my whole life, I have had to come to grips with this fact: I am not perfect, but the Lord is. He is absolute - in knowledge, righteousness, and goodness. Throughout the Bible, I can read how God remained faithful to His promises, even when people rejected Him over and over again. I have seen Him in action. He has brought me healing, He has given the exact word of truth when I needed it, and He has moved in my communities to turn people to each other even after they have hurt each other. I have tasted the Lord’s goodness, and I know I don’t measure up to that. Sometimes my selfishness gets the best of me. I let myself down. I let God down.
However, that is not the end of my story. It’s not the end of any of our stories. Jesus Christ - the Son of God who never sinned and who never let the Lord down - took on my sin and died on the cross. He took all of God’s wrath and punishment by Himself so I wouldn’t have to. So that if I believe in Jesus, I can approach Him knowing that I’m not trying to save myself by outweighing my bad deeds with good ones. Then, and only then, do I have real peace.