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The Good, The Bad, and The Incomplete

By: Dr. Skip Myers
Edgefielddaily.com columnist

web posted November 14, 2006

Have you ever had something on your mind and you just can’t get rid of it? It keeps coming to the forefront of your thoughts throughout the day bringing with it an array of emotions and responses. The only way to get rid of it is to address it with some concentrated thought-time and energy. This is my attempt to deal with something that has been on my mind for almost a week.

It all began in a parking deck. Have you ever noticed that when you are in one of those things you get behind someone whose driving skills are somewhat suspect? I found myself is just this situation the other day. I progressed very slowly up the ramps looking for a parking place traveling no faster than the “dear” soul in front of me would allow. With all this extra time to kill, I decided that reading bumper stickers would be a better use of my energy rather than allowing my anger to get the best of me.

The snail’s pace allowed adequate time for me to give attention to each of the bumpers in the parking deck. There was the usual array of athletic and political sayings each of which revealed something about the owner of that vehicle. And then, there it was. It took me by surprise and took me a moment to comprehend its meaning. There on the bumper of a car was this saying, “Born OK The First Time.” 

When the meaning of this phrase finally hit me, as a Christian, I was both shocked and hurt. I tried to imagine the feelings of an individual who would put this on their car. Was it just anger; had they been hurt by the church; did they even believe in God? Then I began to feel a great sense of responsibility for the way they felt. Could it possibly be my fault? Did I contribute to this person’s feelings?

No, I don’t know this person but somehow I can’t help but feel that somewhere along the line some well-intentioned believer helped their belief. I wonder if the church has somehow given the impression that those who do not have a relationship with Christ are all bad people. And if they are given that impression why would they want to approach a God who thinks they are so bad? After all, who wants to be around bad people?

Is there a difference between being bad and being sinful? Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are all sinful and it is this sin that separates us from the Lord. There are people who are really moral and nice and yet, sinful. Sin is a state of being. It is our inherited capacity to do wrong. Society assigns varying degrees of wrongness to certain actions based on the consequences they carry. If the actions reach a certain level they are considered bad along with the person performing the action.

When we label someone as “bad” we are making a value judgment about that person as well as their actions. Yes, there are some people in this world who are truly bad. But what about those good, moral, and nice individuals who give to charities and obey the law? Are they bad people in the eyes of the church? They key is to stop looking at the actions and concentrate on the need. While they may be truly good people in the eyes of society, they are incomplete people in the eyes of God. What we are in society may not be what we are spiritually. There is no way to be good enough so that we measure up to the standard of holiness set by God. Our inherited capacity for sin is a barrier to our relationship with God.

To be good enough; to have the sin barrier removed; to be seen as more than good by God is something we must receive from Him. As good (non-bad) as we may think we are, we can never reach God’s standard. That is why He gives it to us as a gift. This gift, that is sometimes called a second birth, completes our lives by restoring the relationship we were intended to have with God. While your actions may not make you a bad person, remember, you are a sinful person by birth just like I am and without the Lord you are an incomplete person.

We really aren’t born okay the first time. At best we are born with the possibility of good actions but we are all born incomplete. Discovering the gift of a relationship with the Lord brings such a completion and realized fulfillment to life it is indeed like being born to a new life. Accept His gift and go from good to complete to godly.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9


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