There’s several verses in the Bible that state there is NOT ONE person on the planet who is good and pure of heart. Even the things we do that we think are good, the Bible calls filthy rags in God’s sight. How could that be? Well, even our good deeds are tainted by less-than-pure motives and attitudes. An example of that came up this morning.
My wife and I were watching the news during breakfast and there was a story about a shopper who absentmindedly placed her wallet on the roof of her car as she loaded her purchases onto the back seat. As she drove off, her wallet containing $1000 in cash tumbled to the parking lot pavement. A stranger noticed the wallet on the ground and returned it back to its owner.
I asked my wife if she would have returned the wallet also, already knowing her answer. “Of course, I would have to return it,” she said. “I couldn’t face Jesus if I kept that money.” Most believers would answer the same way but my own response was a little more complex. I said I would certainly return the wallet but my expectation would be that the owner should then offer at least a portion of the $1000 to me for being so honest and for going to all that trouble. I probably wouldn’t accept any reward, but my expectation would be that a reward should at least be offered. And so, for most of the kind things we do, we’re expecting some sort of reciprocity. I’ll do this for you if you do that for me. What if I returned the wallet and the owner didn’t even say “thank you” let alone offer a reward? Oy! Then I’d really be indignant!
In our relationships with our beloved family members and friends we sometimes catch a glimpse of pure, unselfish love but let’s not kid ourselves. The current divorce rate and the number of people seeking counseling and prescription medications to help deal with the emotional fallout from their relationships, past and present, reveal just how far we are from God’s perfect and unselfish love.
Many years ago I worked with a guy named Jimmy and we became good friends. In the course of a work week, over-the-road drivers would make regular deliveries to our building’s dock and would often ask Jimmy to help them unload their trucks with the offer of some cash “under-the-table.” But while Jimmy was helping the drivers, I often had to pick up the slack from our regular work and I was never offered a dime. Sheesh! Such inconsideration! One day Jimmy asked if I had seen a $20 bill that had accidentally dropped from his pants pocket. When I later walked out to the receiving area, I spotted the crisp bill on the floor and quickly stooped down and slipped it into my pocket. Since Jimmy never offered me any of his supplemental cash, I could easily justify the “small” theft. Yes, I could rationalize stealing from a friend with very little inhibition. But that’s just one sin. I disobey God’s laws in thought, word, deed, or by omission every single day. Some people think they do a pretty good job obeying the Ten Commandments but the Holy Spirit reveals to me that I’m very far from God’s perfect standard.
Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me and freeing me from the bonds of sin even though I deserve hell and eternal judgement. Help me to mirror your unselfish love to others. If you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, what are you waiting for?
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” – Isaiah 64:6
“As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:10-20