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Growing up in a small town didn’t leave much option for concealing any thing that I may have done that was considered bad. There was always a parent, next-door neighbor, or even an older sibling that was willing to rat you out. I remember one night a few friends, my brother, and I were hanging out and out of boredom we decided to go and TP another kid’s house (for those of you who don’t know what TPing is, it’s when you get as much toilet paper as humanly possible and wrap it around anything that is standing in someone’s yard). We collected as much toilet paper as possible and went to town on his house – mind you I was raised in the mountains where forty-foot pine trees grew freely in everyone’s yard – and I might say we did a pretty phenomenal job.
Later the next day, while driving home with my mom, we drove by the house that we so wonderfully TPed the night before and my mom proceeded to say “nice job, but I think you missed a few spots and next time you do something like this, I will personally make you clean it all up yourself.” I was shocked as to how she knew it was my handy work; none of my friends had said anything for fear of getting trouble themselves, so how did she find out we were the culprits? It was at that moment that I realized I would never be able to get away with anything since my mom had superpowers to know what I had done. I would later find out that my brother had left about 20 roles of toilet paper in his car and a neighbor down the street from the house saw my brother’s car driving away.
Needless to say, that was one of the last things that I did growing up that was considered “bad”. Knowing that I could be caught at any moment by anyone always scared me half to death. This fear quickly earned me the reputation of the good girl, one who never did anything “wrong”. Everyone knew me as someone who always did what was right and sometimes this was even at the cost of my friends. This reputation quickly became something that I prided myself on because yes, I was good and in my mind that ultimately made God happy with me.
This reputation quickly became something that I prided myself on because yes, I was good and in my mind that ultimately made God happy with me.
As I have grown older, this reputation has continued. Just the other day, I was texting with a friend from a circle of friends that would consider me a good girl, telling her that I was struggling with something. She proceeded to text that I deserved to be happy because out of all of us, I am the “best” therefore I deserved to be happy. For the first time in possibly forever, this label really disturbed me.
Through the lens of the world I am good, but not by God’s standards. The difference between her and me is that I know what the standard for goodness is in God’s eyes and I can truly tell you I don’t even come close to matching up. I hear others talk to me about brokenness and sin and how I wouldn’t understand because I am so good, but internally I scream if you only knew. If you could only see in the depths of my heart, heard my thoughts, you wouldn’t be saying these things. But I continue to live life wearing this mask of worldly goodness without them knowing or seeing the truth.
So why am I so afraid to let these things be seen by the light because heaven forbid someone will see something other than my self-made goodness? And that is it. No amount of my goodness can cover the punishment for the sins I have committed or will continue to commit, yet for some reason I still live life like it can. I live life like that teenage girl, afraid that every move I make is being watched and I might get caught doing something wrong. So I hide, fearful that someone might see me for who I really am, an imperfect person, a sinner.
No amount of my goodness can cover the punishment for the sins I have committed or will continue to commit, yet for some reason I still live life like it can.
In our Christian culture, I believe that one of our biggest downfalls is that we think we are good because our sins aren’t see by the world as illegal or immoral. Good in the eyes of the world because we outwardly only allow others to see what we want them to see and we are so masterful at hiding. So we take on this persona instead of pointing others to Christ through our weakness. We continue to live in fear and shame, afraid that someone might know we struggle with gossiping, lust, lying or anything else on the laundry list of sins we commit on a daily basis.
But ladies, WE ARE NOT GOOD! “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.”(Romans 3:10-12)
We are all sinners and sometimes we fail to proclaim that, what the world sees as good, is only because Someone who is Good came to save that which was not. There is no righteousness in us apart from who Christ is within us. So why is it so difficult when the only One who is truly good and righteous is calling us out into the light so that He can redeem all that is unclean in us? Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be seen by our own goodness instead of allowing others to see His grace and mercy and love through our brokenness?
Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be seen by our own goodness instead of allowing others to see His grace and mercy and love through our brokenness?
But thankfully we have been made new by the one who is GOOD. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:4-5)
I challenge you ladies, in this New Year, to throw away the goodness that you self-possess and put on the only righteousness that truly matters, that of Christ. To step into the light and allow Christ to take away the fears, open those hidden places in our lives that need redeeming and ultimately proclaim to the world that it is only through Him and His sacrifice that we possess any goodness. May we allow God’s sovereignty and grace to overshadow any worldly goodness we may have in us allowing those around us truly see Christ in us.
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Image Credit: Gabriele Forcina, Unsplash Creative Commons