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But, I’m a GOOD Person!

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Yesterday, we looked at the wisdom of our culture, “Are Women Morally and Spiritually Superior to Men?”

We examined God’s perspective and His holy judgment of ALL people as being evil.  He says there is no one that is good (Romans 3)  He says that our best attempts to be good look like “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” to Him (Isaiah 64:6)

Jesus says, “God alone is good.” Luke 18:19

That’s pretty harsh, don’t you think?

WAIT A MINUTE!  I’M A GOOD PERSON!!!

I used to think that about myself.  Actually, I would think, “I’m a GREAT CHRISTIAN!”

  • I was always in all honors classes and made all As.
  • I didn’t get in trouble at school or at home in middle/high school – except for the one time I was late to lunch b/c I waited for my friend at her locker and we both got detention hall.  I was HORRIFIED!
  • I accepted Christ when I was 5 years old.
  • I studied the Bible almost every day.
  • I loved God.
  • I prayed intently almost every day.  Some days I would pray for 4 hours per day on my days off as an adult.
  • To date, I have never even had a speeding ticket.
  • I was a perfectionist.
  • I practiced flute and piano each for one hour every day in high school.  I made it into All State Band and won piano competitions.
  • I was extremely active in my youth group at church and later taught Bible Studies and Sunday School classes.
  •  I was a leader in almost every Christian circle I was involved in.  I was one of the “best” Christians there.
  • I always went to church unless I was sick.
  • I was sure that I was the best Christian wife ever.
  • I could see God’s will so clearly – I thought.  I was so in tune with God.  I was so highly spiritual.
  • I knew what was right all the time.  If everyone would just listen to me and do what I said… they would be so much better off!
  • I only tasted alcohol (a few sips less than a handful of times – usually unintentionally – like the waitress gave me the wrong drink!)  I have never been drunk in my life.
  • I never abused drugs.
  • I never tried a cigarette.
  • I never partied in college or high school, or any time.
  • I always tried very hard to follow all the laws perfectly, and all company policies and any school rules – I tried to be perfect at them all the time.
  • I never cussed.  I never even said, “Shut up!”
  • I never said, “I hate you” to anyone.
  •  I never called anyone names.
  • I was never a racist.
  • I almost never yelled at anyone.
  • I gave blood.
  • I was super friendly and kind to others (not to my husband sometimes, but I didn’t see it)
  • I volunteered to help with many ministry projects.
  • I taught Sunday School classes.
  • I knew the Bible VERY well and had memorized many verses.

All of these things were sources of pride for me – thinking I was so great.

Let me show you just a fraction of the sin that God exposed in my soul in December of 2008

  • IDOLATRY – If you read Exodus 20, the 10 commandments, there is no worse sin than putting something else before God.  I suppose that what I was doing may also be called “blasphemy.”  Either way – I was committing CONSTANT, HEINOUS sin in my heart – every waking moment – for decades.  I set myself up as god in my heart without even realizing it.  I had a HUGE picture of myself, living as if I were sovereign and everything was ultimately in my control and up to me.  If I didn’t make things happen the way I knew they should – it would be certain disaster for me and everyone around me, I was very sure.  I had a TINY picture of God in my head.  He was wimpy, impotent, weak and incapable of orchestrating the events in my world and in the universe for ultimate good.  I did NOT understand God’s sovereignty.  I tried to carry God’s responsibilities – and it crushed me.  I set my heart on other things above Christ, too.  Not consciously – but that is how I lived.  I put my feeling loved by my husband and my husband ahead of my intimacy with Christ.  If there is something that I believe I MUST HAVE in order to be content or be ok –  and it is not Jesus Christ – I am probably committing idolatry.  As one of our ministers says, “the human heart is an idol factory.”  Idolatry is to God, what adultery is in marriage – a violation of a sacred covenant I have with Him.
  • I THOUGHT I WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT –   That has to be blasphemy of some type!  It wasn’t a conscious realization that I thought I was the Holy Spirit.  I thought it was my duty to tell others what to do and convict them of their sins and make them do God’s will.  I didn’t understand that God handles all of that – it is not remotely my place to try to do His job.  Only God can change people.  Only God can open people’s spiritually dead eyes.  NOT ME.
  • UNBELIEF – Jesus describes this as the unforgivable sin.  If I trust myself, not Him – that is HUGE.
  • PRIDE – I really believed I knew better than my husband ALL THE TIME.  I also believed I knew better than everyone else around me all the time.  And, actually, I believed I knew better than God what needed to happen in my life and others’ lives.  And I set myself above God’s Word deciding that I was exempt from some things.  I don’t know how God measures pride, but mine was off the charts.  Probably much like Satan’s.  God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6  God Himself opposed me all those years. That is why I didn’t see answers to my prayers, even though I actually was praying for things that were God’s will.  My motives were evil, selfish and prideful.
  • GOSSIP – probably no need to elaborate here.  But this is ugly sin in God’s eyes, too, and it hurts so many people.
  • DISRESPECT OF GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY – I believed I knew better than my parents growing up.  I just knew they needed my wisdom and help to raise my siblings.  I believed I knew better than my teachers.  I believed I knew better than my pastor and Sunday School teachers.  I believed I knew better than my husband.  I did not trust God to lead me through the God-given authority He placed in my life.  I believed I should make my own decisions because no one else was nearly as spiritually mature as I was. I knew it was my place to criticize, condemn and judge those in authority over me if I did not agree with them.  I had a critical spirit.  I put myself in God’s place to judge other people.
  • DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD – I tried to forgive.  I knew I was supposed to.  But I couldn’t.  I held on to resentment and bitterness and unforgiveness.  I believed I was above having to forgive others.  God Himself would forgive – but I didn’t think I should have to.  I disrespected my husband all day every day – unintentionally – but I wounded him deeply, nonetheless.  I had no idea what respect even was – or that it was my husband’s primary need in our marriage – or that there was a whole world of masculine respect I was totally oblivious to.  I didn’t actually honor my husband’s leadership, as God commanded me to.  I tried to force my husband to do what I said.  I tried to control him.
  • SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS – I looked down on my husband as being spiritually inferior to me.  I thought I was so much better than he was.  That is the sin Jesus spent so much time confronting in the Pharisees.  He spent WAY MORE TIME rebuking those prideful, self-righteous religious leaders than He did rebuking lust, adultery, murder or any of those “big sins.”
  • HATRED – I held on to grudges and hatred sometimes for years.  I John 4:19-21 says “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  (brother here means, any fellow human being).  I John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”

I was living under the control of the sinful nature. That is why I didn’t have God’s Spirit filling me with His peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

That is why I was full of anxiety, worry, fear and stress. Being a controlling person, thinking you HAVE to make everything work out right and that the world depends on every word and action you say and that you are in charge, not God – is STRESSFUL!!!!!!!!!  It is too much weight for a person to bear!  Also, trying to control my marriage and husband was exhausting.  I buckled under the strain.  And I resented my husband because I was carrying all that weight.  It was a very lonely way to live.

I owed Jesus BILLIONS of “sin dollars.”  It turns out that I am a wretched sinner.  I  TOTALLY deserve hell – just as much as any criminal.  I had SO much nasty sin in my heart in the sight of God. That is what I had earned for myself in the sight of the One, true, holy, righteous, just, loving, sovereign God.

I THANK AND PRAISE GOD that He opened my eyes to this truth, so that I could get on my face and humble myself and repent and ask Him to give me a new heart and a new mind.

I cannot appreciate the heinousness of sin until I see the holiness and character of God.

He LOVES us.  We are so utterly evil, yet His love is so unfathomable, that He wouldn’t leave us in our doomed position.  He made a way for us to return to Him.  He made a way for His justice to be satisfied by allowing all of His holy wrath that we deserved to fall on His perfect Son.

He can rescue us from our sinful, wretched state.  He can cause us to be  “born again” into His kingdom.  He is willing to raise us to new life by the power of the blood of Jesus, shed for us.  I can’t earn God’s favor.  I can’t earn heaven.  I can only earn hell.

But, THANK YOU, GOD!!!!!  Jesus paid my debt in full for me.  If I will turn to Him in faith, admitting my sin and guilt, asking for His forgiveness, accepting His death for the payment for my sins – He will forgive me and wipe away all of my sin.

Then I surrender myself to Him as my LORD for the rest of my life.  He is in charge of my life now, not me.  I die to myself-  I give up my wisdom, my ways, my desires, my will, my dreams.  I pick up His wisdom, His ways, His desires, His will and His dreams. He gives me a new heart that longs to obey Him and that loves what He loves and hates what He hates.  All I have is now His.  And all He has is now mine.  HE IS MY LIFE NOW.  HE IS MY GOD.  HE IS ALL I NEED.  If I have Him, I can be full of joy, peace and contentment.  He alone can satisfy.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

You can also check out sermons about having a relationship with Christ, salvation, and many other topics 

www.desiringgod.org by John Piper

www.radical.net by David Platt

RELATED POST:

DYING TO SELF

If you want to talk about finding a real relationship with Christ, finding peace with God, knowing Christ, finding out about how to accept His gift for you – leave me a comment. 🙂

 

21 thoughts on “But, I’m a GOOD Person!

    1. Sadly, that is not remotely the whole list of all my sins! But it would take a book to list them all.

      I don’t recall being confronted about this stuff. Or if I was – I didn’t get it. How I WISH I had been confronted MUCH, MUCH earlier in life and had to see the depths of my depravity and the deceitfulness of my heart before I hurt my husband so much. But I am beyond thankful that God did open my eyes.

      I pray He will continue to open my eyes to any other blind spots and sin that I might obey Him fully by the power of His Spirit working in me and bring Him great glory!

      Much love to you, Jennifer! 🙂

      1. Oh! I realized I needed to add more to the list of things I was prideful about:
        – I only tasted alcohol (a few sips less than a handful of times – usually unintentionally – – like the waitress gave me the wrong drink!) I have never been drunk in my life.
        – I never abused drugs.
        – I never tried a cigarette.
        – I never partied in college or high school, or any time.
        – I always tried very hard to follow all the laws perfectly, and all company policies and any school rules – I tried to be perfect at them all the time.
        – I never cussed. I didn’t even say, “Shut up!”
        – I never called anyone names.
        – I was never a racist.
        – I almost never yelled at anyone.
        – I gave blood.
        – I was super friendly and kind to others.
        – I volunteered to help with many ministry projects.
        – I taught Sunday School classes.
        – I knew the Bible VERY well and had memorized many verses.

        And yet – my heart was still so deceitful and full of sin – and I was totally blind to all of my sin. That really blows my mind!

      2. April,

        You say you wish you had been confronted much earlier in life about your sin. Would you have listened? When your brother confronted you, how successful was he?

        I remember having a similar argument with my mother when I was a teen-ager. I’d confronted her on something and she actually admitted she was wrong. However, she admitted that she’d keep on doing x and I’d just have to confront her. I pointed out that she’d just deny again and my mother said that I just had to try. She simply couldn’t take ownership of it. How could I hold her to account? She held all the cards! She had all the power!

        Perhaps someone can get through to you but you have to be willing to receive the message and if you’re not, it won’t work.

        Just my thoughts.

        1. Eric,

          Those are good questions.

          My brother confronted me when I said, “I could be wrong, but I think so-and-so is NOT at all in God’s will.” My brother said, “REALLY??? YOU could be wrong?”

          That definitely got my attention. I really didn’t think I could be wrong. But I thought about it and was a bit humbled by his question. Unfortunately, the next week – the situation of the person I was talking about turned into a TOTAL disaster – I had been right about what I thought would happen. So my brother actually apologized to me and then he never confronted me again.

          I complained about my husband to my dad. He would get really quiet. I actually felt guilty about my attitude when he would be quiet like that – but he never said anything. So I wasn’t sure what he was thinking. I was always a Daddy’s girl and I think I would have listened if my Daddy confronted me.

          I think it would be much more difficult for a son to confront his mother about her attitude. What a horrible position for a son to be in – with a mother not taking responsibility for her own actions/behavior.

          I used to beg my husband to tell me what he needed, to tell me what was wrong. I actually thought I was a respectful and submissive wife. I did want to obey God. I do think if he had told me I was being disrespectful, I would have given a lot of serious thought to that. Usually, my husband just let me make decisions – and I always thought he agreed with me. I had been the dominant identical twin in a set of twins, and I took on the same dominant role with my husband. My sister had always just gone along with me, too. I thought she always agreed with me as well. Turns out that she just didn’t really think about what she thought and cooperated with me all those years. My husband didn’t want to have to argue with me, so that is why he let me run the show – but I didn’t know that until the past few years.

          There were a few times my husband insisted on NOT doing what I wanted. I did argue and tried to explain my position and how right I was. But as he stood firm, I eventually (reluctantly) cooperated with him. So I thought I was a submissive wife. I knew in my head that my husband should be in charge. I believed he WOULDN’t lead. I would ask him to make decisions, and he would just never answer. Of course, I was pressuring him to answer quickly. I didn’t understand he didn’t think and feel just like I did. I didn’t know he needed time to process. And I didn’t realize what I was doing was disrespectful at all.

          I thought I was respectful because I never mentioned divorce, didn’t throw things, didn’t scream, didn’t call him names, didn’t attack his character, didn’t become violent…

          I didn’t recognize my pride, my critical spirit, telling him what to do, looking down on him, impatience, body language – etc… was disrespectful.

          I wanted to be a good wife. I actually do think I would have listened if my husband had confronted me – or my dad or my brother.

          But in working with hundreds of wives on these issues in the past year and a half – I definitely get that confrontation alone doesn’t bring repentance. Some wives immediately repent with deep grief. Some wives cannot hear the truth and justify their sin and make excuses and can’t see their sin.

          Certainly God’s Spirit must be involved for our eyes to be opened.

  1. I swear, from this description, you and my ex-wife were clones. The one difference I can see: my ex, to this day, would be incapable of recognizing, let alone admitting, the sins you have admitted.

    Hypothetical question for you: Suppose you had never awakened to your sin, but instead had decided that after 14.5 years was you’d had enough of your husband’s deficiencies and wanted a divorce. If you had told your friends, family, and selected fellow church members about your years of putting up with your husband’s deficiencies, failure to lead, mistakes, and selected ugly sins (you know the ones), would anyone with any influence on you have stood up and said you had no business seeking a divorce, or would they all have sympathized with you and cheered you on in “starting over,” “moving on,” and pursuing the happiness “you deserved”?

    1. David,

      Hmm…

      It was actually one of my husband’s “deficiencies” that God used to wake me up and get me to start looking at myself and how I might be contributing to the problem.

      We NEVER talked about divorce. We knew it wasn’t an option.

      No one in either of our families has ever gotten a divorce. There have been major trials and “biblical reasons for divorce” in some of the marriages in our extended families, but divorce was off the table in our minds and in our extended families’ minds.

      I believe our parents and my siblings would have confronted me – because I would not have had justification.

      My brother did try to confront me about my pride 6 years ago once. Then, sadly, I was right about the outcome of the situation – and he didn’t confront me anymore. He is a very godly man – I believe I would have listened to him, my husband, my dad, Greg’s dad, possibly my sister…

      I don’t think I would have had support if I had talked about divorce. THANKFULLY!

    2. David,

      I TRULY did love my husband and God – to the best of my ability. I never realized I hurt him. If I had known how much pain I had caused my husband, I would have been devastated.

      No one ever confronted me or told me the truth – that I am aware of.
      I didn’t hear it at church in a way that it clicked.

      I cared very much about my husband and his feelings – I just assumed he didn’t have any feelings because he had shut me out. I used to BEG him to tell me what he needed from me. I knew I needed his love. It seemed obvious to me that he didn’t really care if he had my love or not – that was my perception at the time. He couldn’t tell me. He didn’t say anything.

      So I continued on in utter ignorance all that time. 🙁

      1. And here the contrasts continue. I’m not aware of my ex ever seeing any of my deficiencies as an opportunity to think about whether or how she was contributing to the problem. She came from a badly broken home and professed for that reason that she would never treat divorce as an option, at least without biblical grounds — until she reached what was to her a sufficient level of misery. The first time she filed for divorce, her (divorced) father told her she shouldn’t do it, but only because of the kids (he had come to despise me as much as she did) and that he’d support her anyway. The second time she filed, he was all on board. Also, she was well aware of my feelings and pain, but she rarely if ever seemed to care much (while simultaneously accusing me of not really having any feelings). For whatever reason, God in His sovereignty chose not to awaken her as He did you. Ask me 5 years from now and maybe I’ll be able to point to some possible reasons for/benefits from that.

        1. David,

          I have thought about that, too. Why did God allow me to wake up, but some women continue without that moment of consciousness of their sin?

          I don’t know.

          Sometimes I really wish that I had my waking up moment 19 years ago – but I see the way God is using me now, and maybe I couldn’t have had this particular ministry if I woke up much earlier?

          I have no idea.

          My heart hurts for the wives and husbands who are hurting and grieving over their marriages and in your case – the devastating loss of your marriage to divorce. How I wish that no marriage ever ended that way.

          I know that God’s wisdom is infinitely higher than mine. I am looking forward to seeing all that God has in store for you.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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