You are Good Enough!


e61575f6ba345c0d95694deee5f23d5fToday I had the privilege of attending the funeral service for one of our fallen law enforcement officers. As the speakers came up one by one, each one clearly a person who truly loved God, all offering heart-warming stories about their relationship with the officer, all had one common theme; namely concerns about not being good enough. These weren’t people living on the fringes of society, committing crimes and taking advantage of their fellow-man. These were people deeply concerned about doing the right thing, setting a good example and leaving behind a lasting legacy. Yet, they all echoed the same fear, one of not being good enough. So my question for you is, are you good enough?

Ever since the beginning of time, man’s heart has longed to be righteous before God. The true nature of man is goodness and though he often struggles to accomplish it, his heart yearns to do right and to be right. It doesn’t matter if a man loves God or rejects God, the wrongs he commits pain him and the good he does, rejoices his heart. It is a universal condition and because of that, the enemy of mankind works hard to exploit it. Imagine working hard day by day to please God, only to be left with a feeling that you somehow don’t measure up. Therein is the rub… You don’t feel like you measure up because on your own you could never measure up. Likewise, you don’t feel good enough because of your own works you could never be good enough. God knows this and has made a way out for you and me!

Each of us was born into the world with the nature of wrong built right into our blood stream. It was never intended that we start that way, but it is the way we ended up. Your very own life blood carries within it the seeds of error, sickness and death. You fall easy prey to temptation and wrong choices because the seeds of wrong live within you. But God, who did not intend this condition, made a way for you and I to live above it.

The way above it to make the decision to get born again (Romans 10:9-10) and to accept God’s free gift of righteousness; to accept Jesus Christ as your savior from sin; to accept his perfect walk before God to atone for your imperfect walk.  True humility rests in understanding that you cannot lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. A humble heart is one which knows that it cannot of its own accord do anything! There’s nothing humble about perpetually feeling bad about yourself. Humility isn’t found in condemnation and feelings of inferiority. You certainly wouldn’t want that for your children, so why on Earth would you believe that God wants that for His children? The reason people think this way is because that’s what they have been taught. They have it drummed into their minds and scorched into their hearts that their walk before God, indeed their happiness before God, depends on what they do and do not do. And, while we all know that doing wrong makes us feel bad, we fail to realize that attempting to do good or to do better has no natural end point. How good is good enough? How many good works are required to earn our own righteousness before God? Again, therein is the rub. It is the enemy behind this false logic, ever working to bring us misery and frustration.

In order to do good you first have to believe you are good. The boy who believes he is a good boy will do good works because of his goodness. The boy who feels he is a bad boy will continue to do bad because of how he feels about himself. Oh he may work to make himself good, but his good won’t ever be good enough and as a consequence his good works will end in resentment. God tells us that we are good, not from any works we have done, but because of God’s goodness towards us. It’s the goodness of God that leads a man to a change of heart. God created His righteousness within us when we got born again leading unto good works. The good works we do aren’t to be loved by God but because we already are loved by God! That’s the truth…

In this short life, you cannot allow yourself to get trapped into the fallacy that you can, by your good works, make yourself good enough. All that belief will do is make you a slave, and not to God, for that matter. You’ll spend your life rehashing some mistake you made twenty years ago. You’ll dwindle away your days in self-evaluation and heart hardening condemnation. You’ll be chock full of criticism and judgement towards others because of how damn hard it is to be you! It’s not God’s will for you to live that way. Life with God was never intended to be a checklist of requirements to accomplish before your little stamp book is full enough to earn a ticket into heaven. Instead, life with God was intended to be sublime, with you never having to earn anything from God, but rather living in the greatest freedom; free to love; free to give and free to serve!

I know the people I listened to today are wonderful people with a heart full of love for God. I just wish I could share with them a better way; a way where the focus of our lives is on God and His goodness, not on ourselves and how we might strive to be good enough…

You are good enough. You know how I know? Because God said you are…

Just some good thoughts…

Ps To that brother and comrade that gave his all, you were good enough!

 

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The Making of Slaves…


shacklesIn the aftermath of the presidential election, there’s a heightened concern regarding the President Elect potentially taking the nation backwards in terms of the progress we’ve made with civil rights amongst a host of other issues. In light of those concerns, and because of my love for my brothers and sisters, I offer the following…

In life, no-one really takes anything from you that you haven’t, somewhere along the line, given up. The progress we have made in terms of equal rights and the ground we have gained has been hard-fought, to say the least. To suggest that someone or for that matter some group has the power to take back that ground by some fell swoop of legislation is not reasonable. Further to allow fear to enter the fray simply suggests a possibility that does not rightfully exist. Entertaining the notion that some national influence, whether based on a past hatred or a revived one, is capable of seizing something from you, you’ve worked hard to obtain, is fundamentally a lie.

In order to have slaves, there has to be a master, with both being cooperators in ignorance. One wrongfully submits their power, while the other over-exerts their power. In order to make a person a slave it is first necessary to thwart or stifle his education. The informed man can never be a slave as his principles won’t permit it. In his understanding he has power and in his wisdom he takes the necessary actions to extricate himself. But make no mistake, no man can be made a slave without at some point, his consent. Men and women today are grossly misinformed, taking at face value, the opinion of the most vocal. Sadly, if you say it loud enough and often enough, it is likely to be accepted. For this reason, the people most afraid, have failed to recognize the part they play in the universal drama. Instead of deciding what rights they alone are entitled to, they seek to obtain them from someone else. And, even entertaining the implication that some other group can decide what you can and cannot have, is already destined for failure. You’ve been defeated in the fight before the opening bell. Equally, the terror of not getting your fair share, again implies there is someone outside of you that can determine what is your fair share. Whether it be harder to get your fair share or not, it is your responsibility to demand it; to be equal to it; to do whatever it takes to secure it.

The only thing that ever really defeats a man and makes him a slave is fear. Fear is always based on ignorance or wrong teaching. The solution to ignorance is education. The solution to wrong teaching is right teaching. A man only accepts his inferiority to another man because of what he doesn’t know or that which he has been wrongly taught. Inferiority is a learned condition. To be inferior is to actually believe that you are. Why get all exasperated and agitated over some protestor or miscreant or marplot? Why permit discouragement over the sentiment of some back woods charlatan with neither the education nor the wherewithal to make a valid judgment or decision? Why have anxiety over some hate group spewing out threats of harm and maleficence? Your concern should not center on the display of a confederate flag or racial slurs scrawled on the side of a car. Your concern should focus more on the effect it has on men’s minds; your mind, and whether you or they will allow it. And,  like an act of cowardly terrorism, it lacks any real substance other than an incitement to be afraid. Lest you feel alone, I can assure you that the majority of the people in America are not those people. There are a multitude of Americans equally appalled as you are, willing to join with you, hand in hand for the fight. When President Obama was elected, I sat side by side with people from the so-called enemy race, weeping tears of joy with me over the progress America made in its views regarding equality. And that great man proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that any of you can be whomever it is you will to be. So, instead of running from an illusion, some reminder of the past, some dreaded state to avoid at all costs, decide you are today what you are and that no man can take that from you!

The responsibility for your life; your happiness; your success, is you and has always been you. The Government, be it favorable or averse, does not control your life for good or for bad. Sure it has the power to irritate you and harass you, but it never has and never will control you. To think that you need an elected official to ensure your best interests are being secured is a myth. It’s a fiction into which many have allowed themselves to be led. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your life and there is nothing on earth bigger than your determination to have just exactly what you expect to have and to be, by God, exactly what you expect to become! People are made slaves by their slavish dependence upon someone or something else to provide for them in their pursuit of happiness. God helps those who believe He will, and no-one turns back His hand!

We live most definitely in a questionable time, unlike any our nation has experienced in many years. The haters and the debaters and the pontificators have come out in full force against the principles this nation was founded upon. Whether the divisiveness be held under the guise of economic security, perceived weakness, or just plain old racism, this country was born upon a belief that a united country could be formed from many, many different types of people with each being afforded the privilege to believe and live as they saw fit. Separation and division made based upon a difference in skin color or cultural preferences is the most asinine of all things that an informed, educated nation could entertain. So, refuse to believe the rhetoric! Stop allowing people to exert their false authority over you and threaten to make you into something you are not! Stand for yourself and for your children. Stand for what you believe. Stand for the nation you love and believe in. Refuse to cower and kowtow to fear, intimidation and threats. Those folks shouting the loudest are simply working hard to sell you an idea that not only isn’t true, but never has been true!

If you really want to make a difference and change this world, change it right where you live. You teach that young black child that he isn’t inferior to anyone. Teach your Hispanic friends to stop accepting life as second class citizens. Assure those Muslim friends you have that if a round-up starts you will fight alongside them for their freedom in our land of the free! Most of all, tell yourself and continue to tell yourself that no-one takes from you anything you have earned and that no-one ever will! This is still America, no matter who is at the helm. The true genius of America is that it is the people who govern the land. And those people are still made up of a multiplicity of types. America isn’t full and in need of walls. America is ever open to those who hunger and thirst for a better way…

I love my country and I love you. Be a real American and refuse to be made a slave! You can and you should…

Just some good thoughts…