I have a question I would like to pose to you. I want you to answer it honestly.
Do you think of yourself as a good person?
Let’s really examine what it means to be good. Remember, that Jesus told us that we really ought to judge… And do it correctly.
John 7:24 (MEV): Do not judge according to appearance, but practice righteous judgment.
Jesus said this after He selflessly healed another on Shabbat. He mercifully rescued someone, showing the real purpose of the law and what others missed. We cannot be good by keeping it.
We know it is mercy that triumphs over judgment (James 2:13.) The principle is that the measure we offer to others will be given back to us in multiples. It is this sowing and reaping principle, as planting a seed the harvest is expected to be many more seeds.
Luke 6:37–38 (MEV): “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will men give unto you. For with the measure you use, it will be measured unto you.”
The principle Jesus is using in the way we judge is to give. In so doing receive the good measure which is returned to us. In the market at those times, when one bought grain, a good measure was done like this: Grain would be ladled into a container until full. The container would then be pressed down, and more grain added. Then the vendor would tamp the container on a hard surface a few times. His would provide even more room. The vendor would finally ladle more grain into the container until it piled up and overflowed the sides.
That is a Good Measure.
Most of us, if not all, would have no problem meting judgment to ourselves like this. Some of us will struggle to do that with some of our friends. I think the problem grows exponentially when we judge others by what they do that we do not like. It really is an unfair system.
And yeah, I am talking to myself, too.
What do We Do?
So let’s set out and esteem others better than ourselves like Paul instructs.
Philippians 2:3–4 (MEV): Let nothing be done out of strife or conceit, but in humility let each esteem the other better than himself. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
The task can be daunting at first. But with practice (and the indwelling Holy Spirit,) it gets easier. You cannot do it without the Spirit in you. I promise.
But back to that question.
Luke 18:18–20 (MEV): A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good, except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother.”
Think about the answer now. Do you still think you are a good person?
I don’t want to beat you up (or myself for that matter.) I want to encourage all of us to really expect that good measure from ourselves, the same as we would expect it in return from others.
When it comes to judging ourselves against the law, and being asked a question like I posed, we would immediately bring to mind all of our foibles. In light of the law, we would esteem ourselves as something less than good.
Brothers and sisters… If we are saved, we are good! We are good in Jesus’ name. It is His gift of righteousness — His, that He freely gives to us.
Let’s think of ourselves rightly. We are good people… Only in Jesus’ name.