The Fallacy Of The Good Heart and the Good Person
This is blatant false teaching that has been widely accepted both in the church and outside of the church. We have cherry-picked scripture to support our belief that we are naturally good people.
I have had so many conversations about this as of late. People get really worked up when I tell them I am not good. They get even more worked up when I tell them that they are not good either. This is not to point a finger; it is to point them to scripture.
The very first thing I hear people say about this is: “I am a good person because I haven’t murdered anyone. I am not a thief, and I haven’t committed adultery.” People automatically go back to the 10 Commandments, whether we realize it or not, even those who don't follow Christ. We go back there because ultimately, we believe that the commandments are good.
I urge you to read through all of the 10 commandments and what they mean. When we start to hold ourselves up against scripture, we should start to see the ways we fail every day. We may not have gotten a gun and shot someone, but there are other forms of murder. Scripture tells us that we have the power of life and death in our tongues. (Ps 18:21) So when we call someone names, when we say ugly things, when we berate people, this could be considered speaking death over them. Not a physical death but an emotional death.
People take great pride in the fact they have never cheated on their significant other and can be pretty condemning of others that do. What if I told you that we all have an adulterous heart? (Matt 5:27-28, Mark 7:20-23)
James calls us out our adulterous heart against God in verse 4: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?”
Somehow, we have become a nation of “Good people” instead of Godly people.
We have subscribed to a false theology because it sounds good. We have allowed this false teaching to seep through the seams of the Church at large because we have forsaken the reading and studying of scripture.
When I looked up the definition of “Good” I was a bit surprised, but it fits.
According to Google, the first definition is: to be desired or approved of.
Wow! How many of us have the need to be desired or approved of, and yet really believe we aren't good enough? We want so badly to be good, so we do all these good things. The truth is, we aren't doing things because we are good-natured people, we are doing them to prove to someone, usually, ourselves, that we have a good heart.
-as that which is morally right, righteousness
-Benefit or advantage to someone or something
We have the tendency to forget just as our Ancestors of Faith did: we do not have the ability to righteous in an of ourselves.
It was not hard for me to grasp the truth of not being a good person with a good heart because no matter how much I thought I wanted to be good, I couldn’t do it. The consistent failed attempts made me loath myself. This focus on self, the lack of love in my life, and Society’s judgment of me was enough to support the loathing picture of who I was.
The greatest news I have ever received was that God loved me even though I was loathsome. He chose me long before I ever chose Him. His love was not conditional on my behavior. This is such a hard concept to understand because, in the world’s economy, you have to give something or be something to be loved. We strive to be this or to be that in hopes that we will be loved. We have been programmed to think that if we are good enough, people will love us. Then when they don’t…..we try to be better, we try to be more. All the while, giving more of who we were created to be up for who people say we should be. He never asks us to be good to come, all he asks from us is faith to believe that we are sinners in need of a savior. (Ephesians 2:8-9). He then does all the sanctifying work of changing us.
We learn in scripture that we have been corrupt from conception!
Surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Jeremiah tells us in chapter 17, Verse 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” There are none among us that have a good heart.
Our greatest freedom comes from understanding the depth of our depravity. When we understand the truth about who we are, we have a better understanding of the depth of the Lord's love for us. We no longer have to try to be good to be accepted and gain approval from people or God.
Friends, this is part of the Good News of the Gospel! God has loved us not because of how good we have been, he has loved us because He created us! We ought not to think better of ourselves than we should because He has done all the redeeming work for us! We can only stand before our Holy God, as one that has been approved and righteous through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.
We needed a savior because we could not uphold the law, not in word, deed, or thought! We could never uphold the Law of God because we are sinful. Without Jesus, we would be forever separated from him because we are not good and do not have the power to change. We will always choose self because our hearts are desperately sick without a cure.
So, the next time your friend tells you that you are a good person with such a good heart, please tell them the TRUTH! Tell them about your wretched heart and how the only good in you is that of your Savior, Jesus Christ.