In my heart of hearts, I know I am not all I ought to be. I have done things that are undeniably wrong, and I have failed to do many good things that I had the opportunity to do.
It's not pleasant for us to think about our failures. In fact, if you're like me, you have probably found ways to suppress the discomfort you feel over your shortcomings. Some of us call psychology to our defense and take comfort in its rejection of the whole matter of guilt. Another tact is to bury our awkward feelings by staying busy, perhaps even to the point of compulsive busyness. I think the most common way I personally try to avoid the pain of knowing I don't measure up is to remind myself of how many good things I have done or how many people do things much worse than I do.
I realize this is faulty reasoning. It reminds me of the proverbial policeman who catches someone speeding and pulls him over. The patrolman doesn't really care how many times the person has stayed within the speed limit or how many times someone else may have been speeding. Nor does he care how compulsively busy the person is. He is painfully focused on one undeniable fact: the speeder got caught doing wrong! The same is true of my shortcomings. Neither my good behavior on some occasions nor other people's horrible behavior on some occasions changes the fact that I have done things that are flat wrong.
God, of course, is also quite aware of our imperfections. Not surprisingly, though, His approach to handling them is different from ours. He doesn't make any excuses. Nor does he ignore it or downplay it. Instead, like a skillful physician who also has a good bedside manner, He gently but also frankly informs us of the seriousness of our condition. I should warn you, His diagnosis is not flattering. In fact, it's pretty unpleasant. There is some good news that goes along with it, though: God also offers treatment-and it's free! If we are willing to accept God's diagnosis of our condition and to seek His help, we can enjoy the benefits of the treatment He provides.
Next: God's Diagnosis