Watching the Supreme Court nomination process, it reminded us of the high standards we have for our leaders. Who would want to endure such a thorough examination and public hearing about their teenage years? The Bible tells us God does not need to investigate us. He’s already familiar with all our ways. Psalm 90:8 says, “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”
In our day, many believe buried inside themselves is the god they need most. If we’ll dig deep, and tap into our latent godlikeness, we’ll discover happiness and experience our real potential. If we will think positive, educate ourselves, and work hard, eventually our ideal self will breakthrough. I’ve found the opposite to be true. The older I get, and the closer I come to the light of Christ, I don’t see a little god, but more sinfulness in my soul.
Instead of a spark of divinity, the Bible tells us the venom of sin is in our nature from the moment of our birth. In Psalm 51:5 David writes, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Wendy and I are blessed with six beautiful kids. As babies, they looked like perfect angels, but we quickly found out otherwise, especially when they hit the “terrible two’s.”
When I was in eighth grade, my best friend was Jimmy Rosa. Jimmy and I had much in common, like sports and chasing girls. But, there was one area where we differed greatly. He was always on the honor roll. My dad, a pastor, and lover of history and reading, was greatly vexed and expressed this each grading period with a stern lecture. After the sermon, my punishment was torture by grounding, usually for one to two weeks. After the pain was over, I was back to my old ways. It was not that I didn’t understand the material. I just hated homework and never really tried. So, I dreaded report card day. I felt like I was dragging a skunk into our house by the tail.
After much thought, I hatched a plan walking home after school one day while holding another stinky report card. I said, “Jimmy, give your mom your report card, and then when she’s done let’s erase your name and type in mine.” This was before the internet when they sent home carbon copied grades using a typewriter.
He agreed. To our surprise, the eraser trick worked. In his mom’s office, with his named erased, we typed my name in. Triumphantly, I entered our house. My dad was shocked, “Wow! What an improvement. What did you do?” I replied, “Just focused I guess dad.” “Great job, son!”
We couldn’t believe it. Our scheme had worked. I was free. But, after we walked out and slapped high fives, we both were hit with reality. We had to continue lying every report card day for the entire year. Along with the insecurity, I had the guilt of knowing I had deceived my father who loved me.