All The Time?

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

For the past several months I have been diving into the study of philosophy and philosophers. Right now I am listening to a series of lectures about a man named Diogenes.  This ancient, self-appointed Greek philosopher was a professional finger-pointer. He loved to point out the faults and failures of people be they a king, general or fellow philosopher. Diogenes dared challenge Plato and when the undefeatable king, general and emperor Alexander the Great asked Diogenes what he might do for him he responded that he could move out of his way  because he was blocking the light. His most famous escapade was walking around in the daylight with a lit lantern as he tried to find an “honest man.”

To the best of my knowledge, he never found such an honest individual.

If we could go back to the future it would have been fun to place a recent edition of the Scientific American in his hands and have him read it. Evidently, honesty is as hard to find now as it was way back in his day. A study made by psychologists from the Universities of Chicago and Virginia discovered that, “most of us think that we are better than we actually are; not just physically, but in every way.”

And how did the psychologists come to such a conclusion? Simple: they showed people varying pictures of themselves. One of those pictures had been left untouched, while the others were doctored to make them look better or worse. Amazingly, when people were asked to pick the “honest” photograph, they almost always picked one which made them look better.

Scientific American says this is a self-preservation phenomenon called “self-enhancement.” Self-enhancement is what makes 93 percent of people say they are better-than-average drivers; it is what makes 94 percent of college professors say they do “above-average work”; it is what makes most people think they are less likely to catch the flu than are others are; better judges of character than they actually are…

Psalm 116:11 says, “I said in my haste, All men are liars.” The Psalmist here said it is haste, in a state of agitation, but Diogenes the shock-jock did it for the attention it gave him. We have all met these self-appointed, holier-than-thou judges, who feel good by making others feel bad.

However, we must agree with Jesus that the world doesn’t have any truly and totally honest people. There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understand, there is none that seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.(Romans 3:10-12)  No one is good 24/7

Nowhere does Jesus flatter us by telling us how good we are. He holds up the mirror of the Ten Commandments before our eyes and immediately we see how imperfect we are. No self-enhancement here.  But then Jesus does something quite unexpected. He does something no self-respecting worldly philosopher would ever dream of doing; He points to Himself and says; “Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26, New American Standard) He points us to his Cross and reminds us that our sins are washed away through the blood of his Cross.

If Diogenes were to point his bony, self-righteous finger of condemnation at you today and say; “You are not a totally honest person, you are far, far, far, from being a righteous person; what would your defense be?

It could only be this; “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

He’s Only a Prayer Away!

Pastor Bryant