A Good Person

Photo by  Sam Austin  on  Unsplash

Photo by Sam Austin on Unsplash

Freedom From Guilt is Worth More Than We Realize

by Eric Elkin

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
— Psalm 51:8

“You don’t want to do that; you don’t need God. Just be a good person.” These words were spoken by a co-worker to a new mother when she talked about getting her child baptized. As I listened to the conversation being re-told, my mind started to drift. I’ve heard it all before. In this modern age, we are too intellectually superior for the ancient superstitions of the past.

My wife says that I carry so much guilt I should be Catholic. Perhaps if I abandon God and just become a good person that will all go away? The truth is, there are times I want to give up on the whole God thing. I get tired of listening to people tell me all the reasons they don’t like God, don’t want God or how the Church is destroying the world.

If I decided to leave it all and just become a good person, what does that involve? I mean, how does one become a good person? I’m more concerned with who determines if I am a good person or not? Based on my experience with those who promote this approach, I get the freedom to choose if my actions are good or not.

The reality of this kind of living is on full display in our national culture. Pick a topic of debate, and you will find good people on both sides. If you ask either side they will tell you, they are good people looking out for the good of others. When your definition of good does your neighbor harm, how do you know? And, if the point is to be a good person, who calls you out to change when you are not?

In this type of world, the good people are the ones who agree with you. The bad people are those who do not share your view. As long as you keep the right company, you will always be good and free from the guilt of being bad. These conditions never produce any substantive change for the better. Matter of fact, it polarizes society into a form of bondage.

My guilt would exist whether I believed in God or not. God grants me freedom from my guilt by crushing my false sense of good and restoring my soul with new life. I don’t think anyone can be free until they allow someone to take their sins away. It’s what helps broken bones rejoice.

Click to read: Psalm 51: 1-12

Reflection Questions:

  • How would define a “good person”?
  • Who calls you out to change when you are not good?
  • How can a desire to be good create a form of bondage?
  • When have you experienced freedom from sin?

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