“You’ll never be good enough.” That sentence almost always makes me cringe, hitting even the smallest capillaries in my heart, and causing a thump of pain in my inner self. It really hurts when I hear that sentence either directly or indirectly uttered for me. It likely resembles a bullet that I would always catch even if it is not for me. Probably because I have bought the lie that says that is my identity. But my Missions Exposure Trip experience resonated the same sentence in a whole new meaning.
Today’s society portrays that being good has become man’s natural inclination in life, whether at home, in school, in the workplace, or even in the church.
A lot of people think goodness is inherent to human beings, at least depending on a person’s view of morality as something that is arbitrary. We can see “moral” people helping the street children and even extending their hands to charities. Some would help the poor and even go beyond to fighting for their rights as human beings. This is almost always true for a lot of people I’ve met before and this time, it also applies to Tatay Mabuti (let’s name him that way since I forgot his real name hahaha).
We’ve been in the island of Alabat in the Quezon province for a week seeking to share the love and forgiveness that Christ offers to those who would believe in Him. It was the 4th day of our stay in the island and community evangelism was scheduled for the day. Teams of 2-4 people were sent out to do door-to-door witnessing and I happened to be with Kuya George and Ate Hope. We were gladly welcomed in the humble abode of Tatay Mabuti.
Kuya George gave Tatay Mabuti and his son, of legal age, a very detailed explanation of what is sin and why it is considered a total defiance and rebellion against the Holy God. After going through a fruitful discussion that lasted for about 30-40 mins:
*dialogue in verbatim*
K. George: So ano pong kailangan nating gawin para mapatawad ang ating mga kasalanan?
T. Mabuti: Edi gagawa na lang ako ng limang mabuti sa bawat isang kasalanan ko.
SHOOKT. FACE-PALM in my mind HUWAT?! JONGMAL?! (that’s the Korean for ‘really’).
In whatever language, I’m very disappointed and frustrated. I thought the Gospel was clear after all those discussions. I was wrong because salvation will never be dependent on how long and detailed our presentation of the Gospel is. But as I prayed for him, I experienced peace in my heart. We can only hope and pray that God would cause the growth in the seed we have planted in the hearts of people. And the response of the people we are sharing with will not determine our success in evangelism.
I am convinced that if we took the initiative in sharing Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the result to God, we are already successful witnesses for Christ.
By the grace of God, T. Mabuti somehow manifested a softening of his heart by the last part of their conversation. As we went our way to another house, I suddenly glanced at myself as if there’s a mirror in front of me. I was so disappointed with Tatay as he exhibited self-righteousness… but there I was, standing like a Pharisee with the prayer “Lord, thank you that I am not like Tatay Mabuti who’s self-righteous.” Have you seen the irony there? I believe many Christians have the same attitude as I have at first – we are so easy to judge and point at the speck in other people’s eye while forgetting we have a log in our very eyes. Truth is, I am no different from Tatay.
Good thing, the Holy Spirit was quick to convict me of my sin and so I responded accordingly, in repentance and gratitude. Even as I see myself unworthy, because of Christ, the Lord sees me through the eyes of mercy. I marveled at this grace’s sweet embrace. What a good good Father!
The very sentence that makes me cringe every time I hear it became a melody of truth.
“Self, you are never good enough.” Yes, I am never good enough and I will never be. I have fallen short of the glory of the Almighty God. Yes, that is my shameful identity before. But the Good News is, Someone good enough—no more than good enough—died for me so that through Him, I am considered good enough to be God’s child. For this reason, I boast all the more that I am not good enough and that Christ alone is the only good, from eternity past to eternity future.
This is the Good News we are sharing – that Christ came to save and to seek those who are lost. So my friend, if you hear God’s voice today please do not harden your heart.