I think that in today’s culture, most people think they are pretty good people. And I would agree, that by our culture’s standards, that most people I know or meet are good people. But if God’s standards are used to determine how good we are as a people, then we have a problem.
When we think about God’s standards, we have to think about the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God and the two great commandments that Jesus taught us. Those are to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and have no other gods before Him and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. He said these two commandments incorporated and summarized the Law of Moses and all the Prophets.
In todays culture when we hear words like “don’t do this” or “don’t do that”, like we find in the ten commandments, many of us respond in a negative way. We don’t want to be told what to do or not to do. We get all riled up with the feeling that “nobody’s going to tell me what to do.” and we don’t see the wisdom within these simple rules. If we were the ones composing these rules for the citizens of the world, I have to think that ideals of the Ten Commandments would be the default rules in order for a society to live and flourish. All of them are common sense directives to live a successful life, as an individual or as a society.
The commandments are given to us by God, not to limit us from experiencing life, but as gifts to help us live more fully; to free us from sinfulness, thereby allowing us to enter into a personal relationship with the Creator to live a supernatural life.
Most people don’t understand this basic tenet of wisdom. We don’t get it because we do not really see Jesus as our highest treasure, and we sin by anger, resentment, envy, and vanity in the human trials of everyday life. When we desire to live for God, and seek His thanks, appreciation, and love, rather than be concerned about getting what we want and what people think of us, then we will begin to live a life of eternal success.
I really don’t think that people who are not growing their faith and their relationship with Jesus, believe that they are sinners and from the small percentage of people in lines that I see for confession in churches that I attend, it appears that even the faithful seem to lack a sincere sorrow for their sins, or they feel that their sinfulness is not important in their relationship with God and their salvation, as I sometimes do.
On the other hand, the people that are serious about their faith seem concerned with their sinfulness and are found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis, monthly, if not weekly. I’m not saying these folks are any more sincere than those who do not frequent the sacrament; it just appears that they have a better understanding of sin.
Sin is defined as an act, thought, or way of behaving that goes against the norms of society or against the teachings of a religion, especially when the person is aware that he is doing wrong.
Sin distances us from God. Sincerity and misunderstanding is no substitute for truth. God accepts us where we are, however, I have found from the reading of Scripture, Church teaching, the saint’s lives and my understanding of sin at this point in my life, there seems to be a dichotomy, the closer one is to God, the more he recognizes sin in his life and vice-versa; the farther one is from Christ, the less the significant sin is in their way of life.
So, if you think that you are a good person, great, because God wants you to be good and happy, but if in your goodness, you forget about God and all the blessings He has bestowed on you and you don’t recognize sin in your life like I sometimes fail to do, then you may want to re-examine your priorities and spend some quiet time with God in prayer and ask Him to help you recognize where you have let Him down, so He can continue to pour out His blessings and mercy on you and prepare you for eternal life.