Why would a decent person like me need forgiveness?

Becky Pipper, Author and speaker



I recently spoke to a woman on a flight and at one point she said, “I believe human nature is entirely good.” And so I said, “So how do you think the world is doing?” She said, “Oh, the world’s a mess. It’s falling apart.” I said, “OK, so help me out here. How can the world be a mess if people are only good?” 

On the outside we might put on a good show, but if we look closely at what’s going on inside our hearts it’s a lot messier than we’d like to admit. So what does Jesus say? Well, first, Jesus lived in a way that demonstrated compassion with the most marginalised. He showed equal respect for men and women. 

But he also said things like, “Sexual immorality, theft, greed, envy, slander; all those evils,” he said, “come from inside and defile a person.” However well we try to hide it, somewhere on the inside we all have a problem with sin. 

“One of the problems is, we have a god complex. We keep getting ourselves and God mixed up. We try to run the show, and we choose things other than God to give our lives meaning and identity and purpose. And it never works. Because only God is big enough to build our lives upon. Only God can give us our true identity and a love that never leaves us.” 

Here’s the good news. Jesus came to earth because of our sin; because of our refusal to let God be God. But God never stopped loving us. He sent his son Jesus to rescue us. So to return to the person’s question, “Why would a decent person need forgiveness?” Because no one is as good as we might think. We have all tried to be God rather than worship God. We all need forgiveness and a fresh start. And Jesus came to offer us forgiveness for our sins, and to offer us through his Spirit a new identity, a new heart, a new hope to live a new life.

Oh, my friends, what an offer!