How good?

One of the things that I come up against from time to time when dealing with an issue with a student is that of a defensive parent. I don’t mean defensive in an ugly way or combative way, it’s much more subtle than that. It is often given in the form of the statement “Well, he/she is a good kid.”

This statement has so many layers. Let’s start peeling.

First, I have discovered that it is mostly natural for parents to defend the actions of their children if for no other reason other than they don’t want little Johnny’s indiscretion to paint them in a bad light. There of course is a certain level of responsibility that we as parents carry, but we can only carry it so far and for so long. If I’m apologizing to the dean of my son’s college for His on campus booze fest, then I have a problem.

The other thing we must look at is why we decide to defend poor choices and outright sin with the “good kid” defense. I guess we must ask one of my recent most favorite questions “by what standard?” I picked this little nugget of wisdom up from Douglas Wilson in his dismantling of Christopher Hitchens. What do you mean by good? Do you mean they are good, other than this bad thing that they have done?

We are getting to the heart of what I wanted to say today and that is that we have a really hard time in our culture of admitting our sinful and broken nature. I have a hard enough time admitting when I need to go to the doctor let alone admitting that I am a broken human being unable to move myself under my own power one fraction of an inch closer to that thing we call “good.”

There was this little saying that I used to hear on the basketball court all the time (mostly coming out of my mouth) and that was “my bad.” Whenever someone made a bad pass or missed shot or just messed up in general you often heard “my bad.” Now, I don’t think we need to go around exclaiming to the world every mistake we make. But we (including me) need to do a better job of recognizing our need for Jesus.

The good news starts with bad news. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” And, “there is no one good but God.” But remember that while we were still sinners Christ died for us that we could be one with the Father. And only He can call us good or not.


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