This is the fifth and final blog on the subject of false beliefs. I encourage you to go back and read the previous four blogs (part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4) to get a sense of the overall context. All of us have false beliefs, things we believe to be true, but they are false. We have already looked at seven of these lies: “My relationship with God is dependent on how I perform,” “God’s favor must be earned,” “I must have everyone’s approval,” “Because I am a Christian, God will protect me from pain and suffering,” “My value is determined by my work, my achievements, my income, or my appearance,” “A good Christian doesn’t feel angry, anxious, or depressed,” and “Problems are God’s way of punishing me for my sins.” Now let’s look at another common lie we believe.
*A more complete list of these lies can be found in Chris Thurmond’s book, “The Lies We Believe.”*
8. People are basically good.
(Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18)
I know theologically that all people are sinners. (Romans 3:23) The problem occurs when I expect people to think good thoughts, have good attitudes, have good motives, display good morals, and do good things. Yes, I am one of those people that expects the best out of others. I don’t think that is a terrible thing, but it is probably a naïve thing.
Essentially, by having these expectations, I am believing that people are basically good. The Scriptures are crystal clear on this subject. All men are sinners, and they will act in selfish, self-serving, self-indulgent, and deceitful ways.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
Jeremiah tells us that our hearts are deceitful. We should not be surprised when people lie and attempt to deceive us. This is a condition of the heart that only God can change. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then I should be able to expect honesty and truthfulness. However, sometimes, even true believers lie and deceive others. Why? Because our hearts have not yet been fully transformed by the redemptive grace of God.
Paul David Tripp has said, “I am a deeply flawed man who still desperately needs the grace of God that I am called to proclaim to others.” I might add, “On a daily basis.”
Take the time now to read slowly through the Romans 3:9-18 passage. Realize that this is describing the condition of the human heart. We are not basically good. We are basically corrupt, and we need a Savior to deliver us from our sins.
May I suggest four ways we can combat this false belief?
- Admit that we are deeply flawed people. We are still affected by our sinful nature and still daily need the grace of God.
- Don’t forget that the grace we proclaim to others is a grace we need for ourselves.
- Recognize when others fail us, disappoint us, and shock us with their behaviors, it is more evidence that the Scriptures are true.
- By giving grace to others, you are most closely reflecting the grace you have received from your Creator and Redeemer.
False Belief – People are basically good.
Truth – All people are basically corrupt and need a Savior to redeem them from their fallen state.
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