Today’s Word from Pastor Jim… 

She made the routine journey from Maple Ridge to Rite Aid without any problems. Patiently she waited in line, purse in one hand and a cane in the other. She approached the counter, her prescriptions were filled, she presented her insurance card and the kind cashier smiled. She owed an additional $96. Reaching for her wallet the man behind her spoke up. “I have this. We will just add it to my bill.” She was overcome with joy, not so much at saving the $96, but overjoyed by an unexpected kindness. In a world where bad news overshadows everyday goodness it served as a good reminder that most people are good. Theologically speaking, I suppose I should say that most people are mostly good.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words in his letter to the church in Rome, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Could it be that we are inherently good and flawed at the same time? Saint and sinner wrapped up in one human package. Martin Luther understood and taught that we are simultaneously saint and sinner. Try as we may, we cannot escape the reality that humans are “simul Justus et peccator.” Luther wrote these words: “Thus a Christian man (or woman) is righteous and a sinner at the same time, holy and profane, an enemy of God and a child of God.”

I believe that most people are good, regardless of their religion, race, culture or orientation. People of all nations and tribes want to love and be loved, they desire good for their families and their communities, they move peaceably through the days and years of their lives obeying laws and respecting their neighbors. Regardless of the news cycle, we generally move from home to Payless, the Post Office, Church, and the ferry without any real fear for our safety. I believe that most people are good, and those who are not so good are typically products of their raising. Broken angry people were often raised by broken angry people. There are exceptions, but I believe that most people are good.

I believe that we are inherently good and flawed at the same time. How might this statement of honesty inform our daily living? Well, if all humans are inherently good and flawed at the same time, then it makes sense that we would adjust our expectations of those we love and live with. Nobody is perfect. Inherently good, but inherently flawed, that is what we are. The Apostle Paul again: “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” Romans 7:19

So perhaps we could cut each other a break, be a little more understanding of our neighbor’s flaws, and more generous with our forgiveness and understanding. Equally important, perhaps we could cut ourselves a break for being human. If all humans are inherently good and inherently flawed, then you should also not expect perfection from the one who looks back at you in the mirror.

He paid her prescription bill which renewed her hope for humanity and put a smile on her face. I believe that you are mostly good, so go out there today and spread a little random kindness. It will put a smile on your face as well.

One flawed human telling other flawed humans where to find bread, I am your,

Pastor Jim

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