The myth of the good person.

Ever wondered why bad things happen to good people? Most of us will have asked that question at one time or another. We probably spend less time wondering why good people do bad things. Or even if there is such a thing as a good person.

In many ways then, Christianity is radically different from all other major religions in its claim that there is no such thing as a good person. If you are human, you are not good (Romans 3:23). We all like to think we are “good people” so it is a pretty harsh truth to hear that just by being a member of homo sapiens you are flawed.

But we are, and this is highlighted in a recent reflection on the Financial Services Royal Commission. In the report on the ABC website, University of Melbourne Associate Professor Brock Bastian wonders if we are too harsh in judging the banks and the bankers. For those who came in late, many financial institutions are being hauled over the coals at the moment for alleged countless ethical lapses. Many people are claiming to have been hurt by banks and their practices.

Brock however claims that those tempted to pick up the first stone (John 8:7) should first take a good hard look at themselves. He writes, “The emerging field of behavioural ethics shows us we are all motivated by self-serving interests and that, under the right circumstances, most people will act in ways that are opposed to their own moral principles.” Further down the article, he also points out that, “Contrary to our retributive desire to hang wrong-doers out to dry, the evidence suggests we’re all prone to ethical failures.”

The Bible is clear that only one person ever has been without flaw (or sin, as we call it in the industry) – the man Jesus Christ. He did everything right. For those who choose to follow him, he promised that we too could be made right. Until then, he gave us this helpful pointer – before we offer to take specks of dust out of other people’s eyes, think about the log in our own first.


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