“I believe that people are basically good; and if you live a good life, you’ll go to heaven.”

By Pastor Travis Lauterbach

Pastors hear it often: “I believe that people are basically good; and if you live a good life, you’ll go to heaven.”

I’ve begun to notice that I don’t even have to ask anything to prompt that statement. A person just feels the need to say it.

But is it true?

I don’t think that people actually believe that people are basically good.

The wars fought over the course of the last century alone should rule that assessment false.

People like to complain that there’s hardly any good news anymore. Well, news sources publish more of what their audience desires. So not only is there a lot of bad news, but that’s what people tune in for.

How many people lock their vehicle doors, front doors, smart phones, and keep really important documents or valuables in a safe or safety deposit box?

How many people use internet passwords when paying bills, doing online banking, and using social media?

How many people take precautions when going out alone or at night?

How many people don’t leave items unattended, such as a purse, when going up to the buffet line?

People take protective measures for all of these things and many more, which is really unusual and a major hassle if we live in a world that’s basically good.

Scripture tells us a different picture about humanity’s goodness.

Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Paul says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Jesus says, “No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18)

This picture falls more in line with the daily reality of locking doors and using passwords.

I think people like to say that people are basically good in order to justify themselves against a guilty conscience.

Can people do good things? Certainly. But every day precautions show that’s not basically expected.

People aren’t basically good. A Savior is needed.

Travis Lauterbach is the pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church located in the Falcon Ridge Business Park in Mesquite, NV.

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