Are You Good or Are You Alive?

Erik Cooper —  April 11, 2012 — 4 Comments

Following an April 1 motorcycle accident that uncovered a scandalous extramarital affair and potential mis-use of university funds, Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino was fired. (No April fools).

Tiger Woods, already a polarizing personality after embarrassing infidelities surfaced in 2009, is becoming even less easy to root for after throwing clubs and swearing like he was cast in a Tarantino flick during last week’s Masters Championship.

Chicago White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen found himself treading in hot water following an impromptu celebration of Cuba’s murderous dictator, Fidel Castro. We’ll see if he can keep his job.

All the politicians must be thrilled that the sports community is hogging the embarrassing headlines this week.

As I watch these stories unfold, there’s an innate tendency to try and find myself amidst the turmoil. Sure, these guys made some asinine and self-indulgent choices, and now they’re living into the repercussions of their decisions. You jump off a cliff, gravity takes over. It’s a fact of life.

But am I more worthy than Bobby Petrino because I’ve been faithful to my wife? I don’t know. Am I? It’s an interesting question.

“For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction].”

–Isaiah 64:6 AMP

Even as a life-long follower of Christ, it’s so easy for me to define my worth by my behavior. If I’m gentle with the kids, gracious to my wife, kind to my neighbors, (not out soliciting prostitutes), and generous with my money, I feel pretty good about who I am. At least better than those who’s dirty laundry is being splashed all over the tabloids.

But as my favorite apologist (aka Christian ultra-smart guy) Ravi Zacharias likes to remind us:

“Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good but to make dead people live!”

Behavior gives us a scorecard. A point of comparison. A pedestal to elevate our pride or a hiding place to wallow in our shame. Or as Max Lucado put it in his brilliant children’s tale, our box of gray dots or yellow stars to stick gleefully or condemningly on those around us.

Grace gives us life.

Behavior isn’t unimportant (or free of consequences), but it’s not the foundation of God’s love and approval. Jesus is. Whether you’re more Bobby Petrino or Mother Theresa, you’re problem isn’t that you’re bad or good, it’s that you’re dead. Only Jesus can make us truly alive. Are you?

The grace and mercy of God. Now there’s a real scandal for you.

What do you think?

4 responses to Are You Good or Are You Alive?

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head. Preach it! But don’t stop being good to your wife and kids.

  2. Great stuff! Reposted 🙂

  3. Stacey Erickson April 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm


  4. Loved the article – so good and so true – GOD bless U in his work.

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