“Did you make your bed?”
“Did you clean your room?”
“Can I come and check?”
This is the scene that takes place in my house every morning. The silence usually leads to an inspection of my room which is always followed by “This place is disgusting. How many times do I have to tell you – clean your room.”
My mum’s always been a clean freak. She’s loved perfectly folded blankets, spotless floors and things in the house kept exactly where they belong for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the reasons I get whooped every morning and as we all know, few are the things more frightening than a mother’s wrath. She can’t stand the state I leave my room in. Every day, she walks in, gives me an earful, and cleans it right up.
But you want to know what the problem is? I am not a slob (yes, there are some of you out there who are disagreeing with me, but I’m talking about my room on most mornings, alright?)
I clean my room to a state that I think is clean enough. I don’t need it to be clean beyond that point. I know people who leave their rooms far more dirty than I do without any complaints (you know who you are). But do I need to clean it to a point where my mum is happy about it too? Sure, why not!
Except that it’s not possible.
You see, there have been days where I’ve given it my best shot to make my room near perfect; but it’s never been enough. Mum can always spot the slightest thing that’s wrong with it. “The blanket isn’t supposed to be there, the pillow isn’t facing the right way, the laptop isn’t exactly perpendicular to the wall” – there will always, always be a problem with the cleanliness of my room.
And I’ll tell you exactly why that is – because my Mum’s standards of cleanliness are higher than mine. You see, even my best version of the room is not going to be good enough, simply because the bar that she has set for cleanliness is different. Those people I told you about who leave their rooms really dirty? They probably think it’s clean enough for them. Why? Because their standards are different.
And who knows – maybe there’s someone out there who will not be satisfied by my mum’s version of ‘clean’. Maybe there’s someone who thinks they can do better. No matter what you do, there will always be a standard that is higher, until we recognize one that is PERFECT.
That’s the problem with us – we fail to recognize it; and I’m not talking about dirty rooms anymore. We live our lives, being our wonderful, good selves, believing that we are the personification of goodness, judging ourselves solely based on how the person we define as worse than us lives out his or her life. To us, ‘bad’ is a bar just below the worst thing we’ve done. Our level of goodness is good enough. There are people out there who live so much worse than we do.
“Yes, I’ve lied a couple of times. That’s not so bad. I’m still a good person. At least I don’t cheat.”
“Yes, I’ve cheated a couple of times. I still do a lot of good. At least I don’t murder. Those people are the worst.”
“Yes, I’ve killed an animal or two. Everyone makes mistakes. I’m not so bad. At least I’m not a mass murdering terrorist. Those guys are horrible.”
Our standards are going to be enough for us, until we recognize that there is a higher one – a perfect one – one that is impossible for us to match; and like my dear mother’s wrath, there is going to be a price to pay for not matching up to it. Justice – pure unperversed justice – will prevail.
Like my futile attempts to clean my room, no matter how hard we try, how good we are, how many of the ‘be the best version of you’ quotes we are going to believe in, our efforts are not going to be enough.
I want to encourage you to think about this today – do you and I get to define what goodness is?
If not, are we even close to being what ‘good’ really is?
No? Then what can we do about this? What can we do to make up for the part of us that’s not good (if you think that’s even necessary)?
What can we do to pay the price?
The bad news – NOTHING! Absolutely nothing!
There is good news though…
Really Good News…
THE Good News