Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 53:1-3:
“The fool has said in his heart,
‘There is no God.’
They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity;
There is none who does good.
God looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
Every one of them has turned aside;
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.”
Have you ever been in awe of your own stupidity? Ever have one of those moments when you say something you want to take back? There have been a few instances (all right, many) in my life that were so shamefully embarrassing that they live continually in my nightmares. If you see me randomly shuddering, it’s cuz I just had a flashback of one of my many embarrassments.
One such instance was recently. My friend and I do a biweekly podcast on politics—and we gave it a strange name: “Politicide.” It’s short, cool, and eye-catching. And also a bit controversial. I never realized just how controversial it was until the day when the coolest politician ever—Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)—traveled to our college to address some of the students. My friend and I stayed after his speech in an eternally-long line to get a picture with him. I kept rehearsing in my head what I was going to say—after all, this is a very powerful politician. Finally, the crowd parted. I strode confidently toward him, put my hand in his, and said “Senator, my friend and I do a Politicide podcast.” Ugh! What heights of stupidity I reached in that idiotic moment!
You see, the word “politicide” is often defined as “the killing of politicians.” So I was basically telling him, “Hey, we have a podcast about killing politicians.” Well, needless to say, we were promptly arrested by his security detail and had to be bailed out by our parents (thanks, Mom). All right, just kidding. But he did give us a strange look as we got our picture with him. My face showed hues of red yet unknown to mankind. How embarrassing! In front of such a powerful and awesome politician!
But you know what? Recently I’ve been embarrassed—yes, utterly ashamed—by something much more grievous. Ashamed by this thing called me. It’s true. I am stupid. Utterly selfish and lustful and lying and lazy and loving myself only and literally vile. Corrupt. Tripping up on my words in front of a Senator is nothing compared to what I’ve done before a holy God Who created me and sent His Son to die for me. What eternal shame!
Psalm 53—I see myself in those words. Sure, I believe there is a God—but I live just like the guy who says there isn’t One. Corrupted. Doing “abominable iniquity.” Turned aside from my Creator to serve the creature. Yet, I claim to believe in the Jesus Who gave His Life-Blood to save me from the consequences of that corruption. Yet sin is my best friend. My addiction.
But you know what? I’m not the only sin-addict. You guys are with me. Every single one. Nobody does good. We’re all in the Corruption Club. Sinners.
I normally try to write uplifting thoughts. Encouragement—stuff to make you “keep calm.” But this Psalm doesn’t seem to do that. And yet it does. Because, by seeing ourselves for who we really are, we can be even more amazed by the God Who looked past that utter corruption to save us. He took on that corruption and let that corroded nail of sin be driven into His hand, piercing the blood vessels that pulsed with love. Love for corrupted creatures.
God’s sitting on His Throne, peering onto this revolving orb, eyes darting here and there. From Australia to Atlanta, Scandinavia to Singapore, South Africa to South Carolina. He’s looking for someone—anyone—who has done good. Who seeks Him fully. Who understands. But alas—there is none. Yet that’s exactly why He sent Himself onto this revolving orb to be the one human not part of the Corruption Club. The only one who could take on that corruption and pay its crushing price. Do you know such a God?
-Matthew W., SC