Sometimes I feel like a 3-year old.
From time to time I find myself a bit distressed at all the mess I’ve created through stupidity, imperfection, and even occasional unrighteous intent. How can I clean up my mess? Even when I try I seem to make more of it along the way.
At such times I like to remind myself that God choses to refer to himself as our Father. Since I’ve never met a human that seems particularly close to being like God, I assume that means we are little more than infants in His eyes. And then I have an image of myself as a toddler “helping” my parents. I see, in my minds’ eye, both smiles on their faces and them following after me, actually cleaning up where I have been.
A good child is one who acts on good intentions. Sure, they leave a mess behind them wherever they go. The parents will have to clean that up for good and bad children alike. So with you and I: we can almost never actually undo our wrongs; fortunately, Christs atonement will come along behind us to tidy up.
Satan likes to mess with us as much as he can, and one way he does this is by trying to turn a productive recognition of imperfections into a debilitating sense of being hopelessly evil and damned. He wants us to spend out time fretting over the fact that we tracked in some mud and we aren’t spiritually mature enough to clean it up without spilling dirty mop water all over the carpet.
When looking at my imperfections I try to ask “what good can I do?” rather than “what bad have I done?” Often that good includes “helping” God clean up my mess, but just as often it seems to be to recognize that it’s about as tidy as I’m likely to make it and to move on with other attempts at doing good.
As the hymn reminds us, the questions is “Have I done any good?”, not “have I done any bad?”. We’re just spiritual toddlers; of course we’ve done bad. The goal is to develop a habit of attempting to do good things; the ability to achieve what we attempt will come later.