Are People Good or Bad?

A Guest Post by Jim Minton

announcer“Could I have your attention, please, for a special announcement? I have decided NOT to present an F3 series teaching you about sin. Evaluation tells us that you are already quite good at that. Too many people considered themselves experts and wanted to lead the ‘How to be Selfish’ class.”

I hope my attempt at humor has made you think. So, are people good or are they bad? In Romans 7, Paul talks about his battle with sin. He is not talking about when he was Saul and persecuting Christians; in this chapter, he is writing about sin after he has been saved by grace. Yet, he still suffers with his sinful nature. In verse 15, Paul laments, “…I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

A sinful nature is something that we are born with. We don’t have to teach our kids and spouses how to sin – we all come by that naturally. In Galatians 5:17, Paul writes, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

We WILL be hosting a variety of great F3: Family-Faith-Formation classes that provide you with an opportunity to engage in life transformation, like working through the struggle of sin. I will be hosting a class titled You Don’t Have to Teach People How to Sin. In a fun and informative video format, we will discuss 13 principles that I have used to shape my own thinking and the thinking of my children.

Some people would like you to believe that people are basically good. They say things like, “You don’t need religion to be a good person.” But if parents just sit back and expect their kids to turn out to be good without receiving any direction, what is most likely to happen? (Wives, doesn’t this sometimes apply to husbands, too?)

baby-fistBabies are incredibly lovable, however, it doesn’t take long before they become very demanding. If you don’t meet their needs, they are going to let you know about it. We all have heard of the “terrible twos.” As a general rule, if kids aren’t taught differently, most will end up with an “I want, I want, I want” attitude, followed by a good dose of “what’s in it for me?” During Baptisms, Pastor Wray Offermann often made it a point to say, “You don’t have to teach this kid how to sin; they come by that naturally. What you have to do is to teach them to be Christ-like.”

Husbands are mostly lovable. But often it doesn’t take long after the wedding before they start drifting back to their bachelor thinking. I saw an interesting analogy on, where Josh Hunt is quoting John Courson’s application commentary. (Actually, I think he was talking about all people, not just husbands.) “Here is how you differentiate between a pig and a prodigal, between an unbeliever and a carnal Christian [a Christian who still struggles with human desires]: take the pig out of a pigpen, wash him in bubble bath, spray him with cologne, put a ribbon in his hair, a bow on his tail, and watch what happens the first time he sees some mud. The pig will wallow in it with joy. The prodigal, on the other hand, although he might foolishly find himself in the mud from time to time, will not be comfortable there. Eventually, he’ll come to his senses and say, ‘Get me out of here. I hate this stuff.’”

The 13 principles I will cover in this class are designed to shape the mindset of your spouse and kids to help them develop a WORD-view, instead of a world-view. Topics include:

  • Life isn’t fair! Be a good winner.
  • Life isn’t fair! Be a good loser.
  • Don’t be a victim.
  • Serve rather than deserve
  • Respect authority

The 13th principle will focus on the fact that Christians aren’t perfect, we are just forgiven.

praying-family_SII am sure you would find benefit from all of the 13 principles, but each class is designed as a stand-alone presentation. If you cannot commit to every week, you are free to attend when you are able. However, if you really want the gift of a better spouse and kids by Christmas, you should commit to attending the whole session.

If Wednesday nights don’t work for you, we invite you to contact the Church Office if you’d like to connect and learn more about this class and others offered at SPL.

So, DIG IN along with me – the first class is on Wednesday, September 13 at 6:30pm. Dinner is offered in the Dining Room at 5:30 pm, and the class will run to 7:30 pm. Click HERE to register today.

Additionally, if you want to engage in some deeper conversation about some of life’s big questions (such as “Why Do People Do Bad Things?”) you’ll want to gather with us at SPL (or one of the other participating churches) for the upcoming TELL ME MORE series, beginning September 9/10. There is also an accompanying book study for this series – you and a group can participate by contacting Pastor Mark Gearig to receive materials. Learn more at

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