Stuck in a drive-thru in Central California I had the following thought: what if our goodness is blocking our way to JESUS? Now by goodness I mean our delusional belief that we are good. CHRIST stated emphatically that there is only one good Being and that is GOD the FATHER (Matthew 17:19). Now that JESUS has worked out His infinite atonement, He is without question good by any definition of that word. (He was good before that, but He was either being stupendously humble in his answer to the rich young ruler, or He was being ironic and seeing if people understood the fact that He was also a GOD).
We all know that everyone sins, but some people fall into the "I sin less than most people, which really means I am righteous." Being less sinful does not makes us good by CHRIST's standard. Ten sins, one hundred, or a thousand, any sin is an automatic ticket to Hell. So because sin is unavoidable, maybe we should focus on something that we can control: our self-deception. Does only breaking five or ten or twenty percent of the commandments prevent us from seeking JESUS because we are not breaking most of them (Ether 12:41)?
We work so hard at avoiding sin, that when we are sometimes successful, we start believing in a form of self-atonement. By supposedly perfecting ourselves, we are in jeopardy of ending up in Hell. The pharisees of the SAVIOR's time felt they were righteous and wondered why CHRIST was spending all his time with sinners. JESUS kept answering their hypocritical questions with parables that were meant to say,
"All of you are sinners, but I am here to save you, if you will let me."
Did the haughty Jewish leaders at the time think CHRIST's statement about only the sick needing a doctor meant that He agreed with them (Mark 2:17)?
It is tempting to look at scripture and think "what a bunch of knuckleheads", but we can be just as ignorant. Today we take counsel about health and turn it into a commandment to distinguish the righteous from the sinners. Then we take this man-made commandment and add things to it to make it an even more ridiculous standard of worthiness. We do this with any rule, policy or standard. For example...
If Sister Lewis does not drink caffeinated drinks, then she must be more worthy than her second cousin who does.
If I avoid R-rated movies, then I am clearly better than people who do not.
If a woman has only one piercing, than she is more glorious than those with multiple piercings.
If a twelve year old wears a white shirt and tie and a jacket, he is worthier to pass the sacrament than the poor kid without the "Mr. Mac Aaronic priesthood package". (There is no package, because I know the owner's youngest son. He is great person and so is his father.)
If Brother Wilkinson pays ten percent of his gross income, instead of his net, he will certainly jump to the head of the line leading to Celestial glory.
If I went on a mission, I am better than any adult male in the ward who has not.
Sister Fertig is clearly righteous than other women because she has 7 kids.
There are dozens of other examples, but the point is this: all of these random acts of righteousness are keeping us from realizing what the spiritually retarded Pharisees should have realized:
We are all sick, and so we all need the Great Physician.
We are all sinners and we all desperately need the SAVIOR.
Do not let all of your good works and righteousness get in the way of having a relationship with GOD.