Addendum to Controversial Tuesday: I’m Okay, You’re Okay . . .

5 Dec

Back in the 1970’s there was a popular self-help book out that used very simple language to get us all to say that we were okay and so was everybody else.  “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” was everyone’s mantra for a while.

When dealing with the topic of total depravity, this little book from the ’70’s can help me write a useful outline.  There are four responses we can make about total depravity or “not okay-ness.”

As the book writer, Thomas A. Harris, MD, put it back then, we can say:

1) I’m okay, you’re okay (for us, that would be “neither one of us is totally depraved”)

2) I’m okay, you’re not okay (that would be “I’m not totally depraved, but you are.”  That would also be the height of  arrogance!)

3) I’m not okay, you’re okay (that would be “I am totally depraved, but you are not.”  While that initially looks like a truly humble statement, it is actually a statement of inverted pride.  Humble people don’t call attention to themselves, even negative attention.  The people who are constantly telling us how they are losers compared to everyone else are still disobeying God’s command to not compare themselves with others.  And, frankly, their statements are prideful, just in a different way).

4) I’m not okay, you’re not okay (that would be “both of us are totally depraved.”  And, while the writer of the 1970’s book would be sad to hear me say it, this is where I think our default position lies.  Even after we are saved, we must be aware that all of our righteousness is imputed to us in Christ.  So there is no reason to be proud of ourselves.  We can be justifiably proud of Him!!!).

Just wanted to clarify that.  I was reading today how sometimes people will misunderstand the term “total depravity” when applied to Christians and think that it means there is no difference in behavior, values, goals, etc. between a Christian and a non-Christian.

There is a huge difference.  Even the fact that we can see ourselves as totally depraved sinners is a realization that comes from the Holy Spirit.  I can guarantee you that non-Christians don’t see that part of themselves accurately.  It is a fallen world.  So much easier to blame everything bad that happens on someone else.

And, as I said in my post on total depravity, the best news of all is that Jesus came to save sinners and that, when we realize our total need of Him, we can reach out in prayer and invite Him into our needful places!  That is far beyond being okay!  That is glory!


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