God’s ways are not our ways.
Nowhere is this revealed more than with the good dude.
For nearly 27 years, the Army surrounded me with good dudes.
The Army foments a stark dichotomy. The poorest performers I encountered often left me shaking my head and wondering, “Just where does a guy like this come from?”
The best guys were just that, the best. Amazing men. Patriots. Heroes, truly.
With much affection, I recall the various good dudes I served with. My first Platoon Sergeant set the bar high. My first First Sergeant raised it higher. Various warrant officers set the standard for professional excellence and competence. I worked for some of the most motivated and intelligent officers that you can imagine. Peers of mine will no doubt be general officers soon, deservedly so.
My tenure in specops further elevated the standard.
My first commander in the regiment advised me that, if I didn’t do anything, took no action at all, the men would just go ahead and accomplish the mission, even without me. They knew what to do, far more than me. They were self-motivated, self-starters, driven to perfection. How to lead such men?
Where else could I give a young officer purview over a handful of men and tens of millions of dollars of equipment and dispatch him around the globe to accomplish any number of missions with minimal oversight or guidance? These were all good dudes, committed to the most serious and challenging missions.
I sought to emulate them. Reputation means everything in the community.
“You know such and such?”
“Yep, good dude.”
A pipe-hitter. A trusted agent. A fire-and-forget kind of guy.
I put my life in their hands. They put their lives in mine as we accomplished the nation’s business. These were some of the finest men I’ve had the privilege to know.
I recall with much fondness, the greatest soldier I served alongside.
He was a man of integrity, a man of commitment, a man of honor. He was a good dude. If I still cussed, he’d be a good ****’n dude.
He loved his wife and she loved him. He loved their daughters and they loved him. Apart from the Army, he was the quintessential family man, loving and committed to his family and their well-being. They adored him.
At work, he was the picture of composure, unflappable in any circumstance. This man could make anything happen, accomplish anything, motivate men to accomplish anything. He loved the soldiers and they knew it and they loved him for it.
In the years I knew him, he never once raised his voice in anger, didn’t have to. The men just knew to respond. He always, and I do mean always, did the right thing, no matter how great or how small. Walk past a piece of garbage on the ground? No way. Walk past a soldier not doing the right thing? No way.
He was absolutely committed to the defense of the nation and the care of soldiers. He sacrificed, never asking them to do that which he did not expect of himself. I’d follow this man through the very gates of hell.
He was a good dude.
And to my eternal and undying shame, I never once told this man about the risen Lord Jesus…
…why would I? He’s a good dude, right?
It’s easy with dirtbags. They obviously need Jesus.
The blatantly wicked make it just as easy.
The woman celebrating her umpteenth abortion, exalting in the death of her own children at her own hand— this is obvious wickedness that must be condemned. She obviously needs Jesus.
The man publicly celebrating his sexual perversion, demanding affirmation from everyone else and denouncing any form of disagreement—this is overt evil that must be condemned and confronted. This man definitely needs Jesus.
People living openly sinful lives, unabashedly and unashamedly, rejecting all things good and godly and mocking the things of God—they are clearly children of wrath who need, above all else, the Gospel of the risen Lord Jesus.
Liberal snowflakes who hate guns and America and want to take away your freedom of speech while aborting every baby, transferring all of your money to illegal immigrants, and forcing you to use a public restroom alongside drag queens while safely squirreled away in their college safe space—they need Jesus!
But what about the ‘good’ dude?
The good dude, the good man, the trusted agent—he makes things just a bit tougher.
It’s really very easy.
There are no good dudes.
Both John and Paul remind us that we are either of Christ or we are not, and if we are not of Christ, we are of the world and our father is the Devil. (1 John 5:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:1-3, John 3:19)
Isaiah tells us that our righteousness, our very best, is as a filthy rag in the eyes of the Lord, used menstrual garments at its most literal. (Isaiah 64:6)
Paul teaches us that all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is no one righteous, not a single one. No one seeks after God, no one. (Romans 3)
In short, there are no good dudes.
I don’t know if my friend knew the Lord or not. He never once mentioned God. He never attended church that I knew of. His life bore no fruit of salvation in any way. He could’ve been a ‘closet Christian’ I reckon, as if there were such a thing, but from every outward appearance, he did not know the Lord Jesus.
And I never took it upon myself to introduce him…
…he was just such a good, freak’n dude.
Nothing is Awesome
I resolutely denounce works-based righteousness.
I’ll stand and declare the Gospel with all of its authority, with all of its teeth, that God saves men in spite of themselves and their wickedness. In eternity past, God set His affections on a people, and He is in the business of calling them to Him, and all that the Father has given to the Son, will be saved.
He does this in spite of their sin, in spite of their utter inability to save themselves, that no man may boast. He does this to His own glory.
My friend is a sinner…in need of a savior.
Underneath his righteousness, rather, all of his righteous acts, resides a deeply flawed and sinful heart. He is dead in his sin, bound for eternal destruction. His goodness won’t save him. His deeds won’t save him. The acclaim of men, that he is a good dude, will definitely not save him.
Only the grace of the Lord through the shed blood of Christ on the cross can save him. But how will he believe unless someone is to go and tell him these things?
My failure to witness to my friend reveals a sense of unbelief on my behalf. I know these things to be true. I know what the Bible says about works and righteousness yet…he’s just such a good dude!
God would never stand in judgement over a dude as good as this. Unfortunately I know, in my heart of hearts, this not to be the case. Scripture well affirms that,
Hell is full of good dudes.
Are you yourself a good dude?
Let us vow to never let man’s idea of righteousness trump the universal need of all men, the need for salvation, no matter how ‘good’ they may be. I wonder if I still have my friends phone number…
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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