I think one of the most common words used in our culture, is the word good. It’s used to wish others a good morning, afternoon, evening, day, or time. We use it to describe good behaviors, feelings, movies, books, products, pets, and people. We teach our children right from wrong by using the terms good and bad.
But, what is goodness? Webster has a brilliant definition that basically tells you nothing saying, ‘The quality or state of being good’. Now, that is not helpful…
To get a better idea of what goodness is, you need to look at the synonyms (words with a similar meaning): character, decency, honesty, integrity, morality, rectitude, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, and virtuousness. Or, one could look at what goodness isn’t: badness, evil, evildoing, immorality, iniquity, sin, villainy, wickedness
The ability to recognize goodness in the world around us has been built into our DNA by our Maker. It’s something we naturally can see no matter what culture we live in. Even though it’s easily identified, it’s not something as common as it used to be to the point that I find myself surprised when I see a random act of goodness.
Throughout my life, I’ve met many people whose lives exuded goodness. They were the ones who were always polite, never spoke bad about another person behind their back, were always willing to help, even when they weren’t asked, and were the first ones to smile and ask how I was doing first. In a nutshell, they were the people I’ve found to be the most selfless.
The truth is, we’re all fallen and goodness, even though we can recognize it, isn’t something that comes naturally. That’s because it’s not only a learned behavior, it’s a product of a heart within. We can all look back and see times when goodness probably wouldn’t be the word to describe our behavior. I know I can.
At ORU, Oral would say, ‘God is a good god and the devil is a bad devil…’ He was right, too. God is good. He wants what’s best for us. His plans for us are for the ‘good’ and not the bad. It’s when we lose sight of Him in our lives that goodness fades and the opposite behaviors become more prominent.
I like to think of my heart as a reflector. It not only reflects the behaviors and attitudes of those around me, it reflects God’s grace within me as well. And, that grace within will reflect out of my heart to those around me and be recognized as goodness.
Goodness alone, as ‘good’ as it is, won’t earn me a seat at that heavenly table, though. When you think about it, if goodness is a biproduct of my heart within, then it’s my heart within that will determine my final sitting place. Ultimately, He will look at my heart and whether I chose to believe in His son through faith. Whether I gave Him back the life He gave me.
Tonight, I’m taking inventory of my heart whether I can see the goodness that comes from an inward grace. To be honest, I don’t always see goodness as my first response to life’s situations. Granted, it’s a process for all of us in this life, but my desire is for His goodness to show to all those around me wherever I am because that is a reflection of Him.
I don’t believe God is sitting around heaven waiting for us to do something wrong, or act badly, so He can whack us a ‘good one’. No, like any good father, He is proud of us when we do good and loves us the same when we don’t. His goodness is what we need in our hearts and that goodness will show through to all those around us. He can, and will, fill us with His goodness the more we give ourselves over to Him. He wants to. He longs to because He is a good, good, Father…
Amen and 'goodnight' my friends,
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