Being Good

This weekend is my high school 45th reunion. The last one took place just before our move to Fort Collins and my health crisis. It was good to reconnect with many and to find those who have followed my illness and some who didn’t realize what had happened. There were even a handful of us who had attended elementary school together.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” 3 John 1:11

As a noun “good” is defined as “that which is morally right; righteousness….a benefit or advantage to someone or something.” Goodness is pleasing to God and it benefits others. The theme of the Western Conservative Summit last week was, “Making Goodness Fashionable.”

It is interesting how “good” can be viewed. It certainly isn’t “newsworthy.” In social contexts it can solicit a negative response. Perhaps it is because when good is placed in contrast to “evil” or that which is “wrong” it makes people defensive. The old saying was, “You are just being goody two-shoes”  whatever that meant.

Goodness describes the character of God. In at least three psalms you will find the exclamation, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1; 118:1;107:1) The Lord’s goodness and love are twins. Perhaps that is why John, the “Apostle of love” writes,  “Whoever does good is from God…” 

Evil and goodness continual stand in contrast like stands at a “fork in the road.” John in his short third letter admonishes his friends to choose good over evil. To imitate “good.”

Paul writes to the Romans and says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21 NIV) It is noteworthy to see that evil overcomes a person’s life. It doesn’t add anything of value. That “fork in the road” is downward path. But in contrast “good” overcomes “evil.” It is the antidote, it is that which prevails. We see that carried out in books and movies today. The classic conflict is always “good versus evil.” We all long for good to prevail. I believe that comes from God’s influence in the lives of humanity.

Goodness is not just to characterize our lives, but it is to be put into action. Paul writes to the Galatians and instructs them, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10 NIV) This fits the second part of the definition above. This describes actions that are for the benefit of someone or something. Goodness brings life, it adds value, it is a positive contribution. It makes a difference.

When I lived in Strasburg, Colorado and served on the school board, we had a well-known news anchor give the commencement address. I remember he focused his comments on the theme of “being good” or something like that. At the time I wasn’t that impressed or didn’t remember his speech as being all the memorable. (perhaps due to his obnoxious attitude, speech and behavior in private.)

However, when you think of young adults embarking on life and moving into their future, embracing goodness and doing good will enable them to find greater fulfillment and to make a great contribution to their world than allowing their lives to be “overcome” by evil.

When Peter preached to Gentiles about Jesus he said, “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and…he went around doing good…” (Acts 10:38 NIV)  Those who bear the Lord’s image and those who follow Christ and have been changed by His Spirit should reflect His goodness.

Prayer for today….. Lord help us to embrace that which is good. Not because it makes us “better than” others, but because it reflects Your character that is to characterize our lives as well.