“You’re a good person.” I’ve heard those words so many times, and every time I want to scrunch up my eyes and respond with a resounding “Huh???” Goodness has always been so nebulous to me. Even the definition of the word is nebulous. So, what is a concrete person like me to make of the word?
When I think of goodness, I think of God’s goodness:
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17
I think of this verse in Psalm 23:
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6
I experience the goodness of God every single day, but how does that goodness translate to my relationships with others? I don’t see myself as inherently good. I’m just trying to show the world how much Jesus loves me, one moment at a time. I wrestled with this one for a long time. Writing comes easy for me, and yet I’ve spent weeks thinking and praying about this one with nothing. Crickets.
But then I realized I was taking the wrong approach. I had this idea that the fruit of the Spirit meant I had to be good. That’s not it. I’m just here to show others the goodness of God. The best way I can do that is by letting his Spirit show up in my daily life, bearing the fruit we call goodness.
Ok great, now what does that look like? When I asked God that question, He gave me Psalm 27:13
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. NIV
Our Pastor frequently reminds us that we are the salt of the Earth. God sent us here to show his love in such a way that others will come to know Him. Isn’t that all we can do? So what does goodness look like in practical action? When it’s not nebulous but more concrete, it’s those things we do when no one is watching.
It’s allowing someone to go ahead of me in traffic. It’s holding back criticism. It’s feeding a stray dog, picking trash out of the park, helping someone on the street. It’s saying “thank you” at work, or lending an ear when someone is frustrated. It’s understanding that another person’s frustration isn’t personal and sometimes she needs love. It’s doing the dishes or taking out the trash when it isn’t my turn. It’s serving at church and in the community. It’s donating to charity. It’s setting aside pride. It’s giving my time.
Goodness is no one thing, but it’s a pervasive attitude that allows God to shine through us so He may be glorified.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
About the Writer:
Wendy is a wife and mother who works full time in Risk Management. Here at First Dallas she serves in Sunday school, helps coordinate Angel tree, and teaches at Discipleship University. Her greatest joy comes from discovering how following Jesus can greatly impact her daily life and the lives of those she cares about in innumerable, practical ways.