Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Goodness is such a vague but profound word. It sounds so simple yet the intricacies of its meaning go beyond its very definition.
The word ‘good’ is used so often in our daily lives that it almost seems like any other word that we say 'off the cuff' - yet to be good and to show goodness in a world that often pushes our characters to the limit can be so challenging.
By definition, Goodness is being holy and virtuous through your words and actions without a need for acknowledgement or reward.
The purest example of goodness is the life of Jesus. He died on the cross for the sins of humanity in order to give us the gift of eternal life. He did this out of the goodness of his heart, never with a complaint or a bad word to say. He selflessly gave his life for a world, that in some cases, rejected or didn't believe in him and he did this without expecting anything in return.
The act of goodness shown by Jesus often leaves me speechless, particularly because I don't think I would give my life for another human being, let alone do it without expecting something in return, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
We are called to mirror God's goodness but the truth is, this is often difficult because as human's, we battle with multiple insecurities - the inner battle within ourselves about what it means to be 'good', 'to do the right thing', to be 'moral and virtuous' when it's easier to be rebellious 'to cheat' and bend the rules if it means it benefits us.
It’s easy to be selfish and do what’s best for ourselves. Yet, being genuinely good is to consider others in your decisions and how your actions will affect the people around you. To be of good character is to understand that sometimes what’s good for you may not always be the best for others but you are able to exclusively and unreservedly consider how your character plays a role in any given situation.
Goodness is being pure in heart
Goodness can often be seen in our actions, but our heart also has to be pure. 1 Samuel 16:7 says: “The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Always consider, are you doing something out of the goodness of your heart or because you are expecting something in return and if so, is it worth doing it for the reasons you are doing it?
In our daily walk, our greatest challenge should be to live as Psalm 23:6 says, 'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.'
Showing goodness is as diverse and open as you want it to be
In a world filled with strife, hatred, heartbreak and pain, we might think of 'goodness' as merely an uplifting phrase, but through its perspective we can discover a positively different way of seeing and being: one whose aim is to transform the world we live in.
The ways you can show goodness are as diverse and creative as your imagination can possibly allow, but it all boils down to how you want to showcase that goodness and how you can effect change.
Goodness is going out of your way to fulfil the needs of others. It's being able to confront your own prejudices and being able to confront another's sin with love and compassion rather than negatively.
Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God calls us to be filled with goodness from the inside out, considering what we say, how we say it and how it will impact another person's life - good or bad, without necessarily compromising who you are. We are not just called to do good works, we are called to do good works with a good heart because doing good works without a good heart is empty.
When we act out of true goodness of the heart and reflect the fruit of the Spirit, we are in many ways being obedient to God’s commandments and seek the benefit of others and not ourselves.
Our actions should come from a place of selflessness, a place where we are willing to embrace, understand and love others despite our differences, despite our insecurities and despite ourselves.
Be the reason someone believes in goodness.
Goodness is not about doing elaborate things to gain recognition, it is simple, inexpensive acts of goodness we do throughout our day or week that mean the most to those around us.
As we approach Christmas week, I challenge you all to do one of the acts of goodness below, especially as we approach a very different kind of holiday season. Be the reason someone believes in goodness again this year.
Five point challenge
Send flowers to someone special
Call and check on someone who is sick
Tuck happy notes in parked cars
Leave a positive comment on a website or blog to let people know they’ve helped you
Write a letter or email to someone who made a difference in your life.