Day 7: Goodness
Really embarrassing confession here: I never liked the ‘good boys’ when I was younger. I mistook ‘good’ to mean dull, safe, weak, and not for me. Therefore I considered the (really good) guys in my church youth group unappealing. (I’m sorry, Joey and Brad and Russell and all the rest of you—it wasn’t you. It was me.) I think I was too chicken to actually be a rebel, so I tried to date them instead.
Bad juju, girls. Bad juju.
It’s a long story how I ended up with my salutatorian, electrical engineer, Naval officer husband, who is one of the finest, most upright, and honorable men anyone could ask for. In other words, not remotely my single self’s type. I woke up the day after our wedding, looked over, and thought, “How in the world did I end up with you?!?”
I’ve learned a lot from Hubs about what “good” actually means, though. Good encompasses:
Integrity, having all the aspects of one’s self in unity; lacking hypocrisy;
Honesty, the capacity to tell the truth whether it’s in your favor or not;
Humility, having both a healthy fear of God and an other-centered perspective;
and Wisdom, the ability to discern truth and act rightly upon it.
Were I fully good (which none of us on earth are) forgiveness of others would probably be a moot matter. First, no one would ever be able to take issue with me, because I’d never do anything wrong. And if someone did wrongly accuse me of wrongdoing, it wouldn’t bother me in the least, because I’d know my character was unimpeachable. The problem would always be on the other side of the fence.
I wonder… if I spent more time trying to cultivate good character in myself would I be less preoccupied with poor character in others?
* * *
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good except God alone.” – Romans 3:10*
(*Note: Jesus was not suggesting here that he is not God; quite the opposite, he was using the questioner’s own words to illustrate that Jesus is, in fact, God.)
* * *
God, I need to know more about goodness—both about your goodness, and about how to grow more goodness in myself. Show me what’s good in me—those things that you’ve put inside me and that you are cultivating for your purposes—as well as the things in me that are not good, but that I allow to remain because I like them anyway. Help me to turn my focus away from what’s wrong with others, and be more concerned about what’s wrong with me.
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With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Amazon.com. Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.