Who determines good and bad? In people? In actions? What goes in each proverbial box?
The Good Box
Goodness is widely defined as the state or quality of being good. In relation to humans, it involves right behavior and avoiding evil.* And if we dig further, the noun for good has two meanings:
“That which is morally right; righteousness.”
“Benefit or advantage to someone or something.”**
But who decides what’s morally right? So how do we determine what’s beneficial? We loosely use the terms with multiple interpretations.
And while all people everywhere don’t always agree on the specifics, common threads exist.
Throughout childhood, experiences and people colored my viewpoint.
Karen, I’m disappointed in you…bad girl.
You’re being such a good girl.
Good behavior brought rewards, but bad behavior caused imminent punishment.
If you’re good, we’ll go to the toy store.
Because you were bad, no candy for you.
We attach labels to people in the same way.
He hurt that lady. He’s a bad man.
She volunteered at the soup kitchen. She’s such a good person.
Also, TV shows and the media contribute to our belief system. And we form our own set of standards.
How We Size Up
All of these memories, beliefs, personal standards, media inputs, and thought patterns we’ve placed in the boxes shape our assessment of what’s good and bad. It’s how we size people up. How we size up ourselves. When it’s internalized, an old-fashioned tongue lashing takes place.
I’m not a good mother.
I’m a sorry, horrible excuse for a friend.
I keep messing up. I’m just a bad person.
Clearly, we can’t figure out goodness solely on our own. If we’re teaching our kids about goodness and wholesome values, where do we find the source of wisdom? Perhaps we should go back to where good debuted.
The first reference takes place at the onset of existence. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 ESV). The land, the sea, the sky with sun, moon and stars, plant life, and all living creatures God created. After each work of God’s hands, He declared an important truth. “And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:10, 18, 25 ESV).
Then God fashioned His best handiwork yet. He created male and female in His likeness. Scripture punctuates the Lord’s satisfaction. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 ESV). Everything in the world, each detail deemed good by our Maker. But not just satisfactory…very good.
The Best Part
So, the source of good lies in God’s hands. As Creator, He’s the CEO of the world. And whoever’s in charge, makes the decision on what’s good and what’s bad. Better still, throughout Scripture goodness describes God’s character.
- “You in Your lovingkindness and goodness have led the people whom You have redeemed; In Your strength You have guided them with care to Your holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13 AMP).
- “Find out for yourself how good the Lord is. Happy are those who find safety with him” (Psalm 107:1 GNT).
- “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” (Psalm 27:13 ESV).
- “I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:14 ESV).
- “If in fact you have [already] tasted the goodness and gracious kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:3 AMP).
Now, consider this definition of goodness. “The best part of anything.”***
God is the best part of anything. He’s the best part of everything.God is the best part of me. #blog Click To Tweet
The things I deem good in life wane by comparison to the goodness of God. No thing or living creature occupies the slot of “best” when it comes to goodness. Only the God of the universe fits the description.
God’s goodness doesn’t fit in our proverbial good box. Even if we could stuff it there and manage to squeeze on the lid, it would burst open the seams, breaking the box into smithereens.
God can’t be placed in a box.
God is Goodness.
Goodness is God.
© 2016 by Karen Friday, All rights reserved
Images courtesy of Adobe Spark
November 10, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Uncategorized