Week 6: Goodness

Published October 12, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

“Surely Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

Goodness … Goodness … Goooood-nessssss. I did this for about six days, emphasizing the word, going syllable by syllable, as if this would help me discover the meaning of the word and what I’m supposed to do with it this week. I mean, I know what Goodness is, essentially, but how was it any different from the rest? What set it apart that made is so important to be defined in the Fruits of the Spirit, rather than just being lumped in with Kindness or Gentleness?  Then I remembered the dictionary. Oh, yes, that special little book that most of us don’t have a use for these days that’s filled with pages covered in wonderful, magical words and definitions (Warning! Fellow lexophiles like me may experience swooning in the presence of a dictionary or thesaurus). Here is what I found when I did a little digging:

Good-ness

-noun:

-the state or quality of being good

-moral excellence; virtue

-kindly feeling; kindness; generosity

-the best art of anything; essence; strength

-a euphemism for God

Huh. I feel like I could just end this post with the above definition, but I really want to share what stuck out to me the most. The first one I was already aware of, it’s so obvious. But the rest of them … Well, they really caused me to stop and think and try to understand. I thought this week was going to be a bit of a wash out, so to speak; it was just supposed to be about being “Good” and seemed far less important than some of the other Fruits. I really did not expect it to be so impacting. Moral excellence and virtue are the farthest things from my mind when I think of Goodness, yet they’re right at the top. Those are some pretty strong character qualities for such a “weak” word. Proverbs 31 describes a woman’s virtue as being more precious than rubies, something to be praised. Wow. Apparently, there’s quite a bit of stock in virtue, and the fact that Goodness is the essence and “best part of anything” is unbelievable! And are you telling me that Goodness is a display of strength? How many people view Goodness or Kindness as some form of weakness? But it’s the complete opposite! Oftentimes it takes great strength to exhibit Goodness and self-control. I was already gung-ho and all fired up to put some serious effort into practicing Goodness up to this point, and then I read the final part of the definition. It isn’t a word that I would generally think of when describing God—strong, caring, and loving; yes. But it’s been there the whole time, and all of these are wrapped up in that single word: He IS Good, and He said it was Good! This is the only word where it really refers to God in its definition, and the fact that we can be more like Him by exhibiting this quality is incredible.           

I had no expectations for this week and didn’t expect for it to have such an impact on me, so this newfound wisdom was a nice surprise. Sometimes it’s a good thing to be proven wrong.

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