A Fruit a Day…Demonstrating Goodness

Welcome back to our study on the fruits of the Spirit! So far we have covered love, joy, peace, forbearance and kindness. Today, we are going to take a look at the virtue of goodness.

Merriam Webster Definitions and Synonyms of Goodness

  • excellence of morals and behavior
  • character, decency, morality, honesty, integrity, probity, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness

Definition of Goodness from Strong’s Concordance

  • intrinsic goodness, especially as a personal quality, with stress on the kindly (rather than the righteous) side of goodness

Greek word for Goodness and the various shades of meaning

The ancient Greek word for goodness is agathosune It has a similar meaning to the Greek word for kindness (chréstotés) however ‘goodness’ has a more active and driven connotation. Goodness has an assertive sense to it because an individual behaves based on their own personal moral values. They are therefore likely to feel more strongly about a situation that goes against their principles (for example, seeing others experience injustice or suffering) and do something about it.

Interestingly, the Bible also describes goodness as the capacity to correct each other (another inkling into the more assertive aspect of goodness). This makes sense because if I am really looking out for someone, I would want to respectfully warn them if they are heading down a destructive path. The challenge becomes how to help without sounding accusing or self-righteous.

Interesting facts about the Greek words for goodness:

Agatha is a feminine name derived from the Ancient Greek word agathos, meaning ‘good’. It was the name of St. Agatha of Sicily, a third-century Christian martyr.

Favorite Verses on Goodness

  • As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men]…” Galatians 6:10
  • I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are filled with goodness and full of all the knowledge you need to be able to instruct each other.” Romans 15:14
  • A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things…” Matthew 12:35

Final thoughts on Goodness

My initial thought when I consider the word ‘goodness’ is a word describing a moral virtue. Goodness does not mean self-righteousness. It means making a choice that will ultimately benefit someone else. It is being virtuous without ulterior motives. Self-righteousness is by nature self-focused and prideful however goodness looks outwardly and says “how will my decision affect someone else?” Exercising goodness towards someone else can encompass many areas of life. It could be meeting a need (kindness), being true to our word (honesty), standing up for the oppressed or speaking out against discrimination (integrity). Goodness is being selfless and focusing on another person’s situation.

I am guilty of being self-centered and self-righteous at times. But I quickly remember how status didn’t matter to Jesus in the Bible. He often spent time with those who were considered the lowest in society. Conversely, the self-righteous Pharisees, even with all their knowledge and pomp, did not impress Jesus. I am constantly reminding myself that God looks at the heart, not at the exterior. Goodness culminates in a deep desire to look out for those around us without focusing on how this reflects on us. How much I still have yet to learn!
Image courtesy of bheretoday.com
Image courtesy of bheretoday.com
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