Definition of "GOOD"- that which is morally right; righteousness.
I was walking into Target the other day with all three of my children. (If you are a parent of little ones-it will happen sooner than you think.) These three kids are so different. The way they look at life, the way they dress, and the way they behave, reflect this daily. They were negotiating (I'm being kind in my description) with me about how good they were so they deserved this, that and the other thing inside. Let me just say this and it won't sound 'good' or kind: I know I should appreciate these moments but to be honest going to Target with three kids is a form of torture I don't enjoy MUCH AT ALL. Whew- at least I'm honest about it.
Anyway my oldest son said something to the effect "Mom, we're good kids. We love Jesus. We don't do drugs and we don't do other bad stuff that kids our age do. Don't you think we deserve something?" (He wasn't trying to manipulate me-had one of the others said it-probably- this is just how he thinks.)
My response in my head "Thank you Lord that they are good kids."
My response out loud "I'm not going to buy you anything for doing what you should do. You will not get things because you are doing what is expected. That's your job."
He got me thinking. (Not about buying him video games as he wished.)
Don't get me wrong, our kids are handsomly rewarded ALL THE TIME, for just being themselves but his statement made me wonder: What is good? Is 'Good' different for each kid? For each person? He just named things that they all were and weren't doing that in his head (and mine, actually) made him good but would this be someone else's good? I'm not pretending that I'm some crazy philospher all of a sudden but I'm constantly checking my own actions with my core beliefs.
Quite a few years ago I voiced this question/thought to someone I really respect. She was of authority and had the right to speak to me on how being good wasn't necessarily what we were called to do. In the context in which we were speaking-discussing salvation-she was absolutely right. Although she meant this principal to set me free in my own life- she messed me up. I wasn't ready for it at the time. Just as people who make unorthodox choices need comfort in knowing that they are ok, so do those that make orthodox choices. Society has given way to making wrong right and right wrong... maybe neither are right or wrong- I'll loosely give you that- but you can't call my right wrong and your right right if nothing is right and nothing is wrong. I just managed to confuse you and me.
To the core of me I want to do right and I have misguidedly held those around me to those same standards. MY STANDARDS. I have often used the phrase "I don't expect anything from you that I don't require of me." My poor kids. My mom is secretly cringing-I got my nose pierced-because I gave up thinking I was good if I didn't a year ago- so that makes it ok for my daughter-uh oh. Question- does the fact that I used to think it was NOT 'good' for my kids to see me with a nose ring (Hoodlum- I just dated myself) but now I do make getting a nose ring good or bad?
The reason I find myself thinking about the idea of 'being good' so much is because in my tight little suburb (ish) Christian environment I have felt that 'not being good' or not 'doing right' is excused under the guise that Jesus died for our sins. We are all sinners- I get it. Without getting into a theological argument- I'll lose anyway- I affirm that Jesus died for our sins. ABSOLUTELY. I also know that if you know JESUS then he changes your heart and doing good and being good becomes your mission because you want to GLORIFY HIM. BUT....WHAT IS GOOD?
There are some definite BAD things...Killing, stealing, abusing and the list goes on. Those are all OBVIOUS BAD things. What is good? I believe loving, helping, nurturing, giving, glorifying, listening and learning are all GOOD things. Those are my good things.
I go back to the nose ring. Is it good or bad? I think it's good- for me. You may not agree with them- for you. Do you see what I'm saying? What about tattoo's? I know many people personally that if they see somone with a sleeve (I'm cool because I know the lingo right?) they immediately judge them as a druggie or looser. They are bad in some minds. One of the kindest people I've ever met has a huge tatoo of her grandma on her shoulder. She is no druggie or looser. She is pure GOODNESS. Do you see how our minds create good and bad based on beliefs that aren't even anchored in TRUTH.
I've lived my whole life believing in concrete things- things that I belive are GOOD. I have also spent my life believing in simple things-that I believe are GOOD. (I would put a nose ring and tattoo in the category of simple things.) Truthfully for much of my life I believed that if the proverbial our 'GOODS' weren't the same then your 'GOOD' was BAD. I'm sorry for that. My good and your good look different. I'm sure of it. In my circles we talk about 'gifts.' My husband and I have been told that one of our 'gifts' is giving, but our friends 'gift' is not giving. Does that make us "GOOD" but not him? I don't think so. His GOOD is so different than ours but so perfect to who he was created to be.
As their mother I see profound differences in my three kids but I see them all as GOOD. Each one feels different things and expresses themselves to others so differently. As community, as friends, as family, and as people we must all recognize that we are all doing the best we can do most of the time- and that is GOOD. My Authorative Friend didn't set me free all those years back because I was imposing my expectations on what being GOOD was- based on my beliefs- on every relationship that I had. MY GOOD was the only GOOD- in my mind. I have matured (I hope) in my thinking enough to KNOW that I still do believe in my GOOD but that doesn't make your good bad. Our beliefs are just different.
Going back to my kids (because in my world everything goes back to my babies) they are all going make some bad choices. It's a given. They are going to be different from one another. They are going to do things that I don't believe are good. I did, do and will. The thing is that if it's good it's not hurting anyone else. Even though the definition states "that which is morally right,"-everyones definition and determination of 'right' is different. My dad can not figure out why I put a hole in my perfectly good nose (he doesn't think it's right)- or why my hair is short- but he still loves me. GRACE. Even when they don't make the wise choices that I wish they would, I see the good in my children. At the end of the day we must all show each other love, respect, grace and forgiveness for our shortcomings because I really believe that we are all working on our own good-even if it's not the good that we believe in our core-we can still open our eyes and hearts to HIS people. This must start with me and my trips to target with my crazies. OH HEAVEN HELP ME BE GOOD.