Don’t we all want to be good people? Isn’t that the goal of a Christian - to be a good person? Or to at minimum be a better person? Well, first we must examine what it means to, biblically speaking, be a good person.
What if I told you there was no such thing as a good person? That is in fact what I am telling you. There is a distinction between being a good person vs. being a better person. No one is quote on quote a "good person". Yep, I said it. No one. Not Mother Teresa, not Martin Luther King Jr., not the sweet little old lady at the grocery store who smiles and will talk to you for hours about little to nothing.
My anti-sugar coating husband was the first person to make me realize that most people, myself included, tend to believe that we are good people. We may have good intentions and perform good works, but we are not inherently good. That’s tough to hear but there’s scripture to back it up. Romans 3:10-12 (KJV) reads:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
As you can see it says in the scripture " as it is written". The same synopsis can be found in the Old Testament, specifically Psalm 14. For this to be said in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, there is an emphasis on the reality that we are not good. I hate to harp on how good you are not ... but check out the next scripture:
Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
There is more scriptural references that can be pulled to add to the plate of humble pie that I am serving you, but I think you get the point. We are sinners and fall daily. Thus, we are not good. HOWEVER, we can be better.
Galatians 5 lists a few traits that people who are attempting to be better should have. A few of the characteristics include love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, and goodness. See there? Goodness. We may not be good, but we can possess the attribute of being good. You may think that this sounds contradictory - like jumbo shrimp. Yet, it is not. In fact, we are the walking contradictions. As stated earlier, we are not good because we are sinners. We are sinners because by nature our flesh contradicts our spirit.
Galatians 5:17 (KJV) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Our flesh prohibits us from being good but our spirit can possess the quality of goodness. It’s similar to that old devil and angel on your shoulders concept. You can’t possibly be completely good if you have a devil sitting on your shoulders talking in your ear. But you can be better by leaning towards the angel, which represents the spirit. We must be spiritually led. We must walk in the spirit and follow the example of Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
To be better is to follow Christ. To be better is to heed to the Word of God. To be better is to love one another as we love ourselves.
So, don’t be good. You can’t be it anyway. Be better.