When I ask friends what it means to be a Christian, they sometimes roll their eyes. Press the point and out it comes, “being good.” Given that Jesus comes for sinners, this misses the point. But there’s another problem. “Being good” sounds, well, really bad. Painful. Or worthy, but dull.
Goodness sounds like Butlins with the in-laws instead of Vegas with your mates. Socks and sandals instead of fish-net tights. Herbal teas and hold the sugar. But here’s the truth…
If you want a good time, forget philanders, love-rats, rascals and ruffians. Goodness is where the party’s at. Don’t buy the lies. Virtue is the opposite of boring. It’s joyful and exuberant and addictive. It shows up evil as it really is – a parasite, feeding off the real thing and trying to make itself interesting.
Goodness is not the same as morality. It’s not about doing nice things because you feel you ought to, or slapping the kibosh on fun. It’s not about serving with a slightly pained expression and the tiniest of sighs. Goodness means basking in Gods love. Loving boldly. Pouring yourself out in joyful abandon. Celebrating what’s most powerful and most true – gentleness, kindness, patience, peace.
Evil looks strong, but behind the bluster it’s running scared. Think of the bully who’s hides behind violence. The big man covering up his own inadequacies. The gossip who has nothing else to say. These are not the actions of a victor. They’re fuelled by anger and fear and need. They’re the cries of a loser, whose time is short.
Evil shouts, then burns itself out. Goodness whispers, but endures to the end.
Evil is sand. Goodness is a pearl.
Evil grabs headlines. It’s bloody and brutal, insidious and subtle. It spreads like a virus and consumes all it sees. But goodness also spreads and it cannot be overcome. It’s a glass of water, a soft word, a gentle touch. It’s sharper than the sword, stronger than the axe, brighter than the flame.
If you’re seeking mystery, beauty and strength, don’t look to the murderer. Look at the victim who forgives.
Bad is banal; ten a penny. Goodness is what grips.