“Good job!” Good boy!” “You were so good today.” “She is a good person”. Goodness is shown by actions. We know when we see a good behavior, a good word, a good response. But how do we know what is good? Some people call evil good, others say good is evil.
In September, a 19 year old employee at a Dairy Queen saw evil but decided to respond with good. A blind man in line had dropped a $20 bill. A woman behind him picked up the $20 and put it in her pocket. Seeing her actions, the employee told her to give the money back to the blind man, but she refused, cursed and walked out. She didn’t see her actions as evil. In fact through her selfishness she thought she was doing good – for herself. She got a free $20 bill at the expense of a blind man’s lack of sight to see it fall.
The employee went to the blind man, sat down, apologized for the woman’s actions, and gave him $20 from his own pocket. Thankfully, the good he did influenced someone else to do good and write a letter to Dairy Queen praising his actions. Then another employee posted the letter on Facebook where others saw it and it became national news.
We see more and more evil around us every day, and many of us don’t even do anything about it. When we close our eyes to evil and ignore it, we are not doing good. Good calls out evil. Good takes action. The only way we can overcome evil is by replacing it with good.
This confusion about what is good and what is evil became a problem with the Israelites and Isaiah the prophet warned them. He said, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter!…That is why the Lord’s anger burns against his people,” (Isaiah 5: 20,25)
When a culture becomes selfish and cannot see the difference between what is good and what is evil, that culture will soon die from within. We in our culture are becoming confused. We can’t tell when something is right or wrong, when something is good or evil.
Just two generations ago these actions would be considered evil by most people in our country: divorce, pornography, cheating in business, homosexual marriage, laziness in providing for your family, abortion, supporting immoral and violent movies, and hatred against Christians. Yet to many they are now called good and acceptable.
Jesus taught, “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit… A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.” (Luke 6:33)
Those who abide in Jesus, the Vine, can’t help but produce goodness. The goodness they produce in their lives come from the good that Jesus puts in their hearts as they follow Him and desire to obey Him. Jesus encouraged His followers, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Goodness will always do what is right and then evil will have to flee. As Paul wrote, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
Is my goodness showing in my decisions? Am I making good choices because it is the right thing to do? Like the employee at Dairy Queen, will you make a good decision this week for the good of someone else? Will you and I stand up for good?
“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” 3 John 1:11
“Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Romans 12:9
“The supreme test of goodness is not in the greater but in the smaller incidents of our character and practice.” F.B Meyer
“Of all virtues and dignities of the mind, goodness is the greatest, being the character of the Deity; and without it, man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing.” Frances Bacon