In the list of Fruits of the Spirit, goodness is the one that is giving me the most trouble. Every time I try to define it, I realize I’m instead defining one of the other fruits. I should probably look in the Bible and see what help it can offer.
“…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge…” 2 Peter 1:5 (NIV)
“Good” seems so relative. What tastes good, what smells good, what looks good, what’s considered good behavior. All of this is opinion-based.
According to 2 Peter, goodness is part of a sequence of events, as evidence of spiritual growth. Faith, then goodness, then knowledge. Peter goes on to add self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and finally love. “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 1:8. We should always be growing, and in our growth we cannot skip goodness.
A study of “goodness” brought about three means by which it can measured: if it meets an expectation, if it is beneficial, and if it is moral.
Do I measure up as a mom? Do I meet the expectations of God, and my family? (Note: I do not need to meet the expectations of anyone else.) Am I beneficial to my family? Do I make moral decisions regarding my family?
I certainly want the answer to be yes to all three of these questions, but of course that just isn’t true. At least not all of the time. Hopefully I can slowly make improvements, one day at a time.