Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Problem with "Being Good"

We grow up being told to "be good" in a lot of ways. In fact, part of a parent's task is to help a child learn good behaviors and unlearn bad ones. Being good is encouraged and rewarded in many ways. As children we get privileges and goodies for being good. As adults we get praises and raises for being good.

New Years resolutions focus on being good. We identify a bad habit or behavior that we need to get rid of so that we can "be good." Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, read more, write more, save more -- the list goes on and on. These are not bad things but they miss the mark.

"Being Good" is good, but not good enough.

"Being good" tends to focus on what we are NOT doing. I'm good because "I don't smoke, I don't chew, I don't go with girls that do." We stay away from bad things -- things that are wrong or hurt ourselves or others -- and that IS a good thing. But it can become a very passive kind of thing. We can be good by not doing anything at all! Where's the good in that?

"Doing good" is better. Doing good means we are actively engaged in positive activities. We look for ways to use our time, energy and resources to meet needs around us. Doing good changes us and our world.

Jesus didn't spend time trying to be good. Instead he focused on DOING good in a world that was and continues to be very needy. And he changed lives and continues to change this world.

Jesus also reminds us that "doing good" is risky. Doing good isn't necessarily rewarded in our world and in fact can draw opposition, as Jesus experienced.

So why should be "do good?" For Jesus' sake.

As we start a new year, let's "be good" AND "do good."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.