When you leave a conversation, dinner, party, or meeting, do the people around you feel more energized and alive or more pessimistic and fatigued? What is the effect you have on other people? Do you talk so much that others never have a chance to express their feelings? Do you always speak negatively so when others are talking to you they start feeling the same negativity? Or do you bring joy to people’s faces? Perhaps, people don’t know the reason, but after they talk to you they feel hope, happiness, and a peace.
Of all the fruits of the Spirit, goodness is the hardest to really define and understand. What does it mean to be good? Some definitions say it means taking on the characteristics of God, but what does this possibly mean? The idea of bringing light into your world is a definition that seems to sum up so much of the word for me. As it states in the Bible, Jesus came to give light to the world.
Being light to your world doesn’t necessarily mean telling people exactly what they want to hear or what will make them initially happy; sometimes it means saying the hard but necessary truths that individuals need to hear. However, bringing light to others is always done for the benefit other. It is setting aside our own pride, interests, and point of view, to listen and share life with another. An old Greek proverb states, “It is not what they profess but what they practice that makes them good”. Nothing could be closer to the truth. Goodness is not a feeling or a way of perceiving our inward life; rather it is an action and a practice which is a reflection of our own inner transformation. As we let more of the goodness of God into our own life, more light is given to those around us, and when we share more light with those around us, we let more of the goodness of God into our lives.