“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”
You’ve heard it said and perhaps have said it yourself, “It’s for their own good”. Usually, this doesn’t mean that the person in question is getting a large sum of money or have been blessed with an abundance of friends. It means that they are going to suffer in some way and because of this situation, they will learn, grow and be a better person.
The word used in this verse for Goodness is agathosune. It is a Greek word and unique to Biblical literature, found no where in secular literature of the time. It is very closely linked to the Kindness we spoke of yesterday, but instead of meaning that we are good (as we are to be kind), it means that we expect good of others and hold people into account for their lives.
When we are good, we are honest and truthful about how people are acting because it is for their own good. When you call a fellow believer on their foul language and rough humor, this is agathosune. When you stop the church board from spending more money on carpet than they do on missions giving, this is agathosune. When you correct your children when they say hurtful things about others, this is agathosune. This is Goodness. It isn’t sweet or kind but it also doesn’t have to be cruel. It is honest. It is direct. It is led by the Spirit.
Let’s be very clear: I grew up in the church and have witnessed many people (men and women) who think it is their job to “tell it like it is” and rush in at every opportunity to set people straight. This is not agathosune. This is not Goodness. This is being a bossy know-it-all and it is usually intended to provide these people a sense of superiority and cruel, mean-spirited power.
Goodness can be tough love. But it can also be a gentle reminder, an soft urging and a loving guide.
Who needs Goodness in your life today?