Dr. David Jeremiah tells about a film critic who said, “Some movies so bad, they’re good.” Like the 1959 science fiction movie Plan 9 from Outer Space. It is considered the worst film ever made…yet it has a cult following.
As our cultural values are changing so quickly, our world has a hard time distinguishing good from bad. Virtues once prized are now scorned, and behavior once condemned is now celebrated. Isaiah experienced a similar society when he wrote, “Woe to those who call good evil and evil good.” (Is 5:20).
Social scientists are attempting to redefine human goodness, but don’t seem able to break from traditional values as a starting point. The question, “What does it mean to be good?” illicit the same old opinions: “Be kind, fair and just. It is bad to cheat, steal and murder.” Secular research states and evidence suggests we’re all born with some innate sense of morality.
In this post-modern age of relative values, this is a fascinating admission. Even the non-religious people instinctively know there is a moral standard in the universe. “Being a better person” has topped the perennial favorite “losing weight” for New Year’s Resolutions.
Christians are not surprised that there is inherently within us a desire to be good, because we are made in the image of a God–who is good. Psalm 34:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Or as Jesus corrected the rich young ruler, “No one is good, but God alone.”
Goodness refers to God’s excellence and His attitude of benevolent grace toward all. Matthew 7:11 describes God’s inclination to show His goodness to us: “… how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him.” It is His delight to do good for all who are His, and even the unjust. Goodness is His very nature.
It has been suggested the Prodigal Son story is actually mis-titled. The word prodigal literally means lavish, unrestrained, uninhibited—almost wasteful in its giving. Which is an accurate description of the grace and mercy the Father extended to His wayward child.
In spite of the large amount of evidence the Bible presents about the character of God—to give us His goodness, we still struggle with fears and anxieties that indicate we doubt the abundant goodness of God towards us. Psalm 27:13 says “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
Maybe we need to align our perception of God to what He says about Himself—He is good and wants to share His goodness with us!
–By Rev. Dr. William Lewis