Sometimes its the small insignificant moments that lead us to our greatest moments of enlightment. You know, those “light bulb” moments where the light within our mind suddenly turns on and we experience some great revelation and gain understanding about something that only moments before we had been in darkness about.
Well while listening to my five year old cousin’s account of all the bad kids in her kindergarten class, I had one such moment of my own.
She was explaining to me that she always listens to her teacher and does everything that her teacher tells her to do. Good kids she said, mind their teacher and don’t do bad things in the classroom. She of course was among the good kids because she never acted bad in class.
But the bad kids? They only listened to the teacher sometimes, and they did things the way they wanted to do them, not the way the teacher said to do them. They were not good people, they were bad. Or at least in her eyes.
I wonder what she would have said if she had’ve heard me yelling at the dog this morning.
While trying to fill her food dish, Libby, my high strung terrier-mix became so excited that she knocked over her water dish sending water in every direction. Including the direction I was standing.
I was not a happy camper.
And after I yelled at her and sent her seeking a yell-free zone under the kitchen table, neither was she. But after a few soft spoken words and the sound of her food hitting her dish, she was convinced that I was a good person again and came out for her breakfast and gave me a lick that said all was forgiven.
But it caused me to pause for a moment and ask the question: What makes a person good?
Are we good because we do good things and good deeds for others? Are we good because we follow rules and adhere to the laws? Are we good because we never get angry or say hurtful things to others? Are we good because thats how others see us or how we see ourselves? Are we good just when we feel good inside?
What makes us good?
I’ve often heard people say “I know I’m a good person.” I’ve probably said this a time or two of myself. And I’ve also heard others say “She/He is good people”, when refering to certain people. But as I pondered this question, I realized some truths about being good that kind of suprised me.
The truth is, being good isn’t just about the things we do or say, especially just because someone else is watching. Sometimes being “good” is an image, not an indication of true character.
The truth is, being good isn’t just about saying or doing all the right things. The mouth can say a lot of things that the heart may know nothing about.
The truth is, being good isn’t just about saying happy things or never having a wrong word with or for someone else. Being good doesn’t mean we don’t get angry.
The truth is, that when we do chance to make a mistake and do a “bad” thing, that doesn’t make us a bad person. Good people can still make bad mistakes that carry bad consequences.
So what makes us good?
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5 KJV)
Our goodness isn’t in our “hands”, its in our hearts.
It’s the goodness of the One who lives and abides within us that enables the goodness of our hearts to spill over into our lives.