And He said unto him, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is God.
Matthew 19:17 (21st Century King James Version)
I have a thought for us to chew on for Lent…
What do we mean when we say, “God is good?” What qualities are we attaching to describe the Divine? When someone says, “God is good” and we automatically reply, “All the time” do we truly understand God’s goodness? Is God good only when He/She grants us some favor?
And what do we mean by “good?” Is it God’s character? How God treats us? Or are we describing God Him/Herself? As finite beings, we can be subjective when it comes to the word, “good.” Good can mean different things to different people-even amongst Christians. To one, God is good because God gave him/her the power to make it through a stressful day while managing major issues in their life. To another, God is good because they were blessed with some substantial material gain. To another, God is good because it’s what the Bible says regarding God’s character and nature. If you look up the word, “good” itself in the dictionary, you’ll see a word that has varied meanings.
In my humble opinion, we Christians (and others) use this statement quite loosely, almost as if on automatic pilot (been there, done that). We don’t stop and ponder what “good” God is. I even wonder if we can pin the word,”good” on God and not shortchange Him/Her? Maybe-as some surmise-we can’t call God good, because good is a human standard and we really have no handle on the Divine. Even the Bible can only go but so far, since the words are finite and changing, which try to describe the Infinite and Eternal. Who’s to say Jesus didn’t have the same challenge when he was quoted in the above verse? Even now as I write this, I struggle with the concept.
Maybe in saying “God is good,” we could actually mean, “God is.” That God is despite what befalls our lot-be it good or not good. That the word, “good” lets us know that God is going to be God despite it all. That in truly describing God, there is a transcendence that mere words cannot grasp except in the word, “good?” Like I said before, I’m struggling with the concept.
Let’s ponder this for Lent: what do we mean by, God is good?” And maybe in our pondering we can get a fresher and transcendent look at the Divine.
Grace and Peace.