The Good Life

joyWhen I ask friends what it means to be a Christian, they sometimes roll their eyes.  Press the point and out it comes, “being good.” Given that Jesus comes for sinners, this misses the point. But there’s another problem. “Being good” sounds, well, really bad. Painful. Or worthy, but dull.

Goodness sounds like Butlins with the in-laws instead of Vegas with your mates. Socks and sandals instead of fish-net tights. Herbal teas and hold the sugar. But here’s the truth…

If you want a good time, forget philanders, love-rats, rascals and ruffians.  Goodness is where the party’s at. Don’t buy the lies. Virtue is the opposite of boring.  It’s joyful and exuberant and addictive.  It  shows up evil as it really is –  a parasite, feeding off the real thing and trying to make itself interesting.

Goodness is not the same as morality. It’s not about doing nice things because you feel you ought to, or slapping the kibosh on fun. It’s not about serving with a slightly pained expression and the tiniest of sighs.  Goodness means basking in Gods love.  Loving boldly. Pouring yourself out in joyful abandon. Celebrating what’s most powerful and most true – gentleness, kindness, patience, peace.

Evil looks strong, but behind the bluster it’s running scared.   Think of the bully who’s hides behind violence.  The big man covering up his own inadequacies.  The gossip who has nothing else to say. These are not the actions of a victor.  They’re fuelled by anger and fear and need. They’re the cries of a loser, whose time is short.

Evil shouts, then burns itself out. Goodness whispers, but endures to the end.

Evil is sand.  Goodness is a pearl.

Evil grabs headlines.   It’s bloody and brutal, insidious and subtle.  It spreads like a virus and consumes all it sees. But goodness also spreads and it cannot be overcome.  It’s a glass of water, a soft word, a gentle touch. It’s sharper than the sword, stronger than the axe, brighter than the flame.

If you’re seeking mystery,  beauty and strength, don’t look to the murderer.  Look at the victim who forgives.

Bad is banal; ten a penny.  Goodness is what grips.


Image source.



2 thoughts on “The Good Life

  1. I love this! It’s like, for all the posts I’ve read that try to persuade people that The Christian Life is So GOOD .. no one explains what this So GOOD! looks like, or how it is better than Exciting-looking Evil out there.

    But – then I run into a Big Problem when I realise that .. I’m often grabbed by fear (lots of it!!), & need (for approval, in which I say – are we STILL friends? Really?), & shame of a double serving that a queen sized quilt can’t cover.

    … yet at the same time, occasionally I catch glimpses of a Self that shares (because I think your kids might enjoy these show tickets, here you go/because I had some extra & you like these, have some/I felt like it so why not!?), that laughs (because on a Good Day, kids can be incredibly sweet & understanding of the same degree that they are Nasty on a Bad Day), that finds Joy in community & people & love.

    But .. most days, it seems more like guilt&fear&shame & oh I have no capacity to love people because I am too afraid & too inadequate & ultra lame & incredibly self-deprecatingly stupid ..

    then – oh :(

    (To your credit it really is a fabulous post, but just internal-monologue-ing my thoughts when these two sides of me meet & conflict – then my Inner Self gets really scared & confused :( )

  2. Hi Dee

    Yes, we know one thing and yet so often, we still feel another! But that’s precisely why the third sentence of the blog is crucial – Jesus comes for sinners and people who don’t feel or act they way they should. I know I forget it all the time! And the blog post moves on past it. But we can’t afford to leave it behind. Here is the heart of the Christian life… NOT being good. We don’t have the capacity to love people because we are too afraid & too inadequate & lame & self-deprecatingly stupid ..but that’s why Jesus comes. He is our goodness and He helps us to love it and walk in it too.

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