Be Good For Goodness Sake?

Be Good For Goodness Sake?

I was at work when “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” – Jackson 5 came on the radio (I have to say that I like this song), I heard the line “be good for goodness sake” and I was aghast. I knew the line, it was not as if it was the first time I had heard it, but this time I heard it for the message that has likely been slowly seeping into minds since 1934. Sure “for goodness’ sake” is an idiom that expresses surprise or annoyance (maybe that’s why this saying has been under the radar for so long since it was related to the idiom) but I don’t think that that is all we have here. It literally tells us to be motivated to be good by goodness. Be good to be good; sounds good, yet flies in the face of Christianity, which says no one is good. Rather than obeying God, which I believe means our actions will be on the journey to being morally good, we are to be good by society’s morality rather than God’s. This line might be the single most destructive catch lines surrounding Christmas.

What is good anyway? I cannot say since my “good” might be different than your “good” because we live in a time where many people have relativistic thoughts about morality. I hear people who sound like cultural relativists just long enough to find out that they think it until you disagree with them. So how can I “be good” if “my good” is different than yours and the only good is your good? I can’t.

Example: Most would agree that we should not murder except in times of self-defense where is it no longer classified as murder but “good” to the family of the one whom you’ve defended yourself could be wounding the person as to spare their life. If life is the most important then saving your life by ending another would not be good. (Please do not think that I am against self-defense, I offer this scenario as food-for-thought and certainly believe there are times where people are justified in self-defense.) What the “good” thing to do is is not always so clear.


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It is interesting that this year out of all of them should this phrase be brought into the forefront. I am just mad that everyone beat me too it! I had the idea for a post concerning the phrase a month ago and within the past few weeks I saw an Atheist billboard use it (which actually is perfect because it proves my point based on what they say about goodness), the View discussed it, and people have discussed their discussion. The billboard means that you should just be good to be good and do not need religion to be good. On one hand they are right, you don’t need religion to be good, in fact, religion Will Not make you good. If the morality found with in religion makes you good than many religions would make you good and that’s not how it works at all. Because of grace (that is God not punishing us right away for the things we have done wrong) we are made righteous (good) in the eyes of God because of Jesus’ righteousness (goodness). We obey Jesus because He is perfect. Be good for goodness sake? Good in society always changes, but what Jesus says is good never changes because He is goodness.

Santa = Jesus?

I see Santa more as an anti Christ than a Christ figure.

The way that all these movies and songs talk about Santa makes him out to be super creepy stalker or God. Except Santa-god can be fooled, gets amnesia, and gives up before needing a human (usually a woman or child) to remind him the “meaning” of Christmas. He reminds me more of a Greek god who is just made in the image of man: flawed. Jesus wasn’t flawed, He was and is perfect.

People ask me why we would need Jesus mainly because they feel that they are “good enough.” They have been good for goodness sake so they must be doing fine right? If you have to say that you are a good person… you probably aren’t. That’s why you need to say it to reassure yourself. My problem with “good enough” is that I have never understood what it really is. Some how good enough always changes. What is expected of us is more than we have done. You might be “better” than that person but you aren’t “better” than this other person. Humanity is all for punishing someone yet we think we’ve been good enough not to be punished. We punish someone for one thing they have done regardless of how “good” they are and yet we expect not to reap the consequences for a lifetime of disobeying God.

We need Jesus because He lived the perfect life, which allowed Him to take our punishment when He died on the cross and came back to life 3 days later. We receive this pardon from Jesus when we repent toward God and belief toward Jesus. For this reason, not everyone has received a pardon for their crimes. Some might say that this is not fair for those who do not believe to still be punished but what truly is not fair is for Jesus to have been punished in our place. How often do we hear about someone being serving another person’s time or being executed in someone else’s place? Only if the justice system made a mistake! In our case the Judge did this on purpose in order to allow humanity to know Him once again. Inconceivable!

We must obey God for He is righteous and just. He is good. It is so hard to know what is good so we must know God in order to know what is good. I have been hurt and wronged by “good” people and there are plenty of people who are “better” than me so I’m not sure where that leaves me in society’s morality contest. I do know where it leaves me in the eyes of God regardless of what other people say.

I need Jesus because I’m not good and I know it.

Merry Christmas,

About the Author | Sean Kready
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A pastor wannabe who is searching the plan God has for him, hoping to know God better with others along the way.


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