Summary

When we disobey, we feel shame (Luke 13:16-17) as a warning of future condemnation (I Corinthians 15:34). We should feel disgusted by our past mistakes (Psalms 119:158), yet many choose to ignore their shame, hardening their hearts towards evil (Hebrews 3:13). This leads to terrible hypocrisy (Matthew 7:3-5) that can only be solved by acknowledging the wrongdoing with repentance (II Corinthians 7:10).  By doing the right thing, you will feel good (Romans 7:12). Goodness is about being open about anything (Ephesians 5:8-9) and being internally honest (Ephesians 4:25). Goodness isn’t only about doing what’s right, but realizing that you are not always right (John 9:34,41).

Endorsements

All Christians believe in goodness.

Concepts

Shame

Shame is the emotion for known disobedience.

Although everyone does what’s right in their own eyes, God knows if the person was confident in their action or if they largely felt it could be wrong (Proverbs 21:2). Sometimes we justify disobedience due to laziness, lack of knowledge, weakness, or a desire for more freedom, but God says that if you know the right thing, yet you fail to do it, it’s always a sin (James 4:17). Saying or doing something, without being highly confident you are right, then finding out you are wrong, creates shame (Luke 13:16-17).

Shame is a warning of future condemnation.

Shame is a God-given emotion and something that should be lovingly given and willingly embraced (I Corinthians 6:4-5). Shame is a God-given tool to warn us to stop sinning (I Corinthians 15:34), or we will be condemned to hell (Romans 6:23).

Shame should be looked at with disgust.

Although we all want to be accepted, some people cry out for acceptance because they ultimately value people’s opinions over God’s truth (Galatians 1:10). Although we should love our enemies (Luke 6:27), the best way to love someone who constantly acts shamefully is to feel disgust when around them (Ps. 119:158), avoid them (Psalms 26:4), but always try to teach them (II Timothy 2:25).

Unresolved shame leads to a hardened heart.

Many unfortunately believe that ignoring the shame or the person causing you shame will make the pain go away; but, the truth is that the longer you ignore shame, sin becomes more and more acceptable, through the hardening of your heart (Hebrews 3:13). Also known as searing the conscience, many will start to insincerely rationalize why sin is moral, leading to believing the devil’s lies (I Timothy 4:1-2).

The primary sin of shame is hypocrisy.

With a seared conscience and hardened heart, a person can no longer tell the difference between light and darkness, and what looks right is actually wrong (Matthew 6:23; Isaiah 5:20). If one is hurting from his own past mistakes but refuses to repent, he’ll tend to see small sins in another that might flare his own trauma (Matthew 7:3). Instead of repenting of his own sin, he will attempt to protect himself by controlling those around him (Matthew 7:4). In extreme cases, a hypocrite will block anyone trying to admonish him of that sin, refusing to listen to anyone (Matthew 18:15-17) in a desperate attempt to forget about his shame. This is hypocritical because a person who corrects should want to get rid of the same sin he is doing (Matthew 7:5). The Pharisees are the best example of hypocrites, who correct anyone who disagrees with them, but abhor being corrected (John 9:34).

The only solution for shame is repentance.

Many try to fix their shame by good works, such as praying or helping others, but God says the only way to be comforted is to mourn the loss you caused (Matthew 5:4). Only by being honest and having grief about the suffering you caused on another will you be able to truly repent of your sin and choose God’s Way (II Corinthians 7:10). With repentance comes a promise that you will not be condemned for your sins (Romans 8:1); but, by choosing to ignore your shame, it will lead to deliberate sinning and a long time in hell (Hebrews 10:26-27). By choosing to ignore the laws found in the Bible, God will have no mercy on your soul (Hebrews 10:28).

The only way to repent is to accept God’s forgiveness.

Repentance is only possible from a person who understands God’s love, by accepting God’s forgiveness. For example, both Peter and Judas betrayed Jesus, felt remorse, and did not want to sin again (Matthew 26:75; Matthew 27:3-4). One betrayer accepted God’s forgiveness (John 21:17) and became the foundation of the church (Matthew 16:18), while the other betrayer condemned himself (Matthew 27:5) and earned the scorn of God (Matthew 26:24). If you truly want to repent of your sins, you must believe you are valuable enough to deserve forgiveness (I John 1:9). You must believe that you can be holy and good one day, and that your goodness is not dependent on your past actions (Ephesians 2:8) but on the perfection of God (Colossians 2:13). You may not be righteous or good (Romans 5:7), but God loved you so much that He died for you (Romans 5:8).

Goodness

The opposite of the feeling of shame is the feeling of being good.

While feeling ashamed is a warning that we did something wrong and need to repent (I Corinthians 15:34), feeling good is a sign that we are doing the right thing (Romans 7:12).

Goodness is being open to and about anything.

We may not know how to be a “good” person; but, it’s actually quite simple: don’t hide anything. The word agathōsynē, meaning goodness, only appears once outside of the Fruit of the Spirit List (Ephesians 5:9). The context of this verse is not choosing to live sinfully (Ephesians 5:3-7); but, for those who follow the Light (Ephesians 5:8), they will be good (Ephesians 5:9). More than just avoiding sin, they will seek God’s will (Ephesians 5:10). The rest of the context is exposing “darkness” (Ephesians 5:11-14). Like a man watching something he shouldn’t behind “closed” doors, those who are closed about their life’s mistakes and beliefs are living in darkness (John 3:19). The closed do not want people to judge them (John 3:20), yet this is futile because the judging will eventually happen (Matthew 10:26-27). Those who follow the light are open about anything because it’s clearer that they are following goodness (John 3:21).

Continual openness leads to internal honesty.

Jesus said He was asked “What is good” (Matthew 19:17). The rich man’s inner shame that caused him to run and kneel (Mark 10:17) also caused inner dishonesty: believing he kept the law while feeling lack (Matthew 19:20). Greed created this dishonesty (Matthew 19:21-23), breaking the first commandment (Exodus 20:3). Many think of honesty as not lying (Leviticus 19:11); but, honesty is striving to always believe the truth (Ephesians 4:25). Honesty is double-checking everything you say or do, ensuring a clear conscience (Acts 24:16; I Timothy 1:5). For example, a priest wasn’t lying when he accused Paul (Acts 24:1), yet if he was honest with himself, the priest would have realized he could not prove his case (Acts 24:13) and was actually accusing out of personal hatred (Acts 25:3). Paul was honest about his past wrath and was trying to show the priests their internal dishonesty (Acts 26:11), like Jesus and the Pharisees (Matthew 23:28).

Healthy honesty always leads to complete repentance and forgiveness.

For a person who is truly honest and not self-righteous, he will repent of any sin in his own life (Luke 5:32). This honesty will also lead a person to forgive anyone of any sin, including forgiving himself (Matthew 6:14-15).

Goodness from repentance destroys sin that law-based righteousness increases.

Although the Pharisees sought righteousness (Matthew 23:3), they sought to use it to become more prideful and greedy (Matthew 23:6,25), which only led to unrighteousness (Matthew 23:15,28). They were very arrogant that their way was right, and they would not listen to anyone who would correct them (John 9:34). They sought what was good for evil reasons. Goodness literally is seeking good for good reasons. Because goodness is honesty (I Timothy 1:5), a good person might think he’s right but will at least listen to the other person, in case he’s wrong (Proverbs 12:15). If the Pharisees were good, this extra knowledge would have led them to faith in Him and would have destroyed the sin in their own life (John 9:41).

Righteousness from goodness leads to truth and justice.

Words like good, true, just, and right all sound similar, but they have distinct meanings, and goodness is the root of them all. That’s why it’s a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and the Spirit is the source of all (Hebrews 2:11):

  1. Faith in the Holy Spirit leads to His fruit, including goodness (Galatians 5:22).
  2. A person who seeks goodness will always be honest (Luke 8:15).
  3. An honest person seeks the truth (Proverbs 12:17).
  4. Truth can only be known by judging (Romans 12:2).
  5. Judging is determining if something is righteous or immoral (John 7:24).
  6. Righteousness leads to justice (Psalms 37:6).

Goodness is different from rightness. 

The phrase “good” in the New Testament is either translated from the Greek root “agatho” or “kal“. Greek words such as “kalon” (Matthew 3:10) or “kalos” (Matthew 15:7) are better translated as “rightly.” For more about this topic, read about righteousness. The word “goodness” only appears twice in the Bible as agathōsynē (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9), yet a similar word agathon is used multiple times. “Good” describes the health of a system, such as a person, while “right” describes the health of the system’s output, such as a person’s actions. An example is found when Jesus used both words in the same sentence: the tree is “agathon” while the fruit is “kalous”, yet many Bible translations used the same word for both (Greek; Matthew 7:17), likely because modern English has merged both concepts together. The uniqueness of the “agatho” goodness can be found in Matthew 19:16-17 and Romans 5:7. 

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