The Goodness of God

In my last post I talked about how Brandt Jean’s embrace of his brother’s killer glorified God because it demonstrated His goodness. Like the detonation of a neutron bomb, the atmosphere of that Dallas courtroom exploded with the fragrance of God’s goodness the moment Amber Guyger received love and grace instead of vitriolic hatred and unforgiveness.

We sing a tag-line that says something profound about what we’re learning from our experience of God: “You can love me more in a moment than other lovers can in a lifetime.” We all certainly witnessed an example of that love expressed through the willing heart of one of Jesus’ followers—Brandt Jean. This is what the stunning goodness of God looks like. And as we learn to walk in His goodness, it becomes like an anthem to our soul:

I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never failed me
All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God *

Jesus tells us that only God is good (Luke 18:19). Therefore, all goodness is derivative. What I mean by that is, all good things come from God.

17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17 NLT)

God’s goodness is not based on circumstances—good or evil—or whether someone deserves His goodness or not. This is why we don’t even know what goodness is apart from God. Yet, we, with our fickle hearts, have the ability to do good in spite of our circumstances (like Brandt Jean) because God is good. And all of this is important for us to know in a world filled with such graceless ingratitude, violence, and hatred.

And through his creative inspiration
    this Living Expression made all things,
    for nothing has existence apart from him!
Life came into being because of him,
    for his life is light for all humanity.
And this Living Expression is the Light that bursts through gloom
    the Light that darkness could not diminish! (John 1:3-5 TPT, emphasis added)

When we don’t acknowledge God’s goodness working in our lives, our thoughts grow dark and futile (see Rom.1:21); we forget that we have no continuing existence apart from Him. We become ungrateful and do foolish things. This darkened thinking puts us into bondage. But when we realize that God is the Source of all goodness, and acknowledge His workings in our lives on an ongoing basis, it makes us truly grateful and gracious. And true freedom comes when we walk in the light as He is in the light:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NIV)

We traditionally define sin as “missing the mark” but, as I’ve said before, sin is better defined as a tragic flaw in thinking that leads us into bondage. Jesus came to purify our hearts from this erroneous thinking and free us from living in darkness and futility as we walk in His light.

So, let us sing of His goodness and mercy and let His grace permeate our souls. And just as important: let His radiating light of pure love overflow from us to everyone around us. Here’s the song, “Goodness of God” sung by Jenn Johnson (Bethel Music). It serves as a great anthem to express our gratitude for God’s goodness. Beloved of God, sing it out and shine forth!

All my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God *

* Lyrics from Goodness of God written by Ben Fielding | Brian Johnson | Ed Cash | Jason Ingram | Jenn Johnson. © 2018 Alletrop Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing;  SHOUT! Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing); Fellow Ships Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC); So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC); Bethel Music Publishing.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 39 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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6 Responses to The Goodness of God

  1. hawk2017 says:

    Thank you.:)

  2. Hmmm. Don’t take this as a complaint or a criticism Mel, because I don’t intend it that way at all. It is just that while reading your last two posts I had a revelation about what so often separates and divides us as Christians, about why Western faith so often rings hollow for me. See, we’re rejoicing, we’re looking at the Brandt Jean case and counting it as a win for team Jesus, and we’re singing about the goodness of God. But there are two mothers right now whose beloved sons where murdered outright by a broken world, with justice now deferred by a corrupt system. A corrupt system full of Christians. Are they singing about the goodness of God right now? Probably not.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You make very good points, IB, but they were not my points, which was why I was careful to say in the last post that I’m not talking about whether the system should change nor was I was not trying to minimize the horrific loss of the victim’s families. My point was solely about Brandt Jean’s actions and how it demonstrates God’s justice (and, thus, glorifies Him). It also demonstrates God’s goodness.

      But let’s talk about justice and singing about God’s goodness from the victim’s point of view while we’re here. 🙂

      First, we must be careful not to conflate justice or goodness with grief or sorrow. We should also understand that when someone is murdered, our human court system is incapable of bringing true justice, even if it somehow operated perfectly, for the simple fact that we cannot raise the victim back from the dead and restore them to their families. This is the failure of retributive justice, corrupt or not, which it’s why it never really brings peace or real justice, especially in murder cases. We can lock up or execute the offender to keep society safe but we can never bring true justice. While someone can return or restore stolen property, they cannot return a life. Only God can bring justice in this case. And that brings me to my second point.

      No matter how horrific, what happened to the victim has nothing whatsoever to do with the goodness of God, or whether one should sing about His goodness. It has everything to do with how He loves us through it all, how His grace and mercy is demonstrated through people who are responsive to Him (like Brandt Jean). How He touches the perpetrator, like Guyger, who everyone says doesn’t deserve any mercy.

      God gave people free will to do awful things and to do good things, and when they do awful things, He mitigates the pain and loss with His overwhelming love and peace, if we allow Him. And, ultimately, He will bring the only justice there can be by raising their loved one back to live again in the resurrection of the dead.

      So, if the mothers are following Jesus, while they certainly shouldn’t be singing about our court system, there’s nothing to praise there, hopefully, they would know that has nothing to do with God’s goodness. And as awfully painful as it is—a pain I cannot even imagine—if they understand these things, they will sing of God’s goodness in spite of the pain and loss. They will know that justice will not be found in a human court, because their loved one is still gone, no matter what happens to the perpetrator. But they also know it’s not the end of the story! That’s why they will sing. 🙂

      In fact, it’s understanding this about God’s goodness how songs like “It is Well with My Soul” were written. Jesus promised us trouble and heartache and loss in this life, but He has overcome this world, and we overcome by running into His arms of love (John 16:33). I would argue that we don’t even really understand the depths of God’s goodness until we’ve experienced it during times of crisis and real heartache.

    • AfroLatino says:

      I have hesitated to comment to your post for various reasons but feel I should.

      Let me start by saying that I am not based in the US and first heard about this case from this blog. I, unfortunately, read the blog shortly before going to bed and did further research on the case. Hence, it was a restless night for me thinking about the pain of his parents. Then, came morning! Should the pain linger?

      The issue of justice could be a very painful experience. In the UK, the family of Stephen Lawrence, an 18 year-old who was brutally murdered, have campaigned for more than 2 decades for justice. The case of Jamal Khashoggi still goes unresolved. You may argue that the people in power in these countries may not necessarily be Christians but let’s not forget that Judge Kemp came under harsh criticism for giving Amber a hug and a bible. I do not see anything shallow in this. Also, Brandt may not be the victim’s Mother but he was raised by her and I know one day she will be very proud of his display of forgiveness.

      I have found Mel’s articles very useful. We must know how to show compassion but at the same time, let the hurting Mothers know that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord. I do not think it is loving for us not to point them to the goodness of God in the midst of their pain. Where else can they go? We all know the part “Christians” have played in slavery and other atrocities in the Western world but they have also been instrumental in sending missionaries around the world.

      Even if we as Christians have behaved so badly, please look to Christ. I say this to the atheists on this blog too as some may have left the church because of the attitude of Christians.

      My prayer is that the hurting Mothers as mentioned in your comments will turn to the Lord and see his goodness even at this time!

      God bless

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