That I Would Be Good

This week we’re talking fruits of the spirit: kindness and goodness.

Though we grow up being told to “be good,” this fruit of the spirit isn’t about being “good enough” or worthy. We don’t have to worry about being good enough–because we can’t be. Cue the 80’s Amy Grant music:

Our goodness and worth comes not from our own doing, but from God and what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

So what is this goodness that is a fruit of the spirit? And how is it different from kindness?

In Greek, the word goodness, agathosune, means “an uprightness of heart and life.”

It [agathosune] is the widest word for goodness; it is defined as “virtue equipped at every point.” What is the difference? Agathosune might, and could, rebuke and discipline; chrestotes can only help. Trench says that Jesus showed agathosune when He cleansed the Temple and drove out those who were making it a bazaar; but He showed chrestotes when He was kind to the sinning woman who anointed His feet. The Christian needs that goodness which at the same time can be kind and strong.

William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible commentary on Galatians, page 51

Agathosune is active—even aggressive—goodness. The Greek word for goodness is more than having good character, it is good character in action. It is not being good. It working for the good…the good of everyone.

Goodness has much more to do with selflessness than it does with self-righteousness. It’s not about being good, but bringing the good to the world. And couldn’t the world use a little (or a lot!) more goodness right about now?

Agathosune, the Greek word for goodness is an active–even aggressive word. It's not just about being good, but working for good. Bringing goodness to the world. #goodness Click To Tweet

Here’s hoping that we all get a bumper crop of this particular fruit of the spirit this season, so that we might work for the good of all.


Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow us on Facebook and get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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