This is the sixth of a 12-part, once-a-month series on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. This month’s fruit is Goodness. Be sure to see previous posts beginning with CHARITY and check back next month as another contributor explores the fruit of LONG-SUFFERING.
When tragedy strikes, people often ask the question “Where is God?” While God does not cause tragedy – He is after all, all good – He does permit it to happen. I believe He does this that we might see His Goodness.
A tornado touched down in Moore, OK last week and left lasting devastation. At least 24 people died, including 9 children. As with any tragic event, the beauty – the goodness – of God comes through in the aftermath. People will do good things; they will provide clothing and shelter, they will comfort the grieving, and they will care for the sick and wounded. All of these things give us a glimmer of the goodness of God.
Goodness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and it seems like it should be a hard one to pin down. In a world rife with disease, violence and apathy it can be difficult to see goodness, especially goodness of a supernatural sort. Mother Theresa is probably the most widely known figure who embodied this fruit. She cared for the lowest of the low, the sick, weak, and dying. In reality, every EMT, Nurse, Doctor, First Responder and volunteer on-site in Moore is ripe with goodness. Something as simple as bringing a meal to a grieving family is a way to feed the hungry.
Goodness, as a fruit of the Spirit can be seen in the Corporal Acts of Mercy:
To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To shelter the homeless.
To visit the sick.
To visit the imprisoned (formerly known as “to ransom the captive”)
To bury the dead.
The works of mercy come from Matthew 25:31-40
And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
It is easier than we think to share the fruit of goodness. I know that the Acts of Mercy my family received in the days, months and years following our infant daughter’s death were – and are! – glimmering beacons of God’s love for me in a time where my life seemed covered in darkness. While not all of us are able to perform Corporal Acts of Mercy for the suffering in Moore, we can find people in our everyday lives who are in need of goodness and we can always remember the suffering in our prayers as we perform the seventh Spiritual Act of Mercy: Pray for the living and the dead.