Not Being Good

March 2016

There has been a shift in our language in the past few years that has begun to cause me some concern. When I ask someone how they are, they invariably answer with, “I’m good.” Or when something that has been worked on is complete, we’re told, “You’re all good.” Besides being grammatically questionable (the adverbial form of “good” is actually “well”), this also has some theological implications that suggest that we as believers should refrain from using that terminology. The Bible is very clear that we are not good. Jesus’ words to the rich young fool are a key point here in that only God is good (Lk. 18:19). Paul also makes the point that “nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh.” (Rom. 7:18 – HCSB) Whatever goodness we have comes from God as a part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

When we repeat to ourselves over and over again “I’m good”, “You’re good”, “We’re good”, we will eventually believe it and it can get in the way of our realization that we need a Savior initially and every day to save us from this body of sin (Rom. 7:24-25). It can cause us to lose sight of the balancing truth that in and of myself I am still a sinner, but I have been redeemed by the grace of God through the blood of Christ and am now righteous. Both need to be emphasized, because both are true and one without the other will either turn us into self-loathing, self-punishers or else into self-righteous, proud people.

So for myself, I am actively working on no longer saying, “I’m good.” If I don’t want to give a long answer to how I am, I’ll generally say something like, “I’m awake” or the old standby, “I’m well.” (Which is true, for “It is well with my soul!”) When someone has done something for me, I try to say “I’m all set” or “You’re all set.” What we say to ourselves and about ourselves matters. Let’s make sure it’s biblically accurate.

Image Credit: Marco Bellucci