The header photo for this post may seem strange until you know the definition of this quality. I had no idea what this fruit was targeting. Goodness is all about transparency and honesty. This is one of the greatest dangers in modern Christianity. Often we are so consumed with our autonomy (even wrapped in religious terms like freedom) that we shun accountability. This isolation almost always (or at least eventually) spawns a collapse of some kind. The true freedom that we were made for is almost the opposite of isolation.
What I am learning about this fruit’s application is that the most godly thing I can do in a given situation in everyday life (and especially in the church) is to practice, not just truth-telling, but transparency. I’m not even sure where I first heard it to give credit, but this phrase has come to define this value for me… transparency breeds trust. When there are no closed-door, back-alley-type meetings, I engender collaborative, relational discussions instead of autocratic decision making.
That’s only one side of the discussion… how others looking in will see me, but it also affects my view of them. Instead of me thinking that no one else can do _________ as well as me… I am now working to make sure that they can. This sounds more like Jesus to me anyway. Fact is, I’m sure that most of my early ministry years were filled with “protecting my leadership turf”. If I led you in any way in the first 15 years of my ministry, I’m sure you can recall specific instances of this. I have confessed most of this to those individuals already. If I’ve missed speaking to you in person, let me apologize now. This is not goodness. Understanding goodness has helped me to understand what each of you was trying to help me see then. I was wrong. Please forgive me.
Practicing goodness (and notice, I’m still practicing) is teaching me that as I work to be transparent with those I serve and lead, I invite them to join me in the journey instead of creating an adversarial relationship like so many in leadership have as their default setting. Does goodness (transparency) require more effort? Absolutely! But the returns on investment are immeasurable.