There is a profound difference between true righteousness and goody-goodyness. True righteousness is objective, reasonable, open-minded, and exhibits the definition of love that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
"Love is patient,
love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (emphasis added)
Goody-goody "righteousness" is subjective,
emotional, often unreasonable, unwilling to listen and close-minded - not
at all befitting of Paul's definition of love. I see both kinds of Christians. It seems to me like the legalistic "religious" types are the goody-goodies, whereas I have also met many thinking intellectual Christians who truly are righteous and utilize an exorbitant amount of Godly wisdom, particularly in their interactions with other people.
Since this is only a short journal entry and not a full scale essay (lol), I'll give a few examples to differentiate between true righteousness and goody-goodyness.
-Goody-goody Christians often enjoy calling out others when they make a mistake. Like if I accidentally say a curse-word, many of these goody-goodies wouldn't even hesitate to call me out for it, even in front of other people, letting me know that it offends them or is a bad witness. See above: "[Love] does not dishonor others." I know I shouldn't use bad language, and I certainly try not to. It's a bad habit that I don't like, and for someone to remind me of this in front of others only embarrasses me unnecessarily when I'm already aware and ashamed of my mistake. A truly righteous Christian would, if they knew I was already trying not to curse, not
say anything about it, especially in front of other people. And even if they did feel the need to say something to me about it, they'd take me aside and say something in private using love, tact, and gentleness.
-A goody-goody Christian once called my dad out at work for smoking (this was in the early 70s), saying he wasn't being a good witness. Not only was this Bible prodigy rude about it, but his position on smoking turning away unbelievers was purely emotional and irrational. Smoking doesn't make you a bad person - it's just bad for your body. Most non-believers don't know anything about the concept of the body being a Temple of the Holy Spirit, and thus wouldn't be turned away, especially if they understand how difficult of a habit smoking is to break.
-More than one goody-goody Christian has informed me that it is wrong for my writing to contain bad language. Now, allow me to clarify something. They were not talking about this
kind of writing - that is, the kind where it's me talking to you. No, they were talking about fiction
writing, in which one of my characters used bad language or did something rather scandalous. When I am writing fiction, I try to make my characters as realistic as possible. As an author, it is often my job to invent characters who don't necessarily exhibit the same personality and beliefs that I have, and therefore it isn't uncommon for them to act in ways that I personally think are wrong. Sometimes my characters curse. Yeah, well sometimes they also commit murder.
Sometimes they have sex outside of marriage (usually I only imply this occurrence in my writing), and sometimes they tell dirty jokes or make chauvinistic comments about or to other characters. This isn't meant to be a depiction of me, and these goody-goodies are totally incapable of grasping that concept. Granted, they pointed out that I could simply imply that they used bad language, much like I do when my characters have sex. But I have to ask - which is the better and more interesting writing?
Jon cursed as he realized what an awful stench he had made putting out the campfire by urinating on it. Just as he expected, others in nearby campsites began to freak out when the toxic fumes reached them and their now not-so-delicious s'mores.
Or, why not this?
As Jon peed on the flames to put out the campfire for the night, he quickly realized what a terrible mistake that was. The steam from his urine punched him square in the nose. "Dammit, no!
" he yelled as he did his best to cut off his pee-stream. Just as he expected, others in nearby campsites began to freak out when the toxic fumes reached them and their now not-so-delicious s'mores.
I think the second is higher quality writing because it better emphasized how frantic Jon was.
Look at this different type of example:
Jon stubbed his toe. "Ah shoot! Oh my goodness, that sure
Yeah, okay, if you liked that then please go put on some granny-panties and sing soprano in the choir. This option is far better and more realistic to how people act:
Jon stubbed his toe. "Ah shit! Ow! Ow! Ow!
This is how many people talk. Granted, some characters I produce wouldn't
have cursed in this situation. But if this is something that you can't handle, you might consider never reading books or watching TV ever again. Consider reading another deviant I posted, Primoris - Sample.
-Up until recently, there was a "blue law" here in Georgia that prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sundays. The overwhelming majority of Georgians (about 80% of them) wanted this law abolished, and instead of passing legislation in the state Congress, our leaders decided to just let the entire population vote on it. I personally voted to get rid of this outrageous law, and everyone else I know did the same thing. Even the more rural areas overwhelmingly voted to get rid of it. Well, I know a goody-goody Christian who decided it would be better to keep
the law. When I asked her why, her answer (and I kidd you not) was "Because people already buy enough alcohol as it is." Okay, so you don't like alcohol. Therefore, you
feel the need to impose your beliefs on others? The philosophical brilliance here must be beyond my understanding.
-My sister knows a goody-goody who wont eat raspberries or cranberries or plumbs because she thinks, since these particular fruits (supposedly) didn't exist until after the fall of man, they are evil. She also feels this way about snow. She thinks snow
is evil. Probably rain too if she has even a shred of consistency about her beliefs. I want to tie her to a tree and force-feed her evil fruit and throw evil snowballs at her. Who is with me?
-I used to date a goody-goody who wanted to "change" me (at the time I thought dating a strong Christian from my church would be good for me and my relationship with God). She was also one of the goody-goodies I mentioned earlier who opposed cursing in my fictional writing. I know this might be wrong on my part, but I almost enjoyed breaking up with her. Things are much better now, though, since God has blessed me with a smart
Spiritual maturity greatly involves a flow of evolution that goes something like this:
1) The new believer comes under the conviction of the Holy Spirit to follow what the Bible says and do what is right, often hungering for more and more.
2) This Christian then, in the fresh excitement of experiencing God, begins to make rash decisions about life "in the Name of the Lord" and then applies these beliefs to others who they know disagree (often both believers and non-believers) under the delusion that they are being a good witness.
3) Unfortunately many believers grow old and die without ever evolving to this step, but if knowledge of the Lord continues to be hungered and He becomes more known to them through their experiences and from spending time in God's Word, they eventually take a much more thorough look at what is truly right and wrong in God's eyes and how these things relate to them as a Christian.
Don't be a goody-goody! Study God's word and discover for yourself that He is not some policeman in the sky watching your every move for mistakes. Contrary to what most goody-goodies think, they are typically not good witnesses to non-believers. Why on Earth would a non-believer, having witnessed someone having invented absurd rules for themselves and claiming them to be Biblical, want to become a Christian?
Well, I didn't think this was going to end up being an essay. I'm hungry and want wings. Goodbye