Why are we good? Is it because we act “good?” Is it because we are good? Is it because we calculate that if we are good, others will be good towards us too? Do we reason ourselves to good behavior? Are we inherently good?
As it is written in Luke, Chapter 6:36-38, reason nor character is why we must behave well. It is our relationship with God that should determine what we do specifically, be compassionate, do not judge, do not condemn, forgive and give.
A more exacting translation of the passage would read as follows,
“Become compassionate (to others) as your father is compassionate (to you). Do not judge (others) and you will not be judged (by God). Do not condemn (others) and you will not be condemned (by God). Forgive (others) and you will be forgiven (by God). Give (to others) and it will be given to you (by God). (Luke Johnson, Gospel of Luke, pg. 113.)
Our behavior toward one another is dictated not by what we want or feel but by what God will do for us for our good behavior toward each other. “A truly radical notion, that God adapts for the judgment of humans the standard they use is their relation with each other.” (Luke Johnson, Gospel of Luke, pgs. 113-114)
Dear God, help us to remember to be good to one another even though we often try to calculate our goodness. Remind us to do good because you ask us to do good.
Yet you do more than we could ever do for each other. Your grace knows no bounds. Amen.