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Be Good.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5

At my father's memorial service last year, one of my nieces ended her tearful tribute with the simple, parting phrase she remembered her grandfather saying often—and always with a smile:

"Be good."

My heart leapt. I heard Dad's voice again.

Having raised 6 children that produced 20 grandchildren, and 37 great grandchildren at the time of his passing, Dad had a captive audience.

I don't know who—if anyone—may have first told my father to be good, but I do know when the phrase was established between my parents. In one of over 500 (not a typo) letters Mom and Dad wrote to one another when they were dating (summer, 1945 through August, 1949 when they married), Dad ended his letter to Mom: Be good.

Then, in another letter ... Be good.

Dad wasn't asking her to do good, but to be good. There's a significant difference. At the heart of it, I believe my father was imploring the love of his life to … “Stay true to me. Remember me and remain faithful.”

In December '45, Mom promised: ... I will be good. You be good, too, okay?

God—who is good—implores us to be good. To be faithful to him above all others and practice his presence in our lives. To remember him in our thoughts and and as we interact with others.

But what a kicker to read: No one is good—except God alone. [Mark 10:18.]

Or, Turn from evil and do good (Psalm 34:14; 37:27) when several Psalms earlier ... there's no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:1)

How can we possibly ... be good?

Because God—who is purely good—lives in us. And, He who began a good work in you will carry it on to to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. [Phillippians 1:6]

Not long ago, I hugged my nursing-student daughter goodbye before she left for class, a maternal gesture to infuse her with strength and inspiration to fuel her day.

“Be good.”

When the words left my tongue, I felt a palpable remnant of Dad's tender plea shiver through me.

As we look for opportunities to be good, let's live lives that tell others we are deeply loved by a good Father and desire to be faithful to him.

Join me, will you? As we do good in action, let’s strive to be good that others may be drawn to the goodness in us that is Jesus.

Points to Ponder

  • What does it mean to you to be good?

  • What does it look like to be good?

  • Why is it difficult to be good?

Thanks for reading!

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J.D. Wininger
J.D. Wininger
Aug 10, 2023

Oh my, what a heartwarming post Ms. Mary. "Do good" or "Be good"? There is a vast difference, isn't there? I can do good (help others, show kindness and benevolence, etc.), but that does not make me "good" (at least in God's eyes, and does any others really count?). So how do we "be good"? I think the answer lies in how much we allow the Holy Spirit to grow and guide our lives. As we take on more and more of the character of Christ, I believe we start to move toward that goal of becoming "good." God's blessings my good and faithful friend.

Mary A. Felkins
Mary A. Felkins
Aug 10, 2023
Replying to

I'm grateful "doing" doesn't result in "being"—otherwise Mary would be a shipwreck of self-absorption trying to earn favor with a holy and wholly good God. To "be good" is a worthy, God-honoring goal, impossible apart from the Holy Spirit. Thanks for kind words, JD!


Katherine Pasour
Katherine Pasour
Aug 09, 2023

What a lasting legacy your dad left you all, Mary! This tribute is so beautiful. Your message sparks memories of my mother's sweet legacy of love and hope. Thank you for sharing.

Mary A. Felkins
Mary A. Felkins
Aug 09, 2023
Replying to

Thanks, Katherine. I am blessed! Glad to know you enjoyed a beneficial relationship with your mom. God is good! He’s the good Father who teaches us daily.

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