“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
Goodness - the quality of being morally good or virtuous. This is one of the fruits of the Spirit. If we dive in more to the meaning of goodness it may come up as good deeds, favor, or beauty.
And the opposite is simple. Wickedness.
What comes to mind is the account of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Out of all of his brothers, he was favored and chosen. Everyone knew it, especially his brothers. It could come off as embracing the goodness of God in his life, but his brothers saw it with jealousy that led to them selling Joseph to slavery.
Account after account, Joseph is enslaved, found to be helping the King, wrongfully accused, thrown back into jail, but then is raised to a higher power where he had a plan to save Egypt from famine. (Genesis 39-49) He continued to cling to the Lord that even in every trial, accusations, and false accusations, he still stayed faithful and had good character.
Even when it came to his brothers coming to Egypt begging for food during the famine, Joseph tested them to see if they had changed. When their brother Benjamin was accused of stealing (Genesis 44) and he saw how they would have sacrificed their own lives, he wept and saw their hearts had changed.
Joseph had every right to react in anger, judgment, but he did not choose to cling and seek vengeance for wickedness. Even in his circumstances, he still blessed his brothers and took care of his family and trusted God.
“But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:19-21
There will be circumstances and actions towards us that we have the hard choice to pursue kindness and trust the Lord that is good and he will work it all for our good and His glory? Or will we choose to take things in our own manner and not abide in the fruits of the spirit which we are denying the true vine, Christ? The flesh and our enemy want us to choose wickedness, but the outcome will be a temporary satisfaction that does not produce life.
“A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” Proverbs 11:17
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Ephesians 4:31
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35 / Jesus
God in His kindness judges wickedness because He is a good God who cannot partner with sin. And in that, He gave us His Son so we no longer are governed by wickedness but have the authority in His Spirit to deny the flesh and choose goodness.
We choose to abide in the true vine because without Christ then can we only produce the fruits of the spirit and be able to do the things that God will call us to. He will challenge us, but He will not leave us without hope.
~ Sarah Moon