Good vs. evil: Why it's time to rethink your definition of 'good'



Good and evil. We all know the difference, don’t we? Aren’t we born with an inherent knowledge of what is right and wrong?

Speaking from a spiritual perspective, the terms good and God seem synonymous these days. We believe what’s generally accepted as good must be in line with God’s will. Generosity, humility, justice—good. Selfishness, arrogance, cruelty—bad. The distinction seems pretty straightforward. And anything good must be on the side of God, right?

If we look at what the Bible says, we find we have to go deeper. Scripture teaches that we need discernment to recognize what’s right. The book of Hebrews, as one example, speaks of those who “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14 NKJV).

If we need discernment to tell the difference between good and evil, the two aren’t always apparent on the surface level. There may be things that seem good that actually aren’t. Elsewhere in Scripture, we’re told, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 NKJV).

As Christians, we need a better reference point than what seems good.

There is a way that seems right. It seems good, wise, beneficial, strategic, acceptable, profitable, and so forth. Yet the warning in this verse is clear: what seems good may actually be detrimental, harmful, and nonproductive—the way of death. This is weighty!

Good is all about our reference point. A friend of mine uses this example. If two families move into identical $200,000 homes, one family might consider it a good move while the other thinks it’s a bad move. Why? The first family moved from a one-bedroom apartment, but the second moved from a three million dollar estate.

As Christians, we need a better reference point than what seems good. And we have one: God’s inspired Word. As the apostle Paul tells us, “All Scripture is…useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right [good]” (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT).

So, what do you think? Do these statements of truth challenge your perspective? Is there anything you want to reevaluate about how you’ve been judging what’s good and what’s not?

For more on this topic, check out John’s new book "Good or God?: Why Good Without God Isn’t Enough." Available wherever books are sold.

John Bevere and his wife Lisa are the founders of Messenger International, an organization established to teach, reach, and rescue. A minister and best-selling author, John delivers messages of
uncompromising truth with boldness and passion. His desire is to support the local church and resource leaders regardless of location, language, or financial position. His latest book is "Good or God?: Why Good Without God Isn’t Enough" Messenger International (August 11, 2015). Follow him on Twitter@johnbevere, find him on Facebook and on Instagram and visit his website.