This well-known quote from The lion, the witch and the wardrobe is about Aslan, the literary character whom we love for representing Jesus. But ‘good’ is a bit of a non-word, isn’t it? Meaningless, a bit like ‘nice’. Purely an adjective to fit somewhere between ‘OK’ and ‘great.’ A tiny bit better than just ‘alright’. At school I was once called a ‘goody-goody’ as an insult, for helping the teacher tidy up. I think the word needs a bit of claiming back…
On a sheet of paper write something that makes you go: “Mmm, that’s gooood!” This could be late-night jam on toast or peeling glue off your fingers. Take it in turns with your mentee to come up with something just a bit ‘more good’ than the last thing. Allow it to escalate and see how far you can get in five minutes until one of you says: “I can’t think of anything better than that!”
Was Jesus a ‘goody-goody?’ Why would a mark of being filled with God’s spirit be ‘good’ behaviour? For many reasons, it’s too easy to think of Jesus now as a sanitised figure: saintly like a stained-glass window; meek and mild like the Sunday school picture book stories. The truth is that being around him felt dangerous and exciting, but not in a reckless or hedonistic way. He was (and is) good - in the truest sense of the word. I think this is worth exploring with your mentee. What does it mean for a young person to be truly good these days - and not just as in expected ‘good’ behavior?
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” James 2:17 (NLT).
- What is good-ness?
- Why is goodness important to God?
- What ‘good’ deeds have you done this week? (Not just ‘nice’ things - ‘good’ things!)
- Think of one of them - what motivated you to do it?
- When does choosing goodness become really hard?
If you are in a public café, you may not want to pray out loud so write on the bottom of your paper: “God, I want my life and faith to overflow with good deeds. Please fill me with your Spirit so people will see your goodness in me.” Sign it and invite your mentee to sign it too.