Garry spoke from 2 Peter 1:3-11 this morning, looking particularly at the injunction to add to our faith goodness.

God wants us to be like Him, to reflect His image. By grace, He makes available to us all we need to achieve that aim. We show by our speech and actions what God has done for us.

Goodness is not just a vague ‘being good’ as in being nice or pleasant. Goodness means virtue, having a virtuous course of thought, moral excellence and purity, just as God is upright, pure and virtuous Himself.

Of course, in today’s society, moral absolutes are frowned upon and the majority often decides the morality. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Government rests in public opinion”, and that public opinion is more often than not shaped by the media or other reporting (all of which have their own bias) rather than by moral convictions. If, however, there are no moral absolutes, then anything can be viewed as being ‘right’ or ‘good’, even things which are clearly against God’s Word. Tolerance may be highly prized, but those who go against the accepted view are frowned upon (as an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, Mark Regenerus, discovered when he published the results of a survey of more than 15,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 which discovered that children of a gay or lesbian parent may be more likely to have social and emotional problems.)

We have a duty as Christians to stand up for goodness. As Martin Niemöller said during the Second World War, terrible things can happen if we do not take a stand:

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

We need to identify with the victim who is suffering, no matter who they are, and we need to know what is true. If we are wrong, we need to admit that we are wrong. Prayer helps to align us with God’s way of doing things so that we can reflect His character and know what is right. As we search God’s Word to find out what is right (see Phil 4:8), we ‘think on’ the truth, meditating, deliberating, weighing up and counting it. Then we can apply God’s words to our lives and be filled with HIs virtue.