Mr. Goodman and Mister Right.

Mahirap pala magtype kapag may hiwa ang middle finger.

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” –Romans 5:7-8

While discussing this passage one Sunday, my thoughts deviated from the the focal point of the passage – the greatness of God’s love for us sinners – to the difference beteen the ‘good man’ and the ‘righteous man.’ If I were to arrange the three men in the passage in descending order, it would have to look like this:

Righteous Man > Good Man > Sinner

You would therefore expect the order of the probability of someone taking a bullet for the aforementioned people to be the same. Yet in the passage, the probability appears to be:

Good Man > Righteous Man > Sinner

Since today’s generation use the terms ‘good’ and ‘righteous’ interchangeably (or rather, we use the term good and scarcely use the term righteous anymore), it would be best for us to look at what they mean.

Righteous Man – One whose legalistic standing before God is almost faultless. Like the Apostle Paul when he was a Jewish Pharisee. Characterized by what he DOESN’T DO. The modern day equivalent of this person is the ‘KJ’. He doesn’t smoke, drink, lie, or curse. He neither hangs out in bars nor with people of ‘bad reputation’. He is the epitome of a Christian with good standing but is nonetheless usually ineffective in making his faith contagious. One could say that he obeys the a fraction of the Great Commandment, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30)

Good Man – One who is popular before men, usually kind and ever helpful, sociable and always willing to lend a hand and a wallet. A philanthropist of sorts if you may. He may not even believe in God, and lack wholistic integrity. He may have a bad temper every now and then, may or may not be addicted to vices, hangs out with dubious crowds, and the like. He is the personification of the second fragment of the Great Commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)

Back in Jesus’ time, men were attracted more to Mr. Goodman than to Mister Right. Nothing has changed here in the 21st century. People are still after sincerity and genuineness. As for legalistic do’s and don’ts, Jesus did emphasize to the Pharisees that “there is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him” (Mark 7:15). He preached life, repentance, forgiveness of sins, and the kingdom of God. Yet everywhere he went he did not deny those in need of healing, feeding, and freedom.

Piecing Mark 12, verses 30 and 31 together, it would be obvious that God wants us to be both the Good and the Righteous. For loving God cannot be done without loving His creation, His image and likeness. It’s like eating Cookies and Cream – you will inevitably eat both.

Will people generally describe you a good, righteous, or a sinner?
Will anyone take a bullet for you because of your ‘goodness’?
Will you take a bullet for anyone? Why so?
How can you be a better person before God and men?

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and glory to your Father, who is in heaven” –Matthew 5:16

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