What is true goodness?

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"You kiss them if they are good," says Savannah, age 5. "A good person likes to hug," adds McCall, 5.

I'm all for kissing and hugging, but please remember that a kiss is not always the sign of goodness. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

"Good is never getting a spanking," says Seth, 5. There's no doubt that your parents have made an impression upon you, Seth.

"Goodness is a pup and a butterfly and a kitten. You can tell a good person from a bad one by the look on their face," says Courtney, 7.

I suppose our facial expressions give us away more often than we think, but some people know how to play poker, says Grayson, 5: "The bad person's mask is going to fall off. The good person doesn't have a mask."

Truly good people don't wear masks because they live from pure hearts. They're open and honest.

The Apostle Peter wrote that Christians should put aside "all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil-speaking." Instead, they should desire the "pure milk of the word" for accelerated spiritual growth.

Bad people "like broccoli, eat your lunch, laugh at people when they fall down, break stuff, don't share toys and wear black clothes," say several kids between ages 5 and 7.

There's a difference between doing bad things and being a bad person. We'll look at this, but first, let's hear another comment on bad actions: "The bad person pushes," says Brennan, 6.

Have you ever noticed how you get pushy when you're in a bad mood?

"The Bible says that man looks on the outside appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart," says Brittney, 11.

Outward deeds don't always reveal one's true spiritual condition. Jesus said the religious leaders of his day were like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside but full of dead men's bones on the inside.

True goodness resides in the inner life. We can fool people, but we can't hide anything from God.

"I am good because I do good things," says Marshall, 10. This is how most people define goodness, but it overlooks motivation.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked," wrote the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 17:9). If this is the case, who has ever done anything with a pure motive?

Jeremiah also wrote of a heart transplant under a new covenant on which God would write his laws. When Jesus lifted his cup at the Last Supper, he said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood." His death on the cross and victorious resurrection established a new contract whereby all who place their simple trust in him for salvation will receive a new heart.

"You can tell a good person from a bad person because they show their love," says Kasi, 8. Indeed, love from a pure heart is the hallmark of desire taken captive by God's unconditional love. "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).

"True goodness is doing what God wants you to do," says Gabrielle, 5.

Point to ponder: God wants to give you his goodness.

Scripture to remember: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

Questions to consider: Did you know that God the Father was pleased with the goodness of Jesus Christ when he offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins? Have you been deceived by believing the lie that doing good deeds will secure a place for you in heaven?

Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost. To receive Kids Talk About God three times a week in a free, email subscription, visit

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