A Good Person
There are spiritual and moral lessons that can be found in almost any place. I came across a significant one several years ago in an unlikely place: the TV program “Desperate Housewives.”
One of the main characters, Bree Van de Kamp goes to see a lawyer because she wants to divorce her husband. She started the conversation by saying that he is a decent man and she wants to do the right thing by him in the divorce settlement. The lawyer smiles and says that people who come to him seeking his help in a divorce rarely take that attitude.
She replies, “Well, I like to think of myself as a good person.” But when the lawyer explains to her that legally her husband will have a right to half of all their assets, including her catering business, she objects.
She tells him she expects that he has some “lawyer tricks” up his sleeve that will be able to give her an advantage. He responds to her, “Didn’t you say you like to think of yourself as ‘a good person’?” Indignantly, she stands up and declares, “Clearly, I like to think of myself as a rich person even more!”
She goes to see another, less principled attorney who is willing to use some underhanded, even illegal methods of helping her win a more favorable divorce settlement. She confessed him, “I used to think of myself as a good person. If I had a choice, I would always choose the high road. Lately, I’ve begun to realize that I’m capable of doing whatever needs to be done.”
Yes, she was a good person up to a point. She was a good person as long as her interests were not going to be jeopardized. But if her supposed goodness was going to cause her to suffer some loss… well, there are limits.
We want to think of ourselves as good persons and good Christians. But occasionally we have to give up some things we value in order for our goodness to be genuine. Perhaps, like Bree, we will have to give up wealth. Or we may need to give up ideas we have long held, or habits we have or affiliations to which we cling. Goodness isn’t easy and challenges that test it are inevitable. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).
Grace and Peace,