Why Do You Call Me Good?
By Marie Dukart
Are we good? A common phrase I hear out on the streets is “I’m a good person,” or “I don’t hurt anyone by my choices.” What kills me is that’s my inner monologue as well.
It doesn’t help that people come up to me and other missionaries and tell us: “You are doing such good work.” “I could never do what you guys do.” And even, “thank you for your sacrifice.” And in a way those people are right. Serving the poor is good work. Most people won’t be a Christ in the City missionary and “give up” a year (or two) of their lives.
But the question I keep coming back to: does this work make me good? No. God created me good, but how do I cooperate with his goodness?
Frankly, I became a missionary with mixed motives, and when I came I thought I was a decent Catholic/Christian. But, boy, was I wrong. “Doing” good things doesn’t make anyone good. As Scripture says, “ Man sees the appearance and God sees the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7)
My heart was and is proud and selfish, and I do things because I want to look good, not because I actually want to be good. Being good means letting go of your own ideas about life, letting God take the reins, and asking Him to show me how self-centered my intentions are.
Just this past week I was running alone on Cherry Creek trail and I saw a man lying unconscious alongside the running path. He appeared to be homeless and I don’t ever interact with people when I’m running by myself. I ran right past him; then I stopped. I can’t explain the interior conflict in my heart and mind. Fear and self-preservation vs. an overwhelming sense that I had to help: the good Samaritan story happening in my own life.
I struggled to stay calm as he was turning blue, his eyes half-open, and his gasping breath freaking me out that he was going to die right then and there. It wasn’t because I was a good person that I called the ambulance and stayed by him until the paramedics came. No, I stayed because the Holy Spirit compelled me to take a risk and, perhaps, save a life.
“Why do you call me good?” You call Christ in the City missionaries good because every once while in a while we let the Holy Spirit take the reins.
Marie Dukart is a second-year missionary and an alumnus of the University of Mary in North Dakota. She’s passionate about Beauty, Truth and Goodness and naps..