"Good" Listening Skills Defined

I was asked this week how I was. I replied, “Good, thanks.”

I was then reminded that I can’t possibly be “good”. I could be well, but not good.

Some of you are already upset for me. Please don’t be! I processed the words spoken, which were accompanied with scripture that I’ll provide here in a bit, nodded, and moved on. No offense was intended in the response, nor was my answer of “good” intended to elevate myself to the same level as God Himself.

Google “define good” and you will get the following definitions:




To be desired or approved of.


That which is morally right; righteousness.


Well: “my mother could never cook this good”.

Hmmm. When I replied “good”, well, I don’t think I actually meant any of those above definitions.

In the company I was in I most definitely was not saying that I was desired or approved of…that’s definitely half an EWWWWWWWW thought and half an egotistical trip thought. Not what I meant either way!

I absolutely was not calling myself morally right or righteous. Which I believe is the definition the hearer was applying to my response. It was not the definition I had in my mind when I used the word.

And, the definition of well, well, if you mean fine or okay, or as my husband puts it “the opposite of bad”, then yes, that’s closer to what I meant.

After looking at these definitions, however, I’m not certain I meant “good” at all.
Merriam-Webster’s definitions of “good” are much more complete and in tune with what I would have expected though.

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;” Romans 3:10

So He said to him,

“Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17

Scripture tells us that no one except God Himself is good.

If you’ve read many of my posts or spent much time discussing scripture with me, you know I’m a bit of a word nerd. Recently I was explaining the “X” in X-mas to my family.

My son says, “How are we supposed to know this stuff? We don’t speak Greek or whatever language you just said this came from.”

My husband looks at him, shakes his head, and replies, “Neither does your mom, but she does speak geek.”

I believe that words are powerful. So much can be conveyed through the written language. So much is lost, or muddled, in translation. And often, we get so caught up in dissecting what people say that we miss the message entirely.

See, by telling someone I was “good” they heard blasphemy. Which was the furthest thing from my mind when I uttered a common response to a question we ask not ever expecting an honest reply. My standard answer wasn’t accepted.

I wonder how much time I spend hearing the words people say in order to decode them, perhaps even destroy them, and totally miss their heart?

I’m guilty of hearing the things “religious” people say and being absolutely disappointed and upset by what they’ve said. Didn’t they think about how that might sound? Do they know who all heard what they just said out loud? Maybe they aren’t quite as mature Christians as we thought they were.

Sometimes someone’s words are just that. Words. A standard response uttered to a polite question that didn’t actually expect an honest answer anyway.

I really shouldn’t be tearing apart everyone’s responses word by word when I should be listening to hear the honest answer their heart really wants to give me.

So, next time I ask you how you are, please, look me in the eye and tell me the truth. If the truth is simply “Good.”, I’ll accept that.


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