One of my pet peeves is the excuse of: “Well, he is such a good person.” Now, this statement is usually made after someone who has made a habit of bad choices does something else that is wrong. How can someone who constantly does things that are immoral be described as a good person? Remember, Jesus said that a good tree does not bear bad fruit (Matt. 7) So, what a makes a person good? This is a question that deserves to be answered. We all should desire to be good, so what characteristics do I need to possess? Well, the first characteristic is that a good person perseveres through hard times.
Life will bring many hardships. Job tells us, in Job 14:1, that “Man, that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble.” These hardships will fall under two categories. First, we have the hardships of life that are experienced by all (Matt. 5:45). This would include physical sickness, natural disasters, financial difficulty, etc. These are events that do not discriminate. They will affect the godly and the ungodly just the same. Second, we have the hardships that are experienced due to living a godly life (Matt. 5:10-12). This could include having family and friends turning their backs on you for your decision to be a disciple of Christ. In the 1st century, this type of hardship included prison and even death.
How a person reacts to any of these hardships determines his or her character. When difficulty in his or her marriage arises, is this person going to walk away, or do what is necessary to fix the marriage (1 Cor. 7)? When living faithfully to God becomes difficult, and it does for every Christian, what is the person going to do? Walk away from God and go back into the world, or make the necessary changes? It is not difficult to see how important perseverance is in the life of a Christian.
A good person will have the attitude that Paul demonstrated in 2 Cor. 4:8-9, 16-18. It is only by possessing this characteristic that we can make through to eternal life. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”