I had a deeply thought-provoking and moving conversation with my mom a couple weeks ago that I’m still thinking about. She gave me permission to share it.

It started off talking about the meaning of “godliness”. I’d never thought about it too deeply, but I suppose in my mind godliness was defined by devotion to God. That’s probably the dictionary definition. My mom had a different take. To her, being godly means reflecting the characteristics of God. There are pastors out there, devoted and devout ones, who are nonetheless known for being legalistic and judgmental. To my mom, they’re not godly, because they don’t reflect the character of the God she knows. It’s bold, and an interesting twist on godliness, and I think it’s useful.

This is important to my mom. She has taught a Bible reading class at church, and at the beginning of the class, she says that her goal for everyone in the class is for them to know why they love Jesus. We frequently sing songs at church about how we love Jesus. But when asked, many people can’t articulate exactly why they do. To her, that’s a goal of reading the Bible.

She talked about the story of the woman at the well as an example of this. Jesus’ interaction with her is incredible. He reaches out to her. She doesn’t even realize that she’s in need, much less know what she needs. But he knows. And he brings it to her. And talks to her about things like worshiping in spirit and truth. How could someone like her even know what these concepts mean? But Jesus knows what she needs. And it’s not just with her. In all his interactions with every woman he encounters, Jesus is infinitely patient and infinitely kind. That’s the kind of God my mom would follow.

True godliness is important to my mom because she wants people to know the real Jesus. She knows why she loves Jesus. I hope we all do too.

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