Goody Two Shoes (1 Peter 4:14-16)

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:14–16, AV)

No one knows from where the expression, “goody two-shoes” originated. There are some thoughts that it came from a nursery rhyme, “The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes,” published in 1765. It was a story of a poor orphan girl who went through life with only one shoe until a rich gentleman bought her a pair of shoes. She then went around happily telling others that she had two shoes. Later, she marries into wealth. The moral of the rags to riches story is that virtue ultimately results in blessing.

This expression, “goody two-shoes,” is one that I remember well from my childhood. It was used to describe someone who would not do what was wrong, often in a derogatory way. In other words, it was used of someone who would not go along with the crowd in bad behavior. It was something that no kid wanted to be called. It is funny, looking back on this, that we were unknowingly being programmed to compromise virtue for the sake of popularity. We did not want to stand out as the weird one in the group and thus, often went along with the crowd.

When we look at what Peter wrote here, he indicated that it was very possible that Christians would be called out as weird for their stand for the name of Christ. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ.” To be, “reproached” is characterized as a taunt of disgrace (Strong G3681). It seems strange to Christians that they should ever be reviled for their righteous conduct. However, that is exactly the situation of which Peter wrote. We should not be surprised about this. Remember that Jesus Himself was mocked and reviled by others (e.g. Luke 22:63-65). Paul wrote to Timothy, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12, AV). When we seek to live like Jesus did, we can expect some sort of persecution. It may come in a variety of ways. Often the verbal attacks can be very damaging to our standing among other people and can lead to more aggressive forms of persecution.

Strangely, Peter told the readers that when they are reviled in this way, “happy are ye,” that they are blessed. There are two things of note in this blessing. First, as Peter mentioned in verse 12, we have been counted worthy to share in Christ’s sufferings. Second, this reviling we receive for the name of Christ demonstrates that Spirit of God and His glory is resting upon the believer. It is showing that you are by God’s grace living the Spirit filled life. You are walking by the Spirit and not gratifying the sinful nature (Gal 5:16).

Thus, Peter wrote, that when reviled for doing good, you should not be ashamed. Instead continue on, striving for godliness. Yes, it does hurt to be reviled or reproached for doing what is righteous. Yet, for in doing so, you bring glory to God.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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