I struggle to be good.
Beneath the lamination of my saintly countenance resides a duplicity so dark, it is invisible to naked eyes. And so I fight just to keep my cover up.
My efforts towards goodness were fierce: I imbibed a compliant kindness to register my deeds; I was a knight of religion; I made good grades; I drilled my best to develop character, I respected the elderly, I was gentle to the young, I was a gent to the ladies, I pursued proper ethics, ad infinitum.
In my pursuit of rectitude, there grew an unusual hubris. I began imagining that I was actually better than anyone else. My moral compass pointed to a deeper wickedness: I have become a demigod surrounded by unknowing serfs.
It does not take much social survey to sense the rise of self-pronounced deities. The most notorious ones come from religious circles. They flaunt ecclesiastical firepower. They are always angry: wroth pastors hidden in gentle-looking tents. The attraction of feigning good comes from self-fulfilling benefits of egocentrism. I am good not for other's; I become good for my own sake. It is the game of relational imperialism. My goodness shall conquer the world!
I will only assume goodness to serve my best interest, of course, at the expense of your naiveté.
Veni, vidi, vici!
I know this all too well. I had this malignancy until God's mercy salvaged me from the dregs. Prior to my redemption, I roamed the wasteland of societal intercourse leaving no weight of blessing whatsoever.
The incisive gospel of the Prodigal Son illumines this with a thud. The eldest son's goodness hindered true joy. His embittered anger stems from his goodness. He had entrenched himself at a pedestal that views all other humans as marginal. His long list of behavioral points served as badge to indict the rest of humanity. His goodness was wickedness personified.
Little wonder, when the Messiah hurled his scandalous counsel to a dying criminal hung next to him, heaven's gates were flung wide open to a sinner who had absolutely no good thing in him, except his last minute faith in Christ.
No one is truly good, except God. Period.