Book Review: Made for Goodness by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu

9780061706608Made for Goodness and Why This Makes All the Difference

by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu
ISBN: 978-0-06-170660-8
HarperOne, 2010

“In a life of wholeness, a life of godly perfection, we will still confront the death, grief, and pain that are part of human reality, but they will not destroy us. A life of wholeness can accept, even embrace, death, grief, and pain.”

—from Made for Goodness

I’ll start with this: Why would you not read a book written by Desmond Tutu? Take every opportunity to read his words.

I’ll follow with this: Do you want to find a way to face bitterness without being consumed by it? Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho, help us find the way.

Archbishop Tutu has witnessed many horrors and acts of hatred in his time. His daughter has worked with rape survivors and AIDS patients. They do not walk through this life blind to the “not good” in the world. They don’t try to whitewash it or pretend its non-existence. They do encourage us to gather up the horror and transform it into beauty. They do urge us to see the perpetrators as whole people with hopes, loves, tears, and inherent goodness, just like us, who act out of hurt and anger. They do encourage us to use our free will to choose our own inherent goodness over hurt and anger.

“We have the freedom to choose right. But that would be meaningless if there were not also the possibility that we could choose wrong.”

We wouldn’t like to have no choice, would we? The wholeness of existence gives us options and free will. We choose to feed our hurt and anger and spread the cycle of hurt to others, or we choose compassion and spread that around instead. Before we can do that, though, we have to know it’s there.

“. . . we can see ourselves as we truly are—not sinners in need of saving but saints in need of seeing.”

According to the Tutus, when we actively look for the good in ourselves and others—really ferret around for it, dig deeply—it lays the foundation for compassion acts. Doing good then becomes a habit, learned and fostered. Sure, there will be setbacks and other people will hurt us, but in the fullness of time, one good deed after another, habitual good creates more habitual good.

The Tutus are people of faith, and this is a God-centred book. Faith is not a requirement for goodness, and people who choose goodness but not faith might have to work to find a comfort level with the content. I hope their free will allows them to choose to do the work, because there is much good to be found here.

“The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

Martin Luther King Jr.


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on April 3, 2013, in Book reviews, Books I bought, Books to read again and again, Non-fiction, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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