by Brandy Webb
We live in a world that has a lot of evil in it. There is a lot of hate. There is a lot of selfishness. There is a lot of justification that people use to explain why they are cruel to other people. Yet, that does not at all give us an excuse to act foolishly. We are still supposed to have the fruit of goodness inside us, but the only way people are going to know us by our fruit is by our actions.
If hatred can beget more hatred, maybe goodness can beget more goodness, or at least make people pause and think. What would happen if people stopped paying back “evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone”? (1 Thess 5:15, ESV). I believe it would mean the major news networks would go out of business. Alas, though, I know that this is impossible with man, but it is not impossible with God. Therefore, those of us who have the blessing of the Holy Spirit should be able to do just what the Scriptures tell us to do. We do not have an excuse not to do so.
We are to love our enemies. We are to “bless them that curse [us], do good to them that hate [us], and pray for them which despitefully use [us],” says Jesus Christ (Matt 5:44, KJV). There is not a scripture that I have found with a “but” clause. I have yet to see somewhere that says, do good to everyone, but if they don’t deserve it then feel free not to do good to them. No, in fact, the opposite is taught. We are to do good whether or not the recipient deserves it.
Our good behavior has the ability to reveal our Savior and Father to those around us. Jesus Christ says we are to “let [our] light shine before others, so that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16, ESV). Remember the old cliché, “Actions speak louder than words.” By our actions, they will know that we are children of God, therefore:
Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil” (1 Pet 3:9-12, referring to Psalm 34:12-16, NLT).
Now, I must put a warning here. Just because we do good to others doesn’t mean we shall receive good back from them. Sometimes people just don’t care, but that doesn’t mean we should stop doing good. “Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” (1 Pet 3:17, NLT).