Psalm 141:4 (NIV)
Lord, do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil.
Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
It’s one thing to refrain from evil. It’s quite another actually to do good. You may struggle with both sides of this coin – especially if you battle a so-called pet sin. But far more often it seems we fail to do the good we ought to do. Rather than stumbling into evil actions, we stumble along ignoring the good things we should do. Like the Pharisee and Levite in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, we walk by on the other side rather than getting down in the trenches with others in need.
Sometimes we may not know whether our help is actually helping; there is a fine line between helping and enabling. That is especially true when it comes to helping adults who should be able to take care of themselves. It is especially true of relating to those who are addicted, or who have adopted a lifestyle that puts them in constant crisis.
More often on a day to day basis, however, the choices are not that subtle. Yes we should help our coworker who is struggling to understand a new procedure that we have figured out. It is good to help a neighbor gather the garbage that has been scattered across the street by a stray dog; even if you are running late for work.
Our hearts are too easily drawn to evil: selfishness, self-centeredness, and judgmentalism. These can all too easily prevent us from doing good. Hearts that are regularly refreshed by the love of Jesus are more ready to reject evil desires and embrace opportunities to do good. That’s why Jesus’ example is not just an example, it is the source of our own favor and security, hope, and motive for doing good.