Not Easy, but Good

Amos 5:14

Seek good and not evil, that you may live. 

1 Corinthians 16:14

Let all that you do be done in love. 

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Sometimes the good we are to do is obvious: Forgive someone who has sinned against you. Help someone out of a jam. Provide a meal for a family who lost a loved-one. Help out after a local catastrophe. These may or may not be easily done, but they would certainly be considered good and loving things.

Then comes the challenge of motive and the nuances of determining what actually is good and loving. Is giving someone on the street a $20 bill a good thing? Is it loving? Or does it simply sustain a lifestyle that is harmful and wrong? Is covering for a fellow employee who habitually takes a long lunch break a loving thing, or is it really an act of convenience? Is my motive for speaking truth to power one of love, or do I get a charge out of taking on those who are supposedly powerful? The list can go on ad infinitum.

If love is to be the motive for what we do and how we treat others, then there will be those times when doing good is difficult. This says nothing of the temptation to ignore the friend who is in a jam, or to pass by on the other side when it is not convenient to do good. We simply need to get outside ourselves and do the good thing we know we should do.

Sometimes we will have mixed motives. Sometimes we will miss the opportunity. Sometimes we will yield to temptation. That is why the very good thing that Jesus did for us 2000 years ago is so vitally important. He not only gave the example by way of his life, and showed us what it means to love God and neighbor by his teaching, he died for us who don’t do it right and fail along the way. His loving sacrifice is the ultimate good, and inspires us to imitate him. It’s not easy. But it is good.

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