Do good to all people

Do good to all people

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. – Proverbs 3:27

Galatians 6:9-10

 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

David Nott has seen humanity at its worse. As a humanitarian war zone surgeon for nearly 30 years, the British doctor has treated the victims of barrel bombs in Syria, snipers in Bosnia, child abuse in Sudan. He once removed a detonator from a woman’s leg; another time the nurse standing next to him was killed by a bullet.

“Conflict work was the only thing that made me feel alive,” he says, describing the experience as “joyous.” The key to staying safe in the middle of a war zone, says the doctor known as “the Indiana Jones of Surgery,” is developing ties to the embattled people in these communities. You can’t stop human bullets or bombs,” he says, “but you can develop relationships with people whereby they don’t want you to die” or “be in a situation whereby your life is at risk.”

He has treated the consequences of human beings at their monstrous worse but says he has also witnessed extraordinary kindness, loyalty, and honor. “There are some people who use their power to make things better and have a positive effect on people’s lives,” he says and “there are others who use power to destroy everything around them.” But he still believes “the majority of humans are good” (Staying Alive in a War Zone, The Week March 13, 2020).

What is good? The dictionary defines it as something which is morally excellent, virtuous, righteous, of high quality or excellent There is a goodness which is good in and of itself. It is a quality. This would include the quality of excellence, being exceptional, appealing, delightful, enjoyable, nice, or pleasant.

There is a kind of good that looks at the outcome or consequences of an action. Does the action provide benefits or well-being? Synonyms for good are advantageous, beneficial, constructive, profitable, suitable, helpful, appropriate, desirable, fitting, effective, or fruitful.

REFLECT & PRAY

“Instead of looking for a place to quit, we should be looking for another place to start!” (Boles)

Father I confess and affirm that it is right to do good and eschew evil. In coming alongside of others, I seek not merely to serve, but to do it joyfully. I do not want to do it begrudgingly. But rather, may it be an invigorating, uplifting spiritual and physical experience. Please work out what You have placed within.  

INSIGHT

The Father has given the responsibility of doing good to others to all of His children. This is the heart of practical Christian living and ethics. The ethics of the Father’s children have a dual focus: one is universal and all-embracing, “Let us do good to all people;” the other is particular and specific, “especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Timothy George).

On one hand, the Father shows no partiality, so neither should His children. But on the other hand, doing good for others is a family affair. The larger family is the family of mankind which includes all people on planet Earth. The much smaller family, the family of God, the Father’s children.

Whenever or wherever the children of the King have forgotten this prime directive, they often become filled with blind prejudice and bigotry. For one reason or another, people tend to be tribal. And of course, “their tribe” is better than all of the other tribes. The Father’s children are required to do good to all persons whether or not they are Christians. But we have a particular obligation to do good especially to those already in the Father’s family. There is a bit of tension here that each of us has to work through. We are to be ready to do good to all people, but we have a more compelling demand to care for the fellow members of our Forever Family.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are all part of the same Forever Family. There is a much greater bond between them than exists with mankind in general. We share common interest and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior. We will be together for all eternity with Him.

The Greek language contains two different words that are both often translated into English as good. One is used in Galatians 6:9, the other in Galatians 6:10.

The first Greek word is kalos  found in the phrase kalon poiountes which is literally “well-being.” Kalos has the sense of noble, praiseworthy, beautiful, admirable, healthy, fit, well, or moral excellence (Galatians 6:9).

The second Greek term is agathos. Agathos  has to do with doing good for the benefit of others. It has the sense of being useful, upright, and honorable (Galatians 6:10).

If we choose not to do good or commit to being good what are the consequences? Often, we develop a negative attitude and become cynical. For such people most everything is “sour grapes.” Sadly, “Many of God’s people die bitter, old people. They have allowed life to sour them. They permit criticism to defeat them. This plays right into the Devil’s hands” (Richison). Such folks become suspicious, contemptuous, fearful, and disapproving.

The Father has laid down a high standard for all of His children.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

How is this possible for us as mere human beings with flaws and a strong streak of self-centeredness? The Father offers a simple solution. It involves a change of focus and a significant paradigm shift.

Hebrews 12:2,3

 2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

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