Saturday, January 10, 2009
Learn To Do Good!
Today there seem to be many who prefer deceit or trickery to presenting what good reasons they have for what they do or for what they say should be done. Or at best some will only give their opinion about what should be done, based usually on what they already do, but not for any other good reasons than how they "feel" or based on what they personally desire. Alright, then just what is so bad about doing good? If there is nothing bad with doing good then where is all the exposure for learning to do good? While it may seem out of place at times, ask yourself, "Why does doing good ever seem out of place?" We might differ on what is "good" (but, see below), yet should not what we each consider "good" be presented as good in either case?
Usually (at least in my case) it is because something bad is present in or around us that makes what many consider "good" (such as honesty, being respectful, or working at keeping oneself in control in one of many ways) hard to find in so many places. But the solution is not to keep making it hard to do or find the good that so many of us want in ourselves and in others. The solution is, I believe, learning to do good by doing good things.
The expression "learn to do good" is actually from the Bible, from the book of Isaiah, Chapter 1, verse 17. There the God Jah is recorded as speaking to those people whom he called his own, though they were at this time rebellious for no good reasons. So Jah said to them, "Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow" (NRSV). These are good things! They are also the kinds of things that make Jah God happy! Indeed, Jesus of Nazareth showed great care and compassion for just such people.--Matthew 14:14; Mark 6:34.
Should we not at least try and do more of these things today, no matter how much we may personally struggle with our own badness'? Many do. I believe we can all "learn to do good" by doing good, and that we should do good and define what good is based on good reasons, for the alternative is to live with what we are not sure is either good or bad, but accepting it nonetheless in our lives though we do not make other decisions about less important choices in this same way. So we must both come to know and do what we have reasons to believe is good, if we want to do good, that is. At least that is what I am trying to do, each day, no matter how hard each day may be, at times.--Romans 7:19-25.
Specific to Christians, there are many things we can do today to help others while we at the same time work on bettering ourselves, strengthening our families and communities, and of course standing up for what we believe is true for good reasons. But if we find that all we ever do for the sake of the Christ is debate about what is true, then I believe we are missing out not simply on opportunities to do good, but we are also not truly learning to do good by practicing things like those that Jah God himself mentions in Isaiah 1:17. These include 'seeking justice,' 'rescuing the oppressed,' 'defending orphans,' and 'standing up for widows.' Most if not all of us would consider these things "good" if we were the one in need of justice, if we were the one being oppressed, if we were the orphan in need of protection, or if we were a widow in need. Why, then, do we not do these same things for others? Indeed, why isn't the doing of "good" learned more so than it is today?
We can change that in many ways, but primarily by in fact doing what we say should be learned and then done. When we do what we have good reasons to believe is "good" that is how we can in part experience what it means to be "Christian," or what it means to follow in the steps of Jesus, for he was known to others as one who welcomed children (Matthew 19:13-15), as one who showed compassion for those who were suffering (Mark 1:40-42), and as one who took the time to look out for and to feed those who were hungry (Matthew 15:32). That is Jesus of Nazareth, the one Christians call "Christ." But who are we? Sinners, for sure. Yet, we can still do more. Indeed, if we can learn to do "bad," then we can "learn to do good." We just need to be sure we're not confusing the "good" we want to learn with the "bad" we know all too unfortunately well.--Compare Proverbs 17:13; Isaiah 5:20.
If we can all do more in these ways then, according to Jah God, we will "learn to do good" and that, more so than anything else except trust and reliance on Jah himself, will help us all to "cease to do evil" (Isaiah 1:16). Again, we all do enough of that as it is! It's time to add more that is "good" to the world around us, and to those close to us. To learn more about how you can help those in need or be more involved in the Christian ministry of the Christian Witnesses of Jah in your area, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will do what I can to help you assist those close to you, or to set up a local outreach to others who need help.
Posted by Greg Stafford at 5:41 AM