Summary: God is good and we are not unless we become born again through Christ. Once we become Christians we need to discern what is good and then once we know what is good we need to do what is good. Today we'll look at some responses we need to have to goodness.
THAT'S GOOD! (part three)
God is good and we are not unless we become born again through Christ. Once we become Christians we need to discern what is good and then once we know what is good we need to do what is good. Today we'll look at some responses we need to have to goodness.
1) We need to respond to goodness with good.
The bible talks about repaying good with evil. Cain and Abel. Abel's actions were righteous but Cain was jealous, so he killed him. He responded to Abel's goodness with evil. Jesus dealt with that too. Jesus was good but the Pharisees hated him. They dealt with Jesus' goodness by having him tortured and killed. David dealt with people returning evil for good.
Psalm 38:19-20, "Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous. Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good."
Have you ever been in this position? People hating you without any good reason? You pursue what is good and people are antagonistic toward you because of it? David not only dealt with that in general, but even with those who were his so-called friends.
Psalm 109:1-5, "O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship."
Have you ever been betrayed by a friend? Maybe they stole your boyfriend or spread nasty rumors about you. Perhaps they turned on you or they abandoned you when you needed them most. David asked God to do something about it.
He said he was a man of prayer. That needs to be our response. Go to God in prayer and ask him to handle it. That doesn't mean we don't confront the situation but as far as lashing out or getting even, we need to restrain ourselves and let God deal with it.
There are times when we do something good and it isn't appreciated or worse-it gets paid back with evil. They may accuse us of having an ulterior motive or maybe they take advantage of our goodness; they deceive and manipulate us to get more.
This can also happen when someone is generous and in response the recipient takes more when he isn't looking. That's a greedy response to someone's generosity. That's how people can be toward God. He blesses us with good things but maybe we don't have the good response we should.
Luke 12:15-21, "Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
This man was given goodness from God but instead of doing good with it he only thought of himself. When the Lord blesses us with good things how do we repay him? Do we honor him by helping others or are we selfish and keep it all to ourselves?
When someone doesn't appreciate our goodness or if they return evil for good we will be tempted to lash out and return evil for their evil. That's a hard thing to resist doing. It's one thing to return good for good or to not return evil for evil but the harder thing to do is to return good for evil.
To respond with goodness when someone does something bad to us takes a lot of humility, strength and love. The golden rule is to do to others as you would like them to do to us.
Isn't that what grace is? Mercy is not treating someone as their actions deserve. I might be allowed compensation but being merciful means I choose to forego what is owed to me. Grace goes a step further. In grace I actually respond to your evil by doing something good to you.