Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Doing Good When It Looks Bad




As one of his requirements in the Cub Scouts, our son Christopher needed to pick up trash in our neighborhood. It was a part of the requirement dealing with learning to care for creation.

Yesterday, I told our son that it was time to meet this requirement. However, he absolutely did not want to pick up trash. When I asked why he didn't want to do it, he replied, "Everyone will think I'm in jail!"

In our community, inmates pick up the trash on the streets as a form of community service. Christopher did not want to be mistaken for an inmate.

His reaction made sense, but he picked up the trash anyway.

Later, I explained that we need to have the courage to do the right thing even when it looks like we're doing something wrong. After all, Mary, the mother of Jesus, looked like she had done something wrong when she was carrying the baby Jesus even though she was not married. In addition, Jesus often looked like he was doing something wrong when he healed someone on the Sabbath or associated with sinful people at a meal. However, in the cases of both Mary and Jesus, they were doing good. And God was pleased, even though others misunderstood.

It's okay to look like you've done something wrong. Just make sure that you've done something good.

"Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil" (1 Peter 3:13-17).

7 comments:

reborn1995 said...

Awesome post.

i think all kinds of 'avoid-negative-appearances' rules have poisoned Christians against the thought of all kinds of good deeds.

--guy

Terry said...

Thanks, Guy. I think you have a good point.

reborn1995 said...

Terry,

Surely you've heard these sorts of "uncleanness" rules from CoC people before, eh?

You shouldn't even walk across the parking lot of the liquor store in case people get the impression that you drink.
You shouldn't wear shorts anywhere on church property in case anyone gets the impression that the congregation endorses immodesty.
You shouldn't dress in ways that resembles any subculture that people dislike or have bad impressions of so they won't automatically have those same bad impressions of you.

Etc. etc. etc.

At the end of the day, it's just a bunch of 'baptized' prejudice, isn't it?

--guy

Terry said...

Yes, I've seen some extra-biblical rules enforced in churches at times. I probably even live by some myself without realizing it. I understand the concern about maintaining a good reputation since the Bible teaches the value of a good reputation (especially for elders). However at the same time, we can't allow other people's perceptions of us dictate our behavior. As I was trying to teach my son, it's more important to do the right thing than to be perceived as doing the right thing. Thanks for your good comments on this topic, Guy!

reborn1995 said...

Terry,

Your son sounds like an incredible young man. May just be well on his way to doing great things for Christ's kingdom. =o)

--guy

D.J. Hughes said...

Great post! I love the correlation.

Our son starts cub scouts next year. We're looking forward to it.

Terry said...

I hope you son enjoys it as much as our son does. Thanks, D.J.!