Doing Good, or avoiding Evil


                “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.” (Mathew 7: 12.)


                This verse has commonly become known as ‘The Golden Rule.’  There were a number of philosophers and spiritual guru’s throughout history who stated something similar to this rule, but with a fundamental difference; all of them phrased it in the negative; for example, “Do not do to others, what you would not want others to do to you.”  Because of their negative phrasing, they were all in opposition to the rule Jesus stated in this verse.  He phrased it in the positive, meaning, “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.”  Those philosophers had made the avoidance of evil their main focus.  Jesus placed the focus on the good actions to be done, rather than the evil to be avoided; instead of trying to not steal from others, he would have everyone give to others (a spirit of generosity automatically negates the spirit that moves a man to steal.)  Instead of trying to avoid speaking negatively about others, or gossiping, the disciples of the Lord were to say good things about people (a person can remain silent all day and avoid speaking evil, but their silence would also make it impossible for them to say anything good.)  Instead of trying not to lie, Jesus required that the lies be replaced with active attempts to speak the truth. 

I have had a number of opportunities to interact with Buddhists.  The most enlightened ones are the ones that spend a great deal of time in meditation.  Some even become monks, who live in monasteries and sit alone in silence and meditate for days on end.  These monks make sure to not step on any bugs, or living things, because they believe this to be evil.  They believe the avoidance of evil makes them good.  In essence, they become ‘shut-ins’ who avoid doing evil, but in their isolation they become incapable of doing the most good.  Jesus made it clear that to not do good was to do evil.  The monks who spend ten hours a day in meditation might be wasting time they could have used to love others, reach out to others, and give to others; and in turn, those ten hours they were not doing good, might become ten hours of evil (the very means by which they attempt to avoid evil (going in to seclusion), can become the very thing that creates evil in their lives.  (We are all guilty refusing to do good, not just Buddhist monks; if we are all guilty, we are all called to change.)

                Today, examine the areas of your life where you are not doing good, and there you will find the presence of evil.  When God gives you the opportunity to be kind, if you are not kind you have transgressed against God.  If you are focused on not sinning, remember that you are sinning if you are not doing good.  You might make it through the whole day without lusting, swearing, or even thinking a bad thought, but if you have done nothing good for another person you have fallen short of the glory of God.  Jesus said, “Let your good deeds so shine before men, that others look at you and glorify your Father in heaven.”  How long does it take to smile at another person; how long does it take to ask about their day?  How long does it take to buy a meal for someone, or give to the needy?  How many minutes does it take to say a prayer for someone while you are driving?  How long does it take to text message a scripture or loving message to a friend, or enemy?  How long does it take to care for your family, or give to a stranger?  How much effort does it take to buy a gift for someone, or visit a person who is sick?  Is it difficult to pick up a piece of trash, or to hold a door open for someone?  There are more good acts that can be done daily than can be numbered.  The key is, stop focusing on not missing the mark, and start trying to hit it!  Begin to love others with the kind of love that crosses boundaries and disarms the strong.  Let’s show others the love of God; the love that God himself has shown us.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask and pray that You would please help us to remain proactive in our faith, and to focus on actions we can take to love others, and to show others Your love.  If we are trying to avoid evil without focusing on doing good, please help us to change.  Open our hearts and our minds to new possibilities and help us to not be afraid to cross the boundaries you have not set.  Give us discernment and hearts eager to do good.  Help us to minister to others, and to show Your love to a world full of people who need to see it.  We love You Father, we thank You and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God Bless all of you.

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