Part of living out Micah 6:8 is a willingness to do good. John Wesley has a famous quote:
Doing good is an active way of participating in the life God is living here and now. We do good not to earn or merit God’s blessing, but to partner with God in what He is doing. God is always doing good. God’s energy is always directed at contributing good, generating good, and transforming what is harmful into good. To do good is simply to live in harmony with God.
At GUMY we define love as “choosing and doing the good for another”. To be loving is to do what is good and best for others, and for ourselves. Oftentimes our general position is to do harm towards others, or to treat others with indifference. This is contrary to God’s design and hopes. When we treat another with hostility, or indifference, we are neglecting their good, and therefore, treating them with something that is not love. Sometimes doing the good means engaging in what is difficult and tense. Actually, a lot of times doing what is good will lead to conflict. For example, if a young child wants to stick a fork in the electrical outlet, or put their hand on a hot stove the loving and good thing to do is to ensure that they do not do that. They might cry and scream and yell at you because you are interfering with what they want, but you recognize that it isn’t healthy, helpful or safe for them to do.
The word “good” stems from the Latin word, “bene”. It is where the words benefit, beneficiary, benefactor, benevolent, and benediction come from. A benefactor is someone who does something good for a receiver, a beneficiary. A benediction is a proclamation of the good upon and over others. Is what we are doing, saying and thinking a proclamation of what is beneficial?
Doing normal and ordinary things with a hopeful, cheerful, and kind demeanor is often a simple way of contributing good to others. But, if you’re looking for some ideas of tangible acts of kindness, here is a short list that you and your family can do over the next month or two. Pick one to do a day, or pick one to do for the week. I’d recommend actually putting it on the calendar and scheduling it. What gets scheduled gets done.
When you see an opportunity for good, or when you wake up in the morning thinking about what the open day has in store, remember this quote from Etienne de Grellet, a Quaker Missionary:
“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Next week we’ll talk about one simple yet challenging act of good that we can all do, and that is: do no harm.