April 25, 2008
Striving for the 'Atta-Boy'?
by Fred Albert, Crosswalk.com Manager of Communities
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.
I had an interesting start to my week. While I was going about my work, I ended up assisting in the capture of a purse snatcher. He was young and afraid.
I am grateful to report that the episode ended without anyone getting hurt. I am also thankful for those who gave me assistance in apprehending this young misguided juvenile.
I spent a good part of the rest of the day analyzing everything. How could I have reacted differently? What would I do if it ever happened again?
Several of my colleagues expressed their appreciation, some even hailing me as a hero.
I do not consider myself a hero, nor do I consider this a particularly heroic act. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and reacted in a way that brought the situation to a safe close.
Do I deserve special praise or recognition? No, I don’t think so.
I did what was right.
I did what was honorable.
I think sometimes our society is excessively stuck on rewarding doing the right thing when, in truth, we ought to be doing the right thing because it is right; because it is honorable. Our children want to know "what is in it for me?" This is wrong! We shouldn't need to bribe them to do the right thing. They ought to be raised to do the right thing because it honorable and right not because of what they will gain financially or otherwise. Instead our society offers bribes for good things and honors those who do wrong.
I'm not saying that we should not praise, reward, or honor those who have done right, but rather that the motivations of such people should be honorable.
John put it this way: "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."
That's a pretty harsh statement. I can delight in doing right not for the sake of recognition but because it helps identify me as a child of God.
Our verse from James puts it even more plainly. If you fail to do what you know is good then it is to you, sin.
Have you wrestled with doing the right thing in a particular circumstance recently? Don't resist any longer. By doing the right thing you may influence someone else to also do the right thing.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Secretly do something good for someone and don't tell anyone you've done it. Let it be an act of good between you and your Creator.