Many many times in this world, utilizing the eyeballs in our heads, we do not see rewards for good deeds done. Sometimes, more often now than before in our upside down world where wrong is celebrated and right is belittled we are ridiculed or accosted for good deeds. Often, there is a wonder at why we should bother doing good deeds when they are ignored, unappreciated, punished. I wondered that today once. Why bother? No one cares either way. No one even notices. My employer of old used to say that appreciation only exists until the customer steps outside so don’t do any favors. I completely ignored his cynicism and continued to help when I could. Why? Why bother? The easy answer is because I follow the teachings of Christ Jesus. The Bible tells me to do good deeds. Why? To be applauded and appreciated by man? Nope. We do good deeds because we are told to for the sake of God’s kingdom which is greater than any one of us. We work for God. He is the One we are serving and obeying. And guess what. He has promised an eternity of rewards for those unappreciated and persecuted good deeds done here on this earth. I would much rather have an eternity (which is a very very long time) with peace and reward from the Creator than years of praise from other created beings. If you look at it that way, with an eternal perspective, it becomes much much easier to do the right thing in life.
“God’s word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.” – Hebrews 4:12
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17
“Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:19-20
I believe that when we are wounded by another person, it is like we are struck by an arrow shot from their quiver. Now, the arrow may have been intentionally let loose at you or may have been accidentally or inadvertantly shot at you. Regardless, you have been hit by the arrow and it is now stuck there. Ouch. If left there, it will cause further pain or infection or loss of blood and thus circulation. If the shooter realizes what he has done and its ramifications and is humble enough to apologize and you accept, he thus removes the arrow and both are restored to health, a little wiser maybe. Now if the shooter is not humble and may or may not even understand the wound inflicted, the arrow remains. It festers, it hurts, it becomes infected, it requires so much energy to keep it there that lethargy ensues and the one shot becomes immobilized, suspended there in time and attention, less and less useful to anyone else as time goes by. For an arrow stuck in your body becomes worse over time and not better as some have claimed. So, can anything be done? Yes, the shot one can choose to forgive the unrepentant shooter in maturity and humbleness and wisdom and so doing pulls the arrow out himself and allows healing salve onto the wound. The scar will remain but so will the growth of character and strength. Such is the way of forgiveness and wounds. The arrow is the hurt inflicted. Forgiving someone removes the hurt and frees you from a slow death of sorts. Freedom and good health comes from forgiveness, whether the shooter deserves it. The point is that forgiveness frees you from being captive to the pain. And when you forgive and the arrow is removed and disposed of, the hurter may come around and realize and be saved by it. Or your generous act of forgiveness will create a sense of guilt in him that will be a punishment for years to come. The arrow thus returns to its shooter to induce some response. God sees everything. He forgives freely and expects, no demands that we forgive. It is because He knows this arrow principle. It is the absolute best thing in the world for everyone involved for you to let it go and forgive. That doesn’t mean you stand in front of a drawn bow again but it means you understand that God is in control of the situation and is perfectly capable of handling it.
Media can be good or bad. It can help teach and train. It can manipulate and distract. One steals joy.
Friends and family can be good or bad. They can uplift and encourage and love. They can discourage, distract and abuse. One type steals joy.
You get the picture. Everything in life has the ability to steal joy if we allow it.
The good, no great news is that we are the gate keepers. We can let in the thieves or we can turn the away at the door of our minds. We cannot under something, though, so we still have to li it what comes in. However, we can say that we will not watch this or that or hangout with this person or that one if they are characteristically trying to steal your joy.
And the more fabulous news is that we can strengthen our joy by staying in God’s Word and prayer. Joy does not co e from outside, though it may be robbed if we let it. Joy is an internal thing. And joy is power. The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Think of that. Power comes from joy.
There is a strong connection between joy and peace. Both are internal and God given. Both are very very good for us in every way. Both co next us with God and His power. So everything of His (the Bible, conversations and prayers, His creation of nature) all strengthen joy and peace. Those are what we have to focus on in good times and during very dark days. This is hope.
“Give me back the joy of your salvation. Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit.” – Psalm 51:12