I have yet to find great pleasure in doing good. I mean aside from knowing you are doing right before the Lord, it doesn’t seem to pay. And, I know this sounds negative but I think it is Biblical. It’s also my experience. You have heard the saying “No good dead will go unpunished!” Yes, it is kind of cynical.
Ok. Then what should we expect for kindness and mercy. I think appreciation, thanks, reciprocation, and grace are a list of natural results we would expect. But, these are more rare than a volunteer at church.
Not to long ago I traveled to help a couple in marital distress. It cost me a week of time and $1,000. I nurtured both them and gave them Biblical wisdom to overcome their divisions. After a couple of weeks I received various text messages of vitriol and venom from one of the couple. I didn’t respond to them but wow! It kind of hurt but I guess I’m used to it!
Now this is not the only time this has happened. The truth is that most of those I help are rarely thankful. I do not think they appreciate the effort, time and money it costs to care for them. I’ve very rarely found any reciprocation. And I think if I were in distress they might actually concoct how I must be being punished by God for some hidden sin (this has happened too). And grace is a rarity! If I mess up or there is even the slightest perceived misstep, in their mind it is merely a proof of how truly wicked I am.
But why? Now I know that the Lord said we would be hated and mistreated. And, I know that is enough to understand the phenomenon but what are the mechanisms at play. Simply put, when you help someone they often feel small and guilty to some degree. In the shame caused by pride (for their receiving the gift) comes accusation, abuse and avoidance.
Many of us have experienced this with money. You know, you loan money to a friend and they drag their feet in paying you, telling themselves they’ll get you next time. As you wait they avoid you because they do not want to be confronted by the debt. You may not even say a word, but they are on the run, avoiding you. After a while come the accusation, tearing you down and looking at your perceived misdeeds as reason for not paying you back quickly. As a result of this many of us have said, that we do not loan money but we will give it and this is to avoid this weird phenomenon just described.
So what do we do? First let’s look at what we know. We have to give and care for others because the Lord told us to. Good! We have to do right even if we may be abused. Ok! We can expect the mistreatment and we can’t repay evil for evil so we just keep taking the blows, right!
Now, I’m not afraid to let the person know that they shouldn’t abuse others in this way, if I’m given the chance. But, this “chance” rarely comes because the victim of our love will be in the avoidance mode and If something is said to reconcile it is often twisted by the perverse recipient of love. A real dead end, sometimes making things worse.
It is tough to keep your chin up when abused but it is what the Lord did. We will suffer gracefully as he did. Father forgive them for they know not what they do is what He said and what we emulate.
This ultimately gives us a chance to obey the Lord and know Him more intimately. Oh yeah I forgot about the rejoicing part. I think forgot to do that a lot. As a matter of fact, I think I always forget to rejoice. So for my spiritual benefit, I will rejoice right now!