The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between political parties either -
but right through every human heart. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
There is within us all an inborn desire to be acceptable, to look good. For some, it’s more about looking good than it is about doing good, much less being good. This was the long, flowing robe the Pharisees tripped over.
Jesus was there in the midst of them, doing good. He healed a man with a ‘withered,’ useless hand... in the temple…on the Sabbath. Maybe it’s the questions he asks. “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath?” They were silent. “After looking around at them with anger and sorrow at the hardness of their hearts, He told the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored” (Mark 3:5 HCSB). Something snapped beneath their phylacteries. “At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus” (verse 6 NLT).
What was so bad about doing good? What made them so angry that they wanted to kill Him? Only one thing: He made them look bad. Maybe He wasn’t trying to make them look bad, but He wasn’t going to stop doing good to make them look good. He went right on continuing to do good.
Have you noticed that while you’re concentrating on doing good, others are trying to make you look bad? It’s downright… hurtful. You’re 10,000 miles away from home, living in the basest of conditions to try to help people who would never otherwise have what you can bring them. You’re following the rules of the game, while some hot dog is getting all the attention by breaking them. You’ve worked seven years and have a proven success record everyone should be happy with, but the new boss tells the board it's not good enough. Your voice is being heard in places you never dreamed about while locals tell you you don't fit in and the pros ask how much you're making. You’re sacrificing yourself and your family by working hard to hold things together, while others are trying to tear them apart. But most importantly, by doing good, you are making somebody else look bad, and they don’t like it. So, they call you a poor example of a teacher, force their way past you onto the court, tell the board your best isn’t good enough, give the job to someone unqualified, put their pictures up on the wall, and strengthen their position by telling everyone else an absolute lie.
May 30, 2003 - The volunteer firemen knew they couldn’t save the buildings from the blaze,
but they continued to pour water on the smoldering remains of Milford, DE’s historic district.
Discouraged? Angry? Be encouraged by the fact that the good you are doing is being noticed…it’s making the other guys look bad!
Take another look at the story in Mark’s gospel. The example of our faith didn’t waste any time trying to defend Himself or prove His righteousness. He just went on out to the lake and hired a boat so He could talk to the crowd that had gathered from all over the region, because they heard about the good things he was doing.
Yes, it hurts! It feels bad to be made to look bad when you know you’re doing good and they’re doing bad but looking good. But, the bottom line is this: God is refining you and cutting away the part of you that wants to look good. Let Him finish the work. There’s a crowd watching and waiting. Rejoice!
And blessed are you, blessed are all of you, when people persecute you or denigrate you or despise you or tell lies about you on My account. But when this happens, rejoice. Be glad. Remember that God’s prophets have been persecuted in the past. And know that in heaven, you have a great reward. The Voice
But beware of doing your good actions in the sight of men, in order to attract their gaze; if you do, there is no reward for you with your Father who is in Heaven. Weymouth New Testament
Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head;
Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies;
What I did not steal, I then have to restore…
Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick.
And I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
And for comforters, but I found none…
And for comforters, but I found none…
The humble have seen it and are glad;You who seek God, let your heart revive. NASB