Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Good Way

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? … Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 3:14-17.

Okay, we have all been the giver of this and the recipient of this scenario. We are in public having ourselves a nice day when we bump into someone we know and ask them how they are. They proceed to break down naming the burdens for which they face for that day or even that painful season in their lives. We can feel it in our stomach…you know the feeling. We feel bombarded and even a little irritated by their ambush of emotions. Our physical body language changes and our mind races through the possibilities of a quick exit. We consider what acceptable dialogue will tie this conversation up with a quick little bow tied with fractional mercy. We might even tell them, ‘I hope things get better; I will pray for you,’ only to catch a good sale in the corner of our eye. How many times a day do we comment on someone’s facebook, ‘Praying for you’ only to keep reading the news feed and combing through the lives of others? WHAT GOOD IS IT?

When we are the recipient of this treatment we feel betrayed by our audience when they part with an empty ‘Go, hope you have a good day and things get better.’ Our burdens and emotions have just taken another hit on a day that had no more space for pain. We ask ourselves, WHAT GOOD WAS IT to open our suffering to our sister or brother in Christ? 

Mercy and action do not have to cost anything! It is free from the One who already paid the price. Mercy has many ways to manifest itself if we allow ourselves to mentally and emotionally hear our sufferer through the ears of God. Sometimes our action may require our willingness to pray at that moment…with that person…in that public place. Some of the most precious and uplifting times have been when I have heard my name lifted to God from the mouth of someone else right at the time of discouragement. 

We must take one step further than whatever our mind defaults to when dealing with the pain of others. Instead of our brother or sister shaking their heads as they walk away from us saying, ‘What good was that?’ let’s give them the opportunity to say as they depart ‘Now that was good!’

Faith without action is like a car without gas. It goes nowhere and stays stranded on the side of the road missing most of the journey. When Godly action is taken, mercy has conceived, God’s comfort is activated and faith expands…NOW THAT IS GOOD!

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