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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Do Gooders - on a Mission from God!

Do Gooders! You know the type.  Always out there campaigning for "peace not war", for refugees, for human rights and the list goes on.  Do Gooders!  Usually those left wing, chardonnay sipping types who have adopted John Lennon's Imagine as their manifesto.

Do Gooders!  Defined by the Free Online Dictionary as naive idealists who support philanthropic or humanitarian causes or reforms.

The term "do gooder" is often used disparagingly by conservative voters to criticise those of us who actually believe that people can and should live together in peace, that people deserve to be treated with dignity - "to do to others as we would have them do to us".   Oh, isn't that a quote from the bible? Yes, actually, Jesus said it in Matthew 7:12.

Could it be that Jesus was a Do Gooder?  After all, he saved that adulteress from being stoned by an angry mob, even though stoning is what the law called for.  Could it be that Jesus wasn't too hung up on punishment, but on delivering mercy, compassion, justice and love?

Man, what a Do Gooder!

But then He was the Son of God!  Perhaps that excuses his mild and meek, do gooder attitude!  Although mild and meek doesn't explain Jesus at all.  It was He who threw the money changers out of the temple for perverting the place of God. 

Jesus came to save us from damnation, from Hell, from condemnation.  The world is in balance.  Physically and Spiritually.  Physical balance was described by Isaac Newton with his three laws of motion; you know, equal and opposite forces etc etc.  

Spiritually the world is in balance too: God and Satan, Heaven and Hell, sin and payment for sin.  The bible says that the wages of sin is death.  Spiritual death.  Spiritual death being eternal separation from God.  You sin, you go to Hell. One way to pay for sin was a blood sacrifice, usually a lamb, but that is so Old Testament.  Jesus became the Lamb of God and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, even going to Hell and rising 3 days later from death.  This is why we say that Christians are saved.  We are saved from Hell because Jesus went there in our place.  We deserved to go Hell, but God through his love for us showed us grace that we did not deserve by sending Jesus to pay for our sins.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17).

What has this to do with "do gooders"? 

Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us exactly what this has to do with Do Gooders:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What are these good works that God has prepared for us?

These are just some of the good works that we have been called to do:
  • Spread the good news.  Gospel literally means "good news".  What better way to do good than to spread good news.  Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you ...".  One of those things we should be teaching, is to do good!
  • Caring for the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the stranger.  There are over 2,000 scriptures which refer to caring for the poor.  When the bible refers to the stranger, it means strangers in the land: travellers, immigrants, refugees!  The parable of the sheep and the goats, described in Matthew 25:31-46 which is summarised in verse 34-35 "inherit the kingdom prepared for you ... for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to Me."
  • Making peace, not war.  In the beatitudes which Jesus delivered in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-11), He says "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
  • Love everyone.  In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus explains that the law is summed up in two great commandments: "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind ... and ... you shall love your neighbour as yourself ".  It doesn't say to love your neighbour if they are the same colour and religion as you.  Love your neighbour!
  • Do Good!
Just to clarify.  We are not saved by good works, but to do good works!

Why has the role of  "do gooder" been left to the left wing?  Why are conservatives and the religious right so opposed to Do Gooders?  This isn't to say that the left is perfect and the right is going to hell.  The right wing certainly have their virtues as do the left wing.  The issue is with using "do gooder" as an insult, when it should be a compliment.

Christians are by commandment of God, called to be Do Gooders and we should be leading the way in doing good works, we should be teaching the world how to do good.

After all, Jesus set the standard for doing good.


This article has also been published at 'The Christian Left' blog:

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