Hebrews 13:16 (The Living Bible)
Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to [God].
It’s an interesting statement: Don’t forget to do good. In other words, remind yourself to follow God’s ways. Don’t get caught up in your own agenda, but consider what good and right and helpful action you might take in every situation and relationship.
This advice can be difficult to heed, especially when others treat us badly. How easy it is to “forget” to do good to those who have betrayed us, offended us, or cheated us. Yet we need no reminding about how to lash back in anger or to nurse a grudge or to speak disparagingly about our offender. Apparently, doing good isn’t as natural for our fleshly hearts as are defending our rights or protecting our pride. Perhaps that’s why the author of Hebrews calls doing good a sacrifice.
Learning to do good to those who (we think) deserve less is a heavenly discipline. Jesus boldly introduced a new way of dealing with relationship conflict when he told his disciples, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Turning away from what’s natural and following God’s way requires practice. We are bound to make mistakes and take some wrong turns. But God promises strength and grace to help us obey him and the joy of knowing that our sacrifice gives him pleasure and makes us holy.
FATHER, even though I know your way is better, I confess I withhold goodness from people who have offended me. I want to change that. Help me to “remember” the right and good thing to do when I am tempted to repay evil for evil. Give me boldness to act in ways that run counter to my old habits and natural inclinations. By your grace, remake my heart so I can love my enemies and repay good for the evil I receive.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17; Matthew 5:43-44
What might help you “remember” to do good?