Proverbs 3:27 (New International Version)
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
The Message translates the above passage this way: Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.
It’s a wondrous responsibility, being God’s hand for a particular person in a particular situation. And the truth is, sometimes we don’t feel like handing out goodness, especially to people who have hurt, angered, or offended us.
It’s important to realize that the sort of goodness the Bible talks about is more than kindness and generous words. Goodness is the very nature of God that we take on when we choose to follow him. Goodness is our ideal self, the image into which God’s Spirit is shaping us as we submit our hearts for his correction and healing.
To withhold goodness from others means to hide the light of God’s presence in our lives. The light he gives us is not meant to be hidden or judiciously shared with only those people who are nice to us. God shines through us to announce his kingdom in our midst and attract people to his Glory.
Light shines strongest in the darkest places. You can shine goodness into the dark corners of your relationships, where harsh words and painful memories linger. No matter how deep the conflict or how the other person responds, you always have the power to do good because God lives in you.
FATHER, I confess to withholding goodness from people who I think don’t deserve it. Then I remember how you befriended me when I did not care for you or your ways. You won me with your kindness; your love and mercy brought me to repentance. Give me grace to love and forgive those who have not earned kindness from me. Use me to broadcast your goodness in whatever situation I find myself. Let my actions tell of who you are rather than who I used to be before you called me.
Matthew 5:14-16; Luke 6:32-36
How does it feel to receive goodness from someone when you were expecting hostility?