“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
Not even a broken hand could keep my daughter from playing basketball in middle school. After just a few weeks of wearing a cast, she was cleared by the physician to play ball again with one stipulation: her hand had to be wrapped and cushioned during every game. It was healing perfectly and he didn’t want to take the chance that it might get pulled or twisted and re-injured.
The injury did nothing to keep her from scoring points – and a lot of them – almost every game. At one particular contest with a major basketball rival, she had scored 20 points by halftime, even with a broken hand.
But something strange happened during the third and fourth quarters: the girls on the other team switched from trying to steal the ball from our daughter and instead concentrated on grabbing and twisting her hand. Except for one girl.
At first my husband and I thought it was just coincidence but then we quickly realized that the opposing team had one focus and that was to hurt her hand to the point that she couldn’t continue playing. Except for one girl.
We could hardly contain our disbelief and anger as we saw the look of pain on our daughter’s face as girl after girl tried to twist and pull her hand and she struggled to get away from them and continue to play. Except for one girl.
When the game finally ended, our team had won by 10 points. All the girls on the opposing team went through the congratulations line and high fived my daughter’s wrapped hand extra hard as they mumbled “good game.” Except for one girl.
As the girls came out of the locker room, our daughter walked over to us, holding her hand against her chest. It was obviously hurting her. But something else happened.
The one girl on the team who never tried to grab her hand or hit it extra hard after the game also walked toward us.
“I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for what just happened,” she told our daughter. “At halftime, our coach told all of us on the team to try to grab your broken hand and hurt it so you would not be able to play the rest of the game.” She continued. “I just couldn’t do it. It was wrong. I just wanted you to know.” My daughter gave her a hug and said “thank you.”
I find it hard to believe that there were no other girls on that team who also believed that what their coach had told them to do was wrong. There had to have been more than just one. And there might have been.
And yet, only one had the courage to stand up for what was right and take the chance that her coach might punish her for not obeying what he told her and the other team members to do.
I cannot help but apply the details of this ball game to my life. Have there been times when I ignored “the good” that I knew I should be doing? The person in front of me in the checkout line who didn’t have enough to pay for her groceries? The elderly neighbor I knew was longing for company? The tithe that I should have given to a missionary but I spent on yet another item of clothing that I didn’t need? I hate to tell you but my answer is “yes.”
What about you? Can you relate? Today’s Scripture from James 4:17 quietly but firmly speaks to our hearts. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Period.
My encouragement to each of you – and to me – is to keep this Scripture before us every single day. The Lord Himself will give us courage as He shows us many opportunities to do “acts of good” everywhere we go.
Father, you are very clear in your Word that when I do not do what I know is good in your eyes, I am sinning. Please help me to be bold and to be a positive influence in the lives around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
R.A.P. it up
Can you think of a situation where you knew the positive action – the “good” - you should do but you did not speak up?
Look over situations over the last week when you should have spoken or acted as the Lord commands. How did you react?
Journal each situation and the response that the Lord wants you to have. Ask Him to nudge you the next time you have an opportunity to “do good.” And do it.
James 4:17 (NIV) “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
Romans 12:21 (NIV) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
James 1:22 (NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV) “Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”
I Peter 3:14 (NIV) “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing and information about her books, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)