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It happens!

January 23, 2017

It’s generally assumed that good is normally returned with good. No. Even the most exceptional acts of kindness can be returned with not merely evil, but exceptional evil! This is a right place to note what instead should be: When a profound kindness is shown one, one must also, in keeping with the level of good, return it with not just simple good but exceptional good (for the simple suitable right reciprocation it is/should be). Here’s one such instance:

A man paralysed for THIRRRRRRRRRTY EIGHHHHT long years (imagine being immobile that long! Food, movement, small things, body processes – every one of them hindered. Persistently. Continually. I still remember hearing Joni Eareckson, a quadriplegic, telling me first-hand what a torture it is! Lord, deliver her, she’s been in it 50 years now!)! It appears there was a belief that at the pool (where this invalid and the other infirm congregated) that an angel stirred the waters from time to time. And the one to get in first was healed. The (biblical) narrative suggests that the man had had some such opportunity when no others noticed (understandably for he was stuck in the very place leaving him a likely candidate to have spotted such an occurrence most often), but purely (n sadly) for his specific disability, he never made it. But worse was for him to have to see some other less disabled just make it in a split second before he finished that mile of a foot into the waters! How distressing it must have been!

So Jesus came along one day, and probably feeling this man’s plight, started up a conversation, heard out all his grievances and offering to heal him, commanded that he rise up and walk. And boy what a relief after a lifetime of torture!

Now it turned out that Jesus had commanded the man to take his bed and walk, and that on a Sabbath! Now who should see this familiar invalid of 38 years walking around with his bed, but the Pharisees! The fusspots they were, they failed to be marvelled by the miracle but kicked up a row instead about why the healed man was breaking Sabbath ritual, ‘carrying’ stuff which apparently was tantamount to work. They demanded: who healed you?

Here’s where the plot thickens: the man said he didn’t know his name! Surprising for a man not to even know the name of his healer (Jesus had already left by then, the gentleman he was)! As for the paralytic, the one thankless fellow he appears to be, maybe he just ran off to brag it up.

Later, Jesus spotted this very chap and had rather sharp words for him: “See you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Quite telling even what caused the man’s infirmity that lasted 38 years.

Then the saddest thing ever happened: “The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.” Revenge it appears: for a bruised ego. (Apparently he’d even managed to slip in to angry Jesus the question, ‘What is your name?’ so he can let in the Jews on some juicy info! Monster!)

But a few lessons sparkle:

  1. In taking offence, perspective is needed. Good intent must be richly and lavishly rewarded. Yep, even against our own bloated egos. Crush your warped ego if truth dictates so. Never return good with evil, the Bible warns against such, ‘evil will never leave his house.’ If one does a single good deed to you, intend to pay it back twice, even ten times, over.
  2. Never do good for what it might bring: either good (for it doesn’t always come back in expected ways), or refrain from doing it for fear of bad (for though it may even be immediately paid back as evil – it wasn’t long after Jesus was crucified by the Jews for this betrayal  still it accomplishes much other good, even evil overcome in time –  Jesus relieved a suffering man of 38 years! *choke* *sniff*). Always only do good. And do it without limit.
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