Have you ever felt like you were wasting your time trying to do something good? You go out of your way to lend a hand. You hold a door and smile, hoping to brighten a glum person’s day. You take the first step toward reconciliation.
And each time you wonder why you bothered. There’s no acknowledgment of the effort made. No appreciation. No reciprocation.
Even if we genuinely want to help others without expecting anything in return, it is hurtful when there’s no response or, worse yet, a bad response to our good efforts. Often “doing good” doesn’t seem to make a difference. So why keep trying?
On the wall of her home for orphaned children in Calcutta, India, Mother Teresa wrote this:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
In her song “Anyway”, Martina McBride expresses similar encouragement to keep doing good:
You can spend your whole life building something from nothing. One storm comes and blows it all away. Build it anyway.
This world’s gone crazy. And it’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be better than today. Believe it anyway.
You can love someone with all your heart for all the right reasons. And in a moment they can choose to walk away. Love them anyway.
God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good. When I pray, it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should. But I do it anyway.
Truth is that the results we see and experience from our “good” efforts are not the full story. Doing good is about allowing God’s love to flow through us, not seeing a good outcome. By doing good we’re planting seeds in the lives of others. They may be in a dark or desperate place when we reach out a hand to help, and we may not receive any acknowledgement or appreciation. But we need to reach out anyway. Our gesture of kindness and love may be a spark that lights a new fire of hope in their life.
We also gain by doing good because our roots of trust in God grow deeper. Even when our prayers aren’t answered the way we think they should be, we allow God to transform us when we turn our focus from our circumstances to helping others.
At the end of the day, we’re called to love others with the same love Jesus has for us. By doing good without expectation of anything in return, we’re living in His love and opening our heart to be filled with His joy.
So even if doing good doesn’t seem to make a difference, do good anyway. And let the love and joy of Jesus overflow in your life.
“‘When you obey Me you are living in My love, just as I obey My Father and live in His love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your cup of joy will overflow!’” John 15:10-11 (TLB)
Let’s talk: What is something you “do anyway” even though you’re not sure it makes a difference?
May I pray? Jesus, thank You for loving us, and loving others through us. Lift our spirits and encourage us today to do good, even if it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Help us to see others from Your loving perspective. May we joyfully reach out to help and encourage them, including our sisters in Christ. Amen.