“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’— when you already have it with you.” Proverbs 3:27-28
The series finale of the hit 90’s show Seinfeld has the cast standing by as they watch a man get robbed. Their failure to act got them arrested as accomplices in the crime. This comic look at human character reveals what most of us fear: it’s not enough to not be the one doing harm to another, but those who stand by without doing good are also guilty.
Historic parallels from Nazi Germany abound. Guilt is shared by those who do harm as well as those who failed to do good. When it’s in your power, do good! Luther says the same thing in the explanations to the Ten Commandments. The commandments tell us more than what NOT to do. They offer some positive directives too. Each commandment telling us what not to do has a flip side that offers a way to complete the commandment too. Here are a few examples:
#5 Do not murder…help and support your neighbor in every physical need.
#7 Do not steal…help your neighbor improve and protect his possessions and income.
# 8 Do not bear false witness…defend your neighbor, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.
This is hard, and we’ll never be perfect at fulfilling these commands, but Jesus was and is! He lived in such a way that he didn’t bring about harm, but more than that, always brought about good. He still does it through you and me today! It’s not a question of What WOULD Jesus do (WWJD), but what IS Jesus DOING? He’s still at work bringing good to our world today through His Word of Life!