COLLEGE PARK, MD –
It is a common proverb in the english-speaking world that, “no good deed goes unpunished.”
We get punished for good deeds, too?
Well for “good deeds” that are done with ill intentions that makes sense, but what about legitimately good deeds?
Or is this statement made sarcastically? Does it mean that good deeds have a way of backfiring one way or another?
Punishment is an inaccurate term
Whatever the meaning, this age old adage needs to be rethought.
The word unpunished should be substituted for untested. So the retooled phrase would rather read, “no good deed goes untested.”
Read this way we can extract some positive meaning to leverage in our lives.
Many of us do good deeds and are disappointed by the end result. We give of ourselves and are left drained, not enriched.
We tried to give, we tried to live in abundance, but we ended up with less. This is the point where we become undertakers. The happiness-killing forgetfulness of God manifested as an attitude of scarcity has crept in and it wants its pound of flesh.
We tried being the good guys, it failed. Now it is time to take back what was stolen from us. Time to be an undertaker.
That is the plight of those who believe no good deed goes unpunished. Why would anyone sign up to do good and receive punishment? This is a common negative feedback loop many of us fall in to.
Turn the tables
Last week we touched on meeting affliction with patience. Doing so is the foundation of life.
Let’s take that concept and apply it to the current discussion.
When the affliction of doing something good is met by what appears to be punishment, patience in the form of viewing that “punishment” as a test of if you truly intended the good you set out for can allow that experience to turn you into more of a giver – not less of one.
For example: you left home to deliver alms to a family in need. On the way to their home you get into a car accident. Whether it be time, money, or bodily injury, you know you are about to have to pay a price for your giving. If you just stayed home and didn’t try to be Mother Theresa you wouldn’t be in this mess.
Alternatively, you left home to deliver alms to a family in need. On the way to their home you get into a car accident. Whether it be time, money, or bodily injury, you know you are about to be tested in the sincerity of your giving.
If you just stayed home and didn’t try to be a giver you wouldn’t be living – you would know less about yourself and if your training as a giver is working or not.
That shift in mindset is truly profound. It is where vision is found. It allows us to stop worrying about external results and instead start witnessing unseen results.
All types of training are measured in benchmarks. That is what lets you know you are on the right track and motivates you to keep going.
The training of a giver is difficult. It is unseen. The benchmarks are, likewise, unseen.
Most of us measure unseen training in giving with external benchmarks. That is a fatal flaw to make. Save the external benchmarks for GPAs or salaries. Giving is much more than that.
When we start shifting our mindsets and gaining vision, we will be able to get glimpses of the unseen. We will begin cultivating the ability to measure giving by the appropriate, unseen, benchmarks.
It takes our patience. It gives us our foundation.