The greatest sermon ever preached can be found in Matthew chapters 5-7. It’s called the Sermon in the Mount. In it, Jesus teaches about the ideals of Christian living. Jesus followers don’t hate their enemies, they love and pray for them. We give forgiveness rather than take revenge. We go the extra mile. We treat others the way we’d like to be treated rather than the way we have been treated.
Jesus instructs us to always do the right thing instead of the “natural” or easy thing. I get that, intellectually and spiritually, but I find it oh so hard to put into practice. Why is it that the right thing is so rarely the easy thing?
In January of 2015 circumstances brought a 5-week old infant into our lives. He had nowhere to go and his parents were unable to create for him a safe loving environment. It became clear in a matter of only a few months that this little man would be in need of a forever home as the situation with the biological parents could not be resolved. It also became clear in those few months… that he had stolen our hearts. We fell madly in love with him.
We were told by Child Protective Services that we had a great deal of influence over his future. The situation was such that we could choose to adopt and raise him ourselves or we could choose another couple to become his adoptive parents. We raised him for the first 15 months of his life. He was our son despite the fact he was not biologically ours. The easy thing and what we desired most, for us, was to keep him. But was the easy thing… the right thing?
Through much prayer and wise counsel it became clear that the right thing for that precious little man and for a young couple who deeply desired but had been unable to have children…the right thing was for us to let him go. Why is the right thing often so hard?
Fast forward to November 2016. We find ourselves in a courtroom as a judge signs the papers and declares this couple and our “once upon a time” son are now a forever family. In that moment we knew, God confirmed… the hard thing was unquestionably the right thing.
Our lives are filled with choices. Often the right thing and the easy thing are quite different. When asked to serve, the easy thing is to decline… but is it the right thing? When given an opportunity to invest yourself in short term missions the easy thing is to decline… but is it the right thing? When given the opportunity to go start a new work for God through church multiplication, the easy thing is to decline… but is it the right thing?
Doing the right thing is often counter-cultural in today’s “what’s in it for me” society. However, that is exactly what the Lord encourages us to do. As we choose to love and serve others by putting their needs before our own, we will actually live happier and more fulfilled lives. So, doing the right thing in every circumstance will not only bless our friends, neighbors and even our enemies, but it will especially be a blessing and a gift to ourselves.
As we face the choices that will guide our futures I pray we will always ask the question, “What is the right thing?” And I pray we will do the right the even when it’s not the easy thing.
“Do to others what you want them to do to you.” - Matthew 7:12
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” - Galatians 6:9
Dear Lord, help me to always choose right over easy. Show me your plan and give me the courage to follow it instead of my following my own. Give me such deep faith and complete trust in you that the right thing actually becomes the easy thing even though it may not be seen that way by others. Amen.