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How to Be Good to People Who Aren’t Good to You

How can you feel good about people who aren’t good? People can be mean, vicious, and incompetent. And then Jesus comes along saying we should love them – even enemies. “Do good to those who hate you,” he says. “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).


How? How do you think good of people when they truly are not good? The way God does with us. The same way the apostle Paul modeled. The way a little kid did. More about that in a moment.


God gives grace – the opportunity to be treated better than we deserve, to receive mercy rather than justice.


Paul, imprisoned and writing to a troubled church, said, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3). This to a church where some wanted to “stir up trouble” for Paul. What’s to be thankful for about people like that?


This, Paul explained: “You share in God’s grace with me” (1:7). Grace. Paul granted them what God had given him.


The kid was six and went to a restaurant with his mom. He prayed aloud, "God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom got us ice cream for dessert. And liberty and justice for all! Amen!"


Customers nearby chuckled at the prayer, but one woman remarked, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!"


The boy burst into tears and asked Mom, "Did I do it wrong?" As she held him, an elderly gentleman approached the table, winked at the boy, and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."


"Really?" the little boy brightened.


"Cross my heart," the man replied. Then, nodding toward the critical woman, he added "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."


Naturally, Mom bought ice cream at the end of the meal. The kid hesitated, picked

up his sundae, and walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "This is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."


Indeed, it was.

Having received, may we share with others the grace God has granted us. It’s good for the soul - ours and theirs.


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