And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9
Not Lose Heart – When Paul used the Greek words me ekkakomen, he painted a picture that was hard to miss. It is a picture of the front lines of a battle. The soldiers fight against a powerful enemy but they hold their positions. They do not “run and hide”. That’s the sense of these words. They mean, “not be a coward”. Literally, the words are “not turn out to be bad”. The imagery is important because it reminds us that doing good is a battle, not a walk in the park.
It’s so much easier to repay evil with evil. It’s so much easier to fight fire with fire. The battle is not about taking revenge or repaying in kind. Nor is the battle about showing kindness to those who are kind to us. It’s not about being nice to nice people. The battle is about doing good in the face of an enemy. That takes courage! So Paul reminds us that followers in the Way are not cowards when it comes to showing the world forgiveness and mercy and compassion, even when it leaves battle wounds. Followers in the Way are called to a higher standard; a standard that was demonstrated on the cross with the words, “Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
Our world expects two reactions to enemy action: revenge or retreat. Either we come back with more force to exact revenge or we run and hide to escape the punishment. But a follower in the Way follows a man who chose a different path. He chose to do good in spite of the consequences. He chose to show compassion to those who hated him, to be merciful to those who sought to harm him and to forgive those who killed him. The true test of doing good is seen in battle language, not in the vocabulary of a party.
Today you will face an enemy. Someone out there will step on a battle line. You’ll be bruised, insulted, ignored or pushed aside. Then you will have a chance to live like the Master. You will hear the battle cry, “Do not lose heart in doing good!” Your victory does not depend at all on the actions of the enemy. As soon as forgiveness, mercy and compassion become your weapons, you win. The victory does not belong to the strong; it belongs to the ones who are not cowards in doing good.