Mark S. Mitchell

Pastor, Writer, Follower of Jesus

Do-Gooders

3 Comments

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:15

There are a lot of negative things said about followers of Christ these days. We’re labeled as narrow and intolerant, compassionless, hateful, hypocritical, archaic in our beliefs. Sometimes those accusations are accurate. But, I must tell you, I think most of the time they are flat out wrong.

So did the Apostle Peter. His readers were being slandered and bullied. They were being publicly shamed because they rejected emperor worship and excused themselves from family gatherings at pagan temples. I’m sure this felt like social suicide to them. At times it was these believers who felt like ignorant fools. But Peter reminds them that their critics are the ones who are ignorant and foolish; they don’t know what they’re talking about.

But how do we fight back? How do we overcome the negative stereotypes? We live in an age where Facebook and Twitter practically hand us megaphones to shout our opinions, hoping our voice will be louder than all the other megaphones competing for attention. But adding to the noise with our words isn’t going to change people’s opinions or hearts. Peter says doing good is what makes a difference.

I think of the many ways the people in my church are doing good. A group of women just put together “bags of love” for women in unintended pregnancies. A man in our body collects jackets for the homeless, brings them to the city and passes them out to those in need. Another man leads a ministry to homeless veterans who need help getting back on their feet. A woman leads a ministry at an elementary school in Redwood City helping Hispanic children learn how to read in English. A Community Group serves at Shelter Network bringing food and birthday celebrations to those living at the shelter. CPCers are feeding and providing bible study for day laborers at a Worker Resource Center where immigrants go to wait and look for work for the day. This church is delivering practical help to impoverished families suffering in Ukraine, to women trying to escape the sex trade in Thailand, and to orphans in Honduras.

Can we do more? Can we do better? Of course we can. But those are the kinds of things people notice; those are the kinds of things that silence critics — not talking, not tweeting, but DOING! That’s what Peter is talking about: Let your Christ-like lives in the community earn favor and silence your critics. That’s how we make a difference, not just through our words but through doing good.

3 thoughts on “Do-Gooders

  1. Mark. Your (and God’s) timing is uncanny. I’m teaching a small group tonight on “The Age of Intolerance.” This will help. I would commend to your reading, “It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies” by Mary Eberstadt. I think that doing good doesn’t always help. Eberhardt cites many instances, but one is two schools that were assembling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child; hygiene articles and toys to be distributed to needy kids overseas. The American Humanist Organization sued, arguing that the toys were essentially a bribe expressly used to pressure desperately poor children living in developed countries to convert to Christianity. Rather than incur the legal expenses to fight it, the schools gave in. Similarly, the Boston Diocese closed their adoption and foster care program, rather than allow children to be given to same sex couples. It’s getting nasty out there. Eberstadt believes that the inner logic of today’s animus against religious believers is the single word sex. “Every act committed in the fame of this new intolerance has a single common denominator, which is the protection of the perceived prerogatives os the sexual revolution at all costs.” Again, I highly recommend the book.

  2. Thanks Ken! I will look at the book.
    BTW — Yesterday I preached on this very topic from 1 Peter 2:13-17. Sermon should be up on our web site today or tomorrow. Hope you are well!

    • Thank you. I love having it in printed form. I printed the message from 2/19, but the one from 2/26 should be posted soon. I’ll be interested in reading it.

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