Have you ever noticed that there are times that doing the right thing just feels so hard? It can be as simple as not wanting to tell your friend they have a piece of spinach stuck in their teeth to as hard as deciding that it’s time to move a loved one out of the home they love because it just isn’t safe anymore for them to live alone.
Every day, I go through this up and down of doing the right thing. When it’s a small thing, it’s not really that hard and I just continue on with my day. But when it’s hard, I find myself searching for a way out of having to do it. I try to find someone else to fire that employee or tell someone bad news. I don’t want to give up my pride and acknowledge I was wrong. I tell myself that my mother-in-law is just forgetful and her frailty is just her age showing and she’s fine living alone.
God tells us that he will be with us in everything we do, every single day. That means he will be with us when we have to do that hard stuff. If you really stop to think about it, it can be very reassuring to know that we’re not really doing anything on our own. God has supplied his strength to get us through it.
Recently, my Hub and I had to make the hard decision to help my mother-in-law move out of her home and into a memory care facility. Talk about a hard thing! She doesn’t understand that it’s for her safety and in her best interest. She just knows that she has to move and she doesn’t like change…..at all!!
If I felt that we were making this decision without any input from God, I know that we would both feel completely overwhelmed and incredibly guilty. There’s just no good way to explain to someone that has been so independent her entire adult life that she can no longer live safely alone.
But as heart wrenching as doing the right thing can be, the alternative is even more devastating. If we ignored the fact that she can’t take care of herself the way she always used to and just let her continue on alone, she could break a bone or not take her medication correctly or forget to eat and then we would loose her completely rather than help her live a comfortable and safe life.
If I’m not willing to push outside of my comfort zone and share God’s love with someone or do a kind deed in the name of Jesus I could risk that person’s very destiny. Heaven will be filled with people that were changed because someone that crossed their path was willing to be brave and do the right thing. And conversely, Hell will be filled with people that refused and continually ignored the multiple options to do the right thing.
Life is so brief. There are so many opportunities to do either the right thing or the wrong thing. And we all have the choice, every moment of every day, as to which we will do. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t always do the right thing. Its just too easy to turn a blind eye to the hard things, skimming over the surface of each day and not dig any deeper than the three seconds it takes to ask “how are you” as we hurry on our way, not really waiting for an answer.
I think the experience of going through this most recent hard thing has made me think about things a little differently. It seems like it was only a few months ago that my mother-in-law was able to function on her own and now we have to move her. That reminds me how short our time together on earth really is.
Maybe we all need to be braver and take every chance we get to do the right thing, especially when it’s the hard thing. What would happen if we look straight into the eyes of the person that is holding the “I’m hungry” sign by the side of the road and buy them a meal? Or hold the hand of a dear friend and just sit quietly while they pour their heart out instead of taking their cursory “I’m fine” as truth? How different would our world be if, instead of taking the easy route and ignoring the hard thing, everyone committed to doing the right thing, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it was?
It won’t make doing the hard thing any easier, but there will be peace in knowing that we’ve done the right thing. We have no control over the people and situations around us, but we do have control over what we do in response to someone or something that makes doing the right thing feel hard.
Meanwhile, Hub and I will keep loving on his mom. We’ll visit her, sit with her and hold her hand while she pours out her heart. We’ll remind her that she is loved and we’ll go home at night knowing that, although it was the hard thing to do, it was the right thing and she is safe and cared for.
Lord, give me the strength to do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing. Thank you that I’m not in this alone and that you’ve already done the hardest thing….loved me enough to die to ensure I would spend eternity with you!