When good intentions go awry

Have you ever tried to help someone and ended up making the situation worse? Have you ever been completely genuine with your actions and had your intentions misconstrued? This year has been filled with many such events for me. In communicating with the people that report to me at work, with my friends, and even sometimes with my husband, sometimes my words and actions have been taken the wrong way leading to angst and conflict. This can be very emotionally draining and discouraging.

After having one such day this week where I thought I was encouraging a friend but sadly what he heard was discouragement, I in defeat turned to my bible and this is the prayer I found:

…we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 NIV

What sweet encouragement! What blessedness to read that it is God who brings to fruition our every desire for goodness! This takes the pressure off being good and having good intentions. This tells me I no longer have to worry how my “goodness” or good intentions are perceived. That is God’s job to bring it to fruition. My job is to continue to do good deeds prompted by faith and God’s job is to make sure that the intent is realized fully in those who need it. And you know the beauty of all of this? It is not so that I feel good about myself but so that Jesus is glorified!

We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:12 NIV

So today I pray for you that God will make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by your faith.

…Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life

Referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

The last part of Psalm 23 is the most popular part of the Psalm. It serves as a benediction in many churches. But have you ever stopped to think about what constitutes the goodness and mercy of God and how they are manifest? I will attempt to describe this from the following scriptures.

Then Moses said, “Please show me Your glory.”“I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you,” the LORD replied, “and I will proclaim My name—the LORD—before you. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Exodus 33:18-19 Berean Study Bible

Moses asks to see God’s glory and God’s response is I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you and if you read further God says to Moses but you cannot see my face because no one can see my face and live! Two things can be inferred from this: All of God’s goodness is the physical manifestation of  God and is also the embodiment of His glory.

So when the psalmist says goodness shall follow him he is referring to the glory of God accompanying him wherever he goes. Now get this: Jesus is the very essence of God’s Glory and represents the Glory of God.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3a NIV

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 Berean Study Bible

So if you have a daily relationship with Jesus, Our shepherd, you have a daily encounter with God’s glory which is manifested as ALL OF GOD’S GOODNESS.

In the scripture from Exodus 33, we see that God’s goodness evokes His mercy and compassion. Where God’s goodness goes, mercy follows. The Bible records that wherever Jesus went, he was moved with compassion [mercy] for the people he encountered and He demonstrated this mercy by healing the sick and broken-hearted, delivering the oppressed, and setting the captives free. If Jesus is your Shepherd it means that you have 24 hr access to mercy and all of God’s goodness. Now let’s talk about what that looks like:

How great is [Your] goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.Praise the LORD, for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love. He kept me safe when my city was under attack. I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. Psalm 31:19- 22 NLT

This is my definition of a stress-free life. This is a good life. A life that is accompanied by goodness and mercy. And finally, the best part is that these benefits are for as long as you are on this earth: all the days of your life. Not some; but all.

If Jesus is not your shepherd yet, all hope is not lost. He is always moved with compassion for sheep without Shepherd. He wants everyone to benefit from the shepherd-sheep relationship.

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 NASB

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. All the days of your life is a long time and you want to live it well; with goodness and mercy following you!