Rules and laws are meant to prevent us from doing bad. But I have found that they also prevent us from doing good, specially in a litigious society such as the US. People would sometimes hesitate to help others in distress for fear of being sued for doing the wrong thing or making their conditions worse. Or, there are instances where people would rather not give food to the hungry for fear of being sued for causing some allergic reaction or other health issues in the recipient. Or, medical care is so expensive in the US partly because of the expensive malpractice insurance doctors have to get as a protection against the inevitable malpractice suit.
Being good is not only about being generous of heart. It is also being courageous of spirit to take on the risks that doing good entails. Would I dare to do good even at the risk of breaking some rules? Would I dare and be brave to risk being rejected when I do good for others? Would I dare to stand and be alone when doing what is right and just is not so popular?
Do-gooders have a long history of ending up in prison or even being killed. They are often alone in their often quixotic crusades to bring about change for the better. Their happiness and fulfillment come not from the material reward nor from the accolade of people for there are hardly any. It comes from within themselves, knowing that they heeding the Spirit that animates everything there is in the universe.
How great are the works of the Lord!
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.