So about a week ago I shared a story from BusinessInsider.com about a Jewish congregation in a Texas town who let a local Muslim congregation use their synagogue for worship services after the Muslims’ mosque had burned down. A person commented the other day on the article,”No good deed goes unpunished. I’d like to hear the end of that story.” I wrote back,”What is that supposed to mean?” I half convinced myself I was asking a genuine question as opposed to the truth. What I was really saying was,”Say that again. I dare you. And say it plainly so the ugliness of your hatred is on full display and I can rip you to shreds in front of everyone for it.” Realizing that this is what I had really meant and that it might quickly lead to a combative, unconstructive conversation on my Facebook wall that I didn’t truly want, I quickly edited my response.
But what to say instead? I suddenly remembered my Fiddler on the Roof. “Yes, but if he did nothing wrong he wouldn’t be in trouble.” “Oh Papa, how can you say that? What wrongs did Joseph do? And Abraham, and Moses? And they had troubles.” I quickly edited my response. “Good deeds shouldn’t be done so we can be rewarded. Good deeds that come from genuine compassion, not a desire for reward, are the best kind, the most pure and selfless. Nearly every major Biblical figure including Jesus was made to suffer for their good deeds. It doesn’t mean they were wrong to do them.” Later on the person responded,”I agree with you AND hope for the best for all concerned.” I said that I agreed and left it at that. I wouldn’t call it a victory exactly, but then I don’t want to beat anyone either.