In a series of experiments conducted a few years back, dogs were given the command “shake,” and they were normally happy to do so whether they got a reward or not. However, researchers found that if the dogs saw that another dog was being rewarded and they weren’t, they began hesitating to obey the command and eventually stopped cooperating altogether. The dogs knew when they were being treated unfairly, and they didn’t like it.1 If even dogs can understand when something isn’t fair, how much more will people know when they’re being treated unfairly!
It was a dull and rainy day as I sat at the window of a small brick row house in Leicester, England, watching the rain form small rivers on the window pane. A friend was letting me stay at his house while he was away and I helped care for a terminally ill loved one. It was a half-hour bus ride from the house to the Leicester Royal Infirmary, where I spent most of my days.
My first visit to the Exit rock festival—held annually in the shadow of a beautiful castle in Novi Sad, a pretty Serbian town on the Danube River—was unforgettable. There were stages everywhere and the streets were filled with crowds, huge tent villages resounding with all styles of music, aromas of chevapi, the local meat dish, and an atmosphere of brotherhood, havoc, and freedom. But for a time it looked as though I wasn’t going to take part at all.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Love for others is a part of My divine nature, and when you receive Me, it becomes a part of yours too. Even though it is freely yours, you are still responsible to put it into practice and apply it. How? One step at a time, with one loving deed, followed by another, followed by another.
You can show My love to others in many ways—through forgiveness, mercy, kindness, thoughtfulness, concern, understanding, words of love, words of encouragement, words of praise, taking time to talk, taking time to listen, sympathizing, sharing the load, and giving of yourself even when it’s least expected or least deserved.
All the works that Jesus did on earth had to be extremely important for the Son of God to come down in order to do them. But when you examine those extremely important things, you see that not all of them were what most people would call “spectacular” in the physical. Many of the things He did—the spiritual transformations—had very little, if any, fanfare. Many of them, like His witness to Nicodemus,1 or forgiving the immoral woman’s sins,2 or His encounter with the woman at the well,3 weren’t outstanding in physical ways.
There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.
—Sister Mary Rose McGeady (1928–2012)
We should make the Yuletide season an occasion not merely for the giving of material things but an occasion for the giving of that which counts infinitely more … the giving of self.
—J. C. Penney (1875–1971)
Recently, after reading an article on the BBC News website,1 I found myself faced with a few tough questions. The article, a modern-day “Good Samaritan” tale, is worth checking out as an inspiring example of the impact one sincere loving deed can have.
Reading this story made me evaluate my own track record of late. Would I have done the same? Would I be willing to risk my job to help a stranger in need? Unsatisfied with my replies, I also tried some less dramatic-sounding questions. Would my friends say I’m someone who lends a helping hand? Have I done any purely altruistic deeds recently?
None of her friends or family understands why she has done it, and most of them would like to shake her out of her foolishness. Their objections make sense. After all, May is in her mid-forties and has been living alone ever since her daughter moved out. May is also in debt. And yet, here she is, raising her ex-husband’s child by another woman.
May married early and was divorced by her early twenties, but even before that, she had been raising her first child alone, as her ex-husband had a drug addiction and spent as much time in prison as out.
It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can.
—John Wesley (1703–1791)