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The good you do

April 13, 2015

In my article last week I touched on the bitterness, anger, jealousy, envy, etc that seems to be ruling the world today. It seems like love has gone out of the world and instead of it there is hatred. But fortunately, there are a few people who still have their hearts filled with love and no matter what happens they don’t allow the contamination in the world to extend to them. Unfortunately, the devil is alive and well in the world and so he still pulls out the temptation card whenever he wants to corrupt good people.

The other day I stumbled upon a very thought provoking story that clearly outlines what I mean when I say that the devil tempts the good people. As you know, whenever I see something interesting I don’t keep it to myself but always share it with you my readers, so here goes:

A woman baked bread for members of her family and an extra one for a hungry passerby. She kept the extra bread on the Window-sill, for whosoever would take it away. Every day, a hunch-back came and took away the bread. Instead of expressing gratitude, he muttered the following words as he went his way:"The evil you do remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!" This went on, day after day.

Every day, the hunch-back came, picked up the bread and uttered the words: "The evil you do, remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!" The woman felt irritated.

"Not a word of gratitude," she said to herself... Everyday this hunch-back utters this jingle! What does he mean?” One day, out of desperation, she decided to do away with him. “I shall get rid of this hunch-back", she said. So what did she do? She added poison to the bread she prepared for him!

As she was about to keep it on the window sill, her hands trembled. "What is this I am doing?" she said. Immediately she threw the bread into the fire, prepared another one and kept it on the window- sill. As usual, the hunch-back came, picked up the bread and muttered the words: "The evil you do, remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!"

The hunch-back proceeded on his way, blissfully unaware of the war raging in the mind of the woman.

Every day, as the woman placed the bread on the window-sill, she offered a prayer for her son who had gone to a distant place to seek his fortune. For many months, she had no news of him. All the same she prayed for his safe return.

That evening, there was a knock on the door. As she opened it, she was surprised to find her son standing in the doorway. He had grown thin and lean. His garments were tattered and torn. He was hungry, starved and weak.

As he saw his mother, he said, "Mom, it's a miracle I'm here. While I was but a mile away, I was so hungry that I collapsed. I would have died, but just then an old hunch-back passed by. I begged of him for a small part of his food, and he was kind enough to give me whole bread. As he gave it to me, he said, "This is what I eat everyday: today, I shall give it to you, for your need is greater than mine!""

As the mother heard those words, her face turned pale and red. She leaned against the door for support. She remembered the poisoned bread that she had made that morning. Had she not burnt it in the fire, it would have been eaten by her own son, and he would have lost his life! It was then that she realized the significance of the words: "The evil you do remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!"

Let’s take a minute to think through this story.  Let’s not even think about the poisoning part, but let’s think about what would have happened if the woman had not made a decision to be baking an extra loaf of bread for the hungry man. The man would not have had bread with him when he met the woman’s son, which means that he would have had nothing to give to him. In other words, it was a ripple effect.

And this my friends is what happens in our lives every day. You may not see it immediately but every single thing you do either has a positive or a negative impact to our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Let’s take an example of our homes. Most of us have house-helps who take care of our households and young children while we are away. For those of you who frustrate these people, for those of you who look down on them as if they are lesser human beings than you, do you know what your negative actions translate to when you are not at home? I know of someone who used to frustrate their house-help and in retaliation, the house help used to use that person’s toothbrush to wash the toilet every day. Enough said about that.

How about the office environment? How many times have you heard of situations where people have tried to go behind their colleagues’ backs doing things to cause them to lose their jobs? Threatening their lives and doing everything possible to make their lives in the office hell on earth? Has it ever occurred to you that this person you are trying to mess up might very well be the person who in future might be your son’s/daughter’s in-law? Has it occurred to you that this person you are working so hard to frustrate may be the same person who might lend you a helping hand in future when no one else is willing to help you? Has it occurred to you that the lives of your children might very well be dependent on that person you are destroying? Destroying him means destroying them.

This hate, selfishness, bitterness, etc needs to stop people. Every person who is alive today is here because they have a God given purpose to fulfill in this earth, and it is very likely that the purpose is tied to your own purpose or worse still you own life. Eliminating them may mean you have eliminated yourself in the process. Besides, what makes you think you have more right to be alive and enjoy the good things in life than the person you are trying to frustrate? What makes you think you are a more superior being than the next person?

People need to come back to their senses. Every single thing you do has a ripple effect. It may not be noticed immediately but sooner or later certain things will happen that will clearly confirm to you that your actions acted as a catalyst to what you are experiencing or going through at that time.

Do good and don't ever stop doing good, even if it’s not appreciated at that time. Like my favorite book says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”.

So the next time the hatred bug bites you keep this in mind, "The evil you do remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!"

Wishing you all hearts filled with goodness.

PS: Article originally published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 12th April, 2015, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"

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