Christianity · human rights · life · philosophy · religion

If your good deed is punished, is it worth it?

behind barsThat’s the question 41-yr-old cab driver Hanizan Mohamed Radzi recently had to ask himself in Kajang, Malaysia. A five-yr-old boy had been kidnapped in front of his school–right out of the hands of his mother in broad daylight. The men who took him then contacted the family to demand a ransom.

In the meantime, the boy ended up wandering the streets a few hours later when the cab driver Radzi spotted him. He recognized the boy from social media posts and immediately placed the boy in the cab and took him to his family. Unfortunately, his good deed didn’t go unpunished as the authorities made him the primary suspect in their investigation and took him and three other men into custody.

Radzi spent several days in jail as the authorities investigated. During that time his family, and especially his teen children, suffered vicious verbal attacks on social media and ostracism in their community. When the investigation was complete, the cab driver was shown to have no ties whatsoever to the other three men who were the kidnappers or to the kidnapping, so he was released today.

When Radzi appeared in court to be cleared of all accusations against him, both his family and the boy’s family were in tears over the whole incident as the authorities repeatedly apologized to him and admitted their mistake. While some members of his family, rightfully angry, demanded there should be compensation, Radzi and his father were more understanding and forgiving.

Radzi said he had no regrets for his actions and that his main concern was helping the boy and the community.

This incident reminded me of several stories in the Bible where the good deeds of the godly were unnecessarily punished. One such story took place in Acts 3 when Peter and John, on their way to the temple to pray, stopped to heal a lame man begging for alms. When the people saw what happened, Peter preached the gospel to the crowd. This upset the Jewish authorities and they arrested Peter, John, and the healed man (Acts 4). Peter and John were unapologetic for their good deed when they were dragged into court the next day and preached about Jesus to the Sanhedrin. All the Sanhedrin could do was threaten them not to preach about Jesus since the healed man was living proof God was working through them. Nevertheless, the threats didn’t stop them from their good deeds for God and only served to help spread the gospel even more as they rejoiced in suffering for their good deeds.

If it’s true that no good deed ever goes unpunished, when those good deeds fulfill God’s top two commandments (Matthew 22:36-40) maybe the hassle is really worth it.

Harry A. Gaylord


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