Aug 022015 4 Responses

How Good Multiplies

I was early. My order wasn’t ready yet so I had to stand beside the door and wait. One by one customers were leaving the restaurant and I was strangely standing at the door trying not to get in the way.

The first person to leave was a lady with her hands full. I quickly reached out and opened the door for her. She thanked me and went about her way.

The next person to leave was also female. My mom always taught me that gentlemen open doors for women so I opened the door for her as well.

The third person was a man, but by this time I felt as though I had a new job. I held the door open and jokingly said, “Thank y’all for coming.” He laughed and thanked me.

This continued for three or four more groups. (See: Don’t Do Wrong When You’ve Been Wronged)

Finally my to-go order was ready. I paid, loaded up my order and got ready to head out the door. Except my hands were full. The door I had opened seven or eight times for others was now a barrier between me and my car. Yet before I could even express the tension of needing to leave and not being able to, a guy seated near the door jumped up and opened it for me. Having watched me open it multiple times, he was primed to respond without a second thought.

It would have been unthinkable for him to sit there and watch me struggle after he watched me help so many. While I will never know, I wonder if he hadn’t seen someone open the door for others if he would have been as quick to open the door for me. Might he have been more prone to sit there, to look at me as a guy who should figure out how to open the door myself?

It’s a funny thing about good deeds—they multiply. When one person does good, others are far more likely to do good as well. (See: The Devil Doesn’t Need an Advocate)

A few years ago I was driving my son to daycare when a car was swerving into our lane. I noticed the driver looked hung over or under the influence of drugs. In the backseat was a small child without a car seat. After watching the driver nearly hit me several times, I slowed down, got behind her, and called the police. For several miles I followed the car until the police showed up. When they pulled her over, I stopped to let the officer know what I saw. Come to find out, the driver was having a negative reaction to medication and needed help.

That afternoon on our drive home, I witnessed a hit and run. In most cases I would’ve stopped to help the person who was hit. Yet noticing another car had stopped, I quickly did a u-turn to follow the assailant. I quickly picked up my phone and called the police—again. As I was talking to them, I heard my then four-year-old ask, “Who are we chasing now, Daddy?”

After everything was over, I realized I would have never involved myself that much in a hit-and-run had I not already followed a person and called the police earlier that morning.

Having helped someone in the a.m., I was primed to help someone in the p.m.

Good produces good.

Consider what this means. Every good act you or I take, greatly increases the odds of someone else or ourselves doing another good act. It doesn’t guarantee it. It’s very possible for someone to watch us serve all day long, but when we are in need that person will not be moved from apathy. Yet they are far more likely to do something good if they have already seen good modeled for them.

It’s true:

In marriage. Don’t do good for your spouse in order to manipulate them to do good. But do realize that your good deeds will more likely be reciprocated by good deeds than bad ones. (See: One Habit that Starves Your Marriage)

In parenting. More than anyone, our children need good actions modeled for them. They need to see how to help others, what are appropriate actions, and to what extent we should go in doing good.

In business. When you continually serve your co-workers and clients, they are far more likely to assist you, others, and remain faithful your company.

In community. The problems are many, but the only way to make a difference is to start somewhere. Realize you can never solve everything, but as you begin to do good, others will likely do the same.

We all know that evil multiplies. One bad act often gets a negative reaction. Yet what we sometimes forget is that good multiplies as well. One good act can lead to another good act.

So do good.

Find a place, a cause, or a person and do good work. As you do, you will be more likely to do even more good and you will likely find yourself surrounded by others who want to do good as well.

4 Responses to How Good Multiplies
  1. […] 1. What was something good that happened today? I don’t ask for the best thing. That is often ...
  2. […] of venting, try another approach. Seek the good and name it. Find the blessings in life and regularl...

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