A Southern Pastor: Doing A Good Deed Is Not Enough

It seems today that we argue a lot over what being a Christian really looks like. Can a Christian be racist? Can a Christian support marriage equality? Can a Christian be pro-choice? Can a Christian own 20 guns? Is Kim Davis a Christian martyr or does she represent hate and intolerance? Is Donald Trump the candidate of Christians or an offense to all who follow Christ? We want to make lists of what our beliefs look like, and then assert that those are the beliefs which prove who is actually a Christian. It is then only one more step for us to assume that if you don’t believe what we do, you must be the opposite: not a Christian.

We are getting it all wrong. You don’t have to love your neighbor, feed the poor, be nice to everyone, fight for social justice, work to eradicate violence, and in all things treat creation with respect because you are a Christian. It doesn’t work like that. You don’t have to prove you are a Christian by doing a good deed. Lots of folks do good deeds, many who aren’t followers of Christianity at all. Doing a good deed does not in any way prove you are a Christian.

In fact, it is exactly the opposite; if you are a Christian, you will be compelled to do good deeds all the time. We do not have to do good deeds to win salvation. Salvation is a gift, which when accepted by us, will inspire within us a sincere desire to share that love with others. Good deeds then are not a way to prove to others that you are in fact a Christian; good deeds are simply one side effect of embracing a Christian life.

Go be the Church, folks.



Melanie Tubbs is a professor, pastor, mother, Mimi, and true Arkansas woman. She lives with nine cats and one dog on a quiet hill in a rural county where she pastors a church and teaches history at the local university. Her slightly addictive personality comes out in shameful Netflix binges and a massive collection of books. Vegetarian cooking, reading mountains of books for her seminary classes, and crocheting for the churches prayer shawl ministry take up most of her free time, and sharing the love of Christ forms the direction of her life. May the Peace of Christ be with You.