One of our viewers from Florida sent me a piece attributed to Mother Teresa. I went online and discovered this attribution to her is actually challenged (www.quoteinvestigator.com/2012/05/18/do-good-anyway/#more-3828). But while “Quote Investigator”’s extensive review suggests multiple sources, this piece is still rich with meaning, and so I share it with you:
People are often unreasonable
Illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may
Accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win
Some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness,
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
I admit it does sound a bit like a string of graduation platitudes at first glance. But the thematic undertow speaks volumes inside that little word, “anyway.”
“Anyway”—in this case meaning “in spite of it”—isn’t that the way the follower of Christ often has to live? “In spite of it all”—Paul writes with quiet courage—“we are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
“Anyway” or “in spite of it all”—Peter counsels—“in all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6).
“Anyway” or “in spite of it all”—the Apocalypse begins—“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus”—and Jesus himself concludes—“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer—be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown” (Revelation 1:9; 2:10).
Truth is “anyway” or “in spite of it all” is the way third millennial Christ-followers still walk in his steps. And “in spite of it all” their faith, like Jesus, “shines brighter” and “shines purer” against the dark panoply of evil. Anyway.
So what’s the “anyway” you’re having to face down in your life right now? A disease that won’t give up? A state of depression that won’t seem to let go? Are your last dollars gone, leaving your future uncertain at best? What is the “in spite of it all” pathway God has set your feet upon?
Paul, Peter, John, Jesus—who lived out their lives in spite of the most debilitating circumstances imaginable—surely in their “I will put my trust in him” courage we can find solace and fearlessness of our own. Trust anyway. Hope anyway. Love anyway. Live or die anyway.
Why? “When the darkness is deepest, then the light of a noble, Godlike character will shine the brightest. When every other trust fails, then it will be seen who have an abiding trust in God” (Sketches from the Life of Paul 252). Anyway.
You may not be able to see it—but it’s that word “anyway” that radiates your life right now. Your friends and family see it. The world takes notice, too. Because like Jesus you are a spectacle to behold. Anyway.
And so he thanks you.