This is sometimes a difficult one for me….if you are honest, it is for you too.
Just yesterday I was about to pull out of a parking lot. A guy was walking down the sidewalk and getting close to where I was waiting to pull my car onto the road. He was young, and seemed in a hurry, so I backed up a few feet to let him cross…smiling at him. I had had plenty of time to safely pull out before he got close, but I thought I’d be nice. This wasn’t a pedestrian right-of-way situation.
He crossed without so much as a nod. In fact, he seemed to cast a devious glance of entitlement as he sauntered slowly by…
That rush of anger welled up inside me. Immediately I thought, what an ingrate! I didn’t have to do that… I was patient and kind, and he didn’t even thank me for it!
OOPS. Was I? Really? Maybe not so much.
I had to repent, and then have a little talk with myself. I went into that act thinking I’d just do it because it was nice. But, I came out of it having expected something in return.
We are to be charitable, and selfless, even with our enemies. Altruism is however, many times, something we do for ourselves to “feel good” as much as it is due our desire to be kind and to help others.
I was reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 6 when he said,
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Remember also that Christ willingly gave His life for us, with no guarantee of our acceptance or appreciation. He did it out of pure love. End of story.
We all encounter circumstances every day that range as small as the example I gave, to challenges of deep sacrifice.
What will I do the next time I have the chance to give with no expectation? Will it come from the right place in my heart? I sure hope and pray so. As humans, our work on ourselves with God’s assistance is never-ending! Let us examine always our motives.
God knows our hearts, and he is merciful and giving. Let us follow in His way.