When examining the heart with respect to a transparent life, one must consider why people give or help others. There are several different motives for giving or helping others…
- A Selfish Motive
- A Motive to have Control
- A Pure Motive
When we give or help to get something in return it is wrong. If I scratch your back, you will scratch mine type philosophy. In a marriage we pour into the other person hoping that they will pour into us with the same fervor. When the getting is less than the giving, or the helping more than being helped, a person who has been accustomed to reciprocal love feels like they are being taken advantage of.
The Martyr syndrome kicks in and we do things grudgingly. The selfish giver has these selfish thoughts coming to their mind when they give, “What about MEEEE???? I do so much for them, how come they do so little for MEEEEE???? No one gives ME anything. All I do is give, give, give, and nothing works out for me. What do people think I am, a vending machine?”
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7
I spent many years a selfish giver. And a martyr. It is no fun. I would say “Yes” and then I would be like Yosemite Sam (a Looney Toons character that would mutter little stabbing words to himself when he would help someone). It was always funny to watch him say, “Ohhhh, Yes, of course it is no problem,” while he would sweetly bat his eyes at Bugs Bunny. When he would walk away he would say, “That rotten, raga, rumstrutten , rascally, rabbit,” all the while he would stomp his little boots. Sometimes the rabbit would hear him and ask, “what was that you said?” Yosemite would say, “oh, it was nothing,” with a big fakey smile on his face in the sweetest tone he could drum up.
When I look back to the way I used to be, I just giggle about how comical I must have been to God who was the only one who saw my motives and my grudging attitude when I was helping. How phony I was. I would have such a smiling, cheerful facial expression to someone’s face when they asked something of me. Yikes. I am glad I am not like that Yosemite Sam because God loves a cheerful giver.
I had a friend that was so giving and so helpful. She was so sweet and kind when she was happy with my behavior. She would remind me every time I said something that was not congruent with her way of thinking, that she gave me this or that or she always helped me. Strings were attached to each gift. I was forever feeling indebted to her. It was just easier to do it her way than to be reminded of how little I did for her. I hated the way I felt when I was around her because I was being controlled.Everyone in her life was controlled by her giving. It was like a spell. Eventually, I saw her as a witch, bewitching her husband, her children, and her friends to do her will. It was her way or the highway. When she asked me to do something for her, I felt I had to say “Yes”, no matter what it was that she asked. I wanted to give back and I never wanted to seem ungrateful but it became a very unhealthy relationship. One that made me feel trapped and in bondage.Most of her manipulation was with the word of God. She used the Bible to put a twist on her motives. It became so confusing to me because she would divide the scriptures to suit her own words—to validate them. When the words seemed so wrong and sinful, she would find something in the Bible to confirm her agenda.
I got through it when I started asking others if it was normal for people to act this way. I would get council that it was not right. If I would tell her, she would tell me that those people were not as committed to God as she was and that they do not have a clue. I had a very hard time finally discerning that her giving and helping was a means to her having power over me, controlling me to believe all of her doctrinal stances. What she really wanted was to talk down at me and for me to be her little puppy dog, waiting for the occasional treat that she would pop into my mouth. Getting perspective from my husband and other believers helped me move beyond her control, for the Bible says…
“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
As a Child of God we would love to be continually benevolent, continually sacrificial in our giving, with a pure heart. When someone asks who has a need, we should help them because we love. When we love we want to meet other’s needs. When we have a pure motive, we give not to Lord over others, nor to get anything in return. Christ was the ultimate example of sacrificial giving. He taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to give to those that ask of us, and to turn the other cheek. When He was spit on and tortured, He did not spit back. He did not curse back nor did he blame anyone. Instead He became a living sacrifice for all who did not deserve it. He did not deserve our punishment, yet He took it.Our goal is to be just like Jesus but I have never met anyone who is. In fact, I met people who claim they do things to be just like Jesus while they have absolutely no regard for others’ needs. So concerned about their own need, they become blind to the needs of others and expect that other people should drop everything for them. They take advantage of others that should, in their mind, “drop everything just as Christ would.” People like that are very self centered. I have been on the phone with such people who would have lofty claims of being the sacrificial as Christ, yet would keep me on the phone for long periods of time when I would repeatedly beg and plead that I had to go, and that my family needed me. People like that want the FLOOR, they want to be HEARD, and it is all about THEM—no regard for others. Selfishness comes in many packages. None of us are without blame in this area. We all have motives that are wrong from time to time. Which one of you can boast that you have not been controlling or selfish in your actions. I knew it—No not one.Some people are just unaware of their motives—unaware of their selfishness or pride. I know a lot of people who are very devoted followers of the Bible and of Jesus, but they are oblivious of others. They boast of their grand works while they make others feel less important than they are. They are up here, and you are down there. They love to talk but do not care about what others have to say. They are lovers of themselves, desiring to hear their many wonderful words.
There are times that I have given with a pure motive and I can tell you that it is the best feeling imaginable. I have seen many others give with pure motives and it is a beautiful sight to see. I perceive it as pure, but only God knows the heart. I do know that true sacrifice is a sweet smelling fragrance to God which is also a good testimony to those that are without God as a witness of God’s goodness. Whenever we choose joy, compassion, love, patience, temperance, mercy, and grace, we walk after Christ. When we walk in His light, which is a choice, we have abundant fellowship with Him. God blesses the pure in heart.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved,
and in them that perish.”
2 Corinthians 2:15
“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”
“Let God be true, but every man a liar”
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap.”
I hope you have all come to the conclusion that we all fall short when it comes to always having a pure motive. Does that mean that we should continue in our selfish or controlling ways? God forbid—No way! We need to, instead, walk in the light. Walk in truth. Walk in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Operate in the mind of Christ. Allow His Holy Spirit to reign in your mortal flesh. Walk after the fruits of the spirit.
We cannot do this on our own. It takes a new birth and a belief that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
~1 John 4:4
When we have Christ’s spirit living within us, we have POWER. We can overcome in areas that we never thought possible. God is a jealous God, and He wants our full attention. He wants our full trust in that POWER. We have access. We do not have to live as a selfish, controlling person. We can break free and experience VICTORY. No reason to beat yourself down, just get up and focus on Christ and what He is able to do. He understands.
I plan to keep working through this series on the transparent life in Christ. I hope it will be a blessing to all in some way.