Monday, 25 April 2011

Bad reasons to be good?

Next time you decide to bestow a kindness upon another person, be it a loving deed or a gentle word you probably won't spend too long wondering why. This is good, by the way. Doing something for the sake of pure goodness, without seeking reward says a lot about you. The reason I ponder this is in part due to reflections on my years as a Christian. A lot of stock was placed on good works, and rightly so. But when one asks why something is being done you might find yourself hearing a defective rationale. Your Christian friend might say that the Lord guided them to act, prompted them, laid it on their heart. This is problematic. Why, for heavens sake, do you require a celestial remit on which to base kindly behavior? Why can't you do good for the sake of goodness alone? I'm not devaluing your acts of kindness, but I do question your motivation. Why do you seek divine sanction to do the right thing? Is it not far more noble to show a kindness just for the sake of kindness? I don't need to. You don't need to. What's with the unnecessary baggage?
If you want to show your personal colours it starts with a choice. That choice comes from you. It requires no heavenly touch paper. And if it does, I think you've just provided a very bad reason to be good.

1 comment:

  1. Very good point.

    There are some who will only be unselfish when they feel some kind of (explicit) 'divine direction'. Any such 'goodness but only when/as much as required' is just selfishness re-invented (the point you make?).

    Before I go further: I am often selfish, probably more often than when I am unselfish.

    But if I make the choices for unselfishness in my life on a regular (?) basis because that is who I want to be ... is there suddenly no more room for *external direction* in this unselfishness?

    There are occasions when unselfishness on my part turns out to be something of a specific manner for specific things delivered to specific people (or groups) that is, for reason of these specifics, effective/valuable beyond the scale of my action or intention. Nothing to do with me ... some stuff just turns out to be good beyond my imagination.

    Some call it co-incidence ... I call it direction delivered in to my life from outside of me. It doesn't always happen that way but when it does (and if I ever find out) then it is a very strong reminder to me to keep my feet on the ground and that I am not the centre of the universe.