Doing charity in private: The problem with public giving

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I did a certain charitable act a month or so ago and I wanted to tell someone about it, almost immediately. Maybe that’s a normal reaction; when we do something we feel good about we want to share that overwhelmingly positive emotion. But maybe we just like to lift ourselves up by telling others how great we were in that moment.

Maybe it’s a little of both. Maybe we think it’s the first but in reality it is the later.

I choose not to tell anyone that day, or the next, in fact I didn’t tell anyone, and if you don’t count this (which I can’t decide if I should) I still haven’t. But, the overwhelming desire to tell someone did open my eyes to my own desires. It made me step back and wonder why, after the joy from doing good had passed, was the next emotion a self serving one?

I want people to know I’m a good person, which is a flawed logic,  because if you are a good person, people already know. Goodness isn’t something that goes unnoticed. Perhaps people don’t see to which degree you are good, but they still know that you are. Goodness doesn’t come from one charitable act, or even a handful, it comes from a mixture of constant charitable acts and other acts of kindness and righteousness.

Telling people of one charitable act, won’t change their mind if they’ve decided you’re a bad person. It takes them seeing a visible transformation in your everyday actions for them to suddenly change their perspective on you. That’s possible, keep in mind, if you fear you are seen as a bad person, or even a not-so-good person, there is plenty of time to change that. Change is real and possible, so don’t stop seeking it.

But change doesn’t come from bragging. In fact, bragging always has the opposite effect that the bragger means for it to. If someone takes to bragging people take to disliking them and thinking of them as a worse person than they probably are. We can’t stand self-righteous people, yet somehow we still manage to be pretty self-righteous ourselves.

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Trying to live as a reflection: A post about representing Christ

FB_IMG_1529958189896.jpgI passed a church sign the other day that read: “You might be the only bible that someone reads.”

Its a universal enough thought, but it really struck me hard. How many people do we pass by who aren’t religious? The numbers are growing. There is also a growing number of people like me, who try, but not hard enough. I’m not an avid church goer, though I do make it from time to time. I read my bible some, but most my Christian life is wrapped up in prayer, which is good, but not enough. If I’m like this and I consider myself a Christ follower, imagine how little others come in contact with the word.

We’re supposed to think about our actions a lot as Christians, we’re supposed to repent when they aren’t well, and pray about how we can do better. We spend so much of our lives fighting our own demons and sins. When we’re trying to be better the effort is often pointed inward, because we realize that’s were most of our bad forms. We sometimes let down our outward reflection of Christ in this battle. It’s easy to do, we’re trying to be like Him, but none of us really are.

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Book Review: The Problem of Pain

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“For centuries people have been tormented by one question above all: If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain? And what of the suffering of animals, who neither deserve pain nor can be improved by it? The greatest Christian thinker of our time sets out to disentangle this knotty issue. With his signature wealth of compassion and insight, C. S. Lewis offers answers to these crucial questions and shares his hope and wisdom to help heal a world hungry for a true understanding of human nature.” -Goodreads Bio

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