A while back, I talked about motivation when it came to cultivating love, and this month I am delving a little deeper. I wanted to think about more than just the motivation — what happens when we are doing good and we begin to think too highly of ourselves for our good acts and stray into pride.
I’ve talked about it before here, but I really like doing a good job. I mean, like, really like it. It’s one of the things that brings me a lot of satisfaction. In the same way, I like doing good things. I love volunteering for Courage Worldwide, an organization who, among other things, gives a home to girls rescued out of sex trafficking here in Northern California. I love helping out friends and being there to fill needs. I’m even beginning to like working with and talking to our homeless friends here in Sacramento. I feel good about doing good.
Problem is, it’s really easy for pride to sneak into my actions. I want to do all good things as a response to God’s love for me, but often I find that I feel good when I do good things. And because I’m feeling so good about it all, I then want other people to recognize my good actions and praise me for them. I want a “It’s really awesome that you do such and such.” and “You must be a really good person!” I start feeling really good about myself and can even start to think of myself as better than others. Even after talking to the homeless guy the other day, I felt a little prideful. Like I’d been “redeemed” from messing up at the end of last month and I was such a good person to have been able to find a way to “correct” my mistakes. But it was by the grace of God that he gave me another opportunity to be Jesus to someone.
I have a whole month of humility coming up in February. I’d rather not have to learn a bunch of lessons as God knocks me off my pedestal once I start that month (I know it’s coming, but maybe I can make the pedestal a little shorter? So the fall doesn’t hurt so much?). I don’t think (hope!) I’m a raging egomanic, but my thoughts definitely can stray into prideful territory, so I need to be aware of it.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a feeling of satisfaction over a job well done. It’s definitely a motivator for a lot of people to get things done in this world. But I think it’s important to have a humble heart when we are doing the good things God has called us to do.