6.09.2016

Do It in Private

https://mwcma.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/blindfold-critique-joshua-david-lynch.jpgIn our social media and reality TV obsessed world, here's a good litmus test for your spirituality, which is when you do something good, whether and how you tell the world about it.  There is obviously a place for trumpeting your deeds, to encourage and exhort others to do the same.  But there's also a way in which having to announce how great you are is bad for your soul.  Jesus suggests as much, as recorded in Matthew 6:


“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  

"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.



“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

Pride is an insidious soul-killer.  It is celebrated in our culture and it is hard to shed in even the most mature believer.  Touting your good deeds is often borne of a need to feed your ego.  (By the way, you can also take pride in your ability to do something good and not have to tell the world; that's how insidious pride is.)  If you're a social media over-sharer like me, it's good every once in a while to do something good and keep that to yourself.  It'll be good for you.
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