Giving In Secret
It's not a true gift if it's all about the giver
There’s a trend on social media that appears innocent and encouraging, but I think it is actually destructive. What trend is that? People posting their good deeds.
You know the posts I’m talking about. “My pizza delivery guy is poor so I gave him a $50 tip.” Or “I paid for the person’s coffee in line behind me today #payitforward.” Or how about “I donated money to such and such cause, look how awesome I am.”
Okay, maybe they aren’t worded in that exact way, but you see what I’m talking about. People are always posting things like this on Instagram.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all about kindness. Being kind to others is vitally important, and those good deeds I just mentioned are wonderful ways to love others. But why the need to post it on social media?
Because people are obsessed with themselves, that’s why. They want to look good. They want to be admired. They want to build their own image. And do you see what’s wrong with this? It’s not a true gift because it’s all about the giver. All it does is breed our culture’s celebration of self-centeredness.
Doing something nice for someone just so you can post it kind of makes it not so nice, at least in my opinion. Even if they don’t do it just for that reason, it’s still something that should be left private.
Let me give a disclaimer here because I’m not totally innocent. I’ve done this exact thing before, and I regret it. So I get it, I do. It’s human nature to want recognition. We crave acceptance and want to feel good about ourselves. But this isn’t the way to do it.
You know what kind of posts I do love to see? The ones that capture someone else doing something kind. Oftentimes, the giver is anonymous and doesn’t even think twice about what they do or care if anyone sees. Now those are the good ones. Besides, acknowledging the good works of others is so much more fulfilling than bragging on ourselves, don’t you think?
I’m not at all knocking random acts of kindness. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do nice things for people. But we should do it without blasting it on Instagram or Facebook. We should do it regardless if anyone’s watching. We should do it simply for the sake of being kind. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because we love others more than we love ourselves.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven….But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1, 3-4
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