What You Do In Secret
I believe that you can measure your own acts of kindness according to how much it is deserved or how much you think you will gain from it. The greatest kindness is that which you share with no expectation of reward or compensation. The greatest kindness is when you give to those who least deserve your kindness. In a world where people tend to only do nice things for others when they think they will get something out of it, true Biblical kindness is when you do those nice things knowing full well that the only reward you will receive is from your Heavenly Father.
This is precisely how Jesus taught us to give. He said to give in secret:
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 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.
This secret giving is consistent with the definition of kindness that I proposed in the the first kindness post. When you give in secret, there is no chance of getting something in return from those who have been kind to.
They Have Received Their Reward In Full
When we do wonderful, caring things in front of an audience, for everyone to see, the reward we receive is that now everyone thinks we are so wonderful. As Christians, we need to be mindful of this in our lives.
It is not good enough to be seen as a Christian. It is entirely possible to appear Christian on the surface, to the public, while your heart continues to be motivated by non-Christian, unloving resolves. Yes, it is said that we will know them by their fruits. But which fruits? Does the Bible say that these fruits include public praise and adulation? Or does the Bible say that Christians will be hated?
In case you don’t know this already, the Bible actually says that we will be hated for being Christian. Read Mark 13:13, John 15:18, and Luke 12:17. The Bible does not say that one of the fruits by which you will recognize other Christians is that they do things that make everyone love them. No, the Bible says that everyone will hate you.
When our acts of kindness are rooted in our desire to be liked, then our hearts are not in the right place and our kindness is not as grand as everyone thinks. Then we have already received our rewards and the Bible says that God will not be giving us anything extra for it.
Let your kindness be done in secret. Don’t advertise how wonderful you have been. Instead, be kind to those who have no reason to be kind to you and do it in a way that only your heavenly Father knows how wonderful you are.
A quick note about the picture at the top of this page. Pearl and I have a variety of stock photo packages that we collected over the years as well as photos we took ourselves, so I like to try to match the picture to the content of what I’m writing about. That’s sometimes the hardest part of doing this blog. For this blog, after exhausting all of my other options, I went to my “last resort” folder, the nature stuff, that sort of fits anywhere.
Well, while I was browsing the nature photos, I thought about waterfalls and what they mean to me. I have spent a lot of time in my life romping around in the wilderness and I have seen many waterfalls like the one in the picture. My impression of them is that most waterfalls have their own personal beauty, and that very little of that beauty is ever enjoyed by people.
That’s why I chose the waterfall to represent kindness done in secret. The wilderness is filled with these little gems and almost no one ever knows about them. That’s part of their charm. There are waterfalls I have seen in my lifetime that I am sure only a small hand full of people have ever seen.