Do you have the right motives?
There can be many reasons for doing something to help others. Whatever contribution one could make in what they say or do, to benefit someone else, should be weighed by their motives. What do we hope to achieve by what we say or do? Putting the time and energy to do something, should not just be driven by emotion, but purpose. How we feel is as fickle as shifting sands. Emotions tend to rope other people into feeling like we do. They can quickly turn the right intentions to selfish ambitions. So, before we decide to say or do something we believe is going to help someone, we need to have an introspection; check our attitude and intentions. The impact we hope to have on others is the need we meet.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2).
When we are looking out for others, we should do so with humility. We are not to consider them any less significant than ourselves because they are the ones in need, this time. Whether they are seeking some advice or material assistance, we are told to consider them better than us. This means that we don’t withhold from them the best we can offer them, because we prefer to keep it to ourselves. Whether it’s information, resources or connecting them with someone who could help, we are not to be reticent with what we have or know. Willingness to help is ensuring the betterment of others.
There are virtues to gain when we help others for their benefit or want them to succeed. When we have another’s back, we have their best interests with a good grace. We see their success as our own because we want to be part of that sweet story. Looking out for another’s interests gives us a chance to do something kind with no strings attached. It gives us a sense of purpose that doesn’t revolve around our own glory. We watch someone else’s prayer get answered, when we become the channel that delivers the answer.
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4).
There are times we are just bursting to say something because we believe it will benefit someone. It may be with all good intentions, but the approach and execution can be caustic. What we say can harm others when it’s said without grace. Just spelling out the wrong in others doesn’t motivate them to change. It makes them feel like mud was rubbed all over their face, and they need to fess up to shame. What we thought would benefit them, corrupts their character. We wind up disqualifying ourselves as agents of change because we don’t build others by our words, but tear them down.
21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written (Romans 2).
In our interactions with others, we must try to ensure that we are trying to bring to the fore positive attributes. We do our best to help nurture good traits, by not magnifying frailties. We are not perfect. Others learn from us as much as we are willing to learn from them. Most of us want the same things. In Christian circles, we should all want to grow to maturity in Christ. As the Body of Christ has many members, each plays their part to benefit the whole Body.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4).
God has blessed us with different skills and talents so that we can be useful in meeting the needs of others. We are also to use our skills in edifying our fellow believers and they are to do the same—iron sharpening iron. We have to be willing to receive what others share as much as we desire for others to receive from us. We are all to grow in the knowledge of The Lord Jesus Christ and become as He was through love and righteousness. Effective edification is compelled by love.
5 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4).
We don’t mature in isolation, but by encouraging one another to put on Christ. As long as we are doing so with grace and allowing others to show us the same grace, we cannot afford to be sanctimonious: We will not serve our ambitions nor be envious of others. We will delight in seeing our fellow brothers and sisters overcome and be victorious.
23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it (1 Corinthians 12).
As members of the Body of Christ, those who are considered weaker should be treated with dignity. They are those who may be struggling with afflictions or temptations. They are not to be thrust aside as deadwood, but included as invaluable participants. Christ has included them among His flock He died for, as well He did for us. But for Christ, we are unworthy to be called His friends. We are to be united in Christ; not in cliques that range themselves against others. When one suffers among believers we share in their sufferings. When one rejoices we praise with them. Man is not an island. We live for the betterment of ourselves as we look out for others, with the right motives.
35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20).”