Keep It To Yourself

Don’t Let Your Left Hand Know What Your Right Hand Is Doing

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, isn’t shy about showing pride. He insists that if you don’t toot your own horn no one else will do it for you. My old neighbor sees pride as a positive attitude for he feels it is a self-respect or satisfaction in something done or owned. He says that we should have pride in the accomplishments of our children, family, and friends. Pride, he feels, might turn into a high opinion of oneself, even haughtiness or arrogance for a few individuals, but pride isn’t a problem with himself. Is it possible that we mainly think we are humble enough, and not overly proud in our attitudes?

I was telling Ed that I have been doing a study on pride, and the need for Christians to serve God and others in hiddenness or secrecy, so they don’t get prideful. Jesus said the essence of spiritual life is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, and one’s neighbor as oneself. Our pride or preoccupation with ourselves causes us to exclude God and other people from their rightful place in our hearts. Often we focus on how well we are doing, our image or appearance so that God and our neighbor are afterthoughts if any thought at all. Pride is why we evade, deny, blame and defend ourselves if someone or God’s word corrects us. It is the original sin as our desire and attempt to be equal with God. Pride is the reason we feel more important than other people when we are better, smarter, holier, etc. than others. Pride is at the heart of desire for approval and motivates us to impress others for their applause and recognition. When we act to impress others, we are showing off to get attention.

As, Christians, Jesus warned that we need to be careful not to do our acts of righteousness so they are seen by others who will honor us for them. “When we give to the needy it is to be done in secret. We should not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing. When we give in secret God sees it and will reward us. When we pray, we should go into a room and shut the door and pray to our Heavenly Father, who is unseen. God, who sees the praying done in secret, will reward it” When we fast no one should know we are doing it. What we do is not to be obvious to others so they will honor or applaud us. When we seek to do good things, we must not do them as badges of honor for others to see.

The way to transform our prideful hearts is practicing serving God and others by keeping our deeds hidden. When we do good things for others, we do not say anything about them. Others need not see them. Our actions are not to revolve around us in any way. We serve others by putting them before ourselves, by swallowing our pride. God sees when we are not too important for the interruptions and demands of others. He sees when we are humble enough to turn the other cheek.

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Raymond Maher
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