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Question about good deeds done in secret

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by Jenster, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Jenster

    Jenster Guest

    The Bible talks about doing good deeds for others but not running around telling people about them.

    I know someone who does things for others, which I think is nice. Things like bringing over dinner after someone's had a baby, or visiting someone who is down.

    But she also talks about each of these good deeds, and I have a hard time listening because it feels like she's trying to make everyone admire her for being a "good person." She usually phrases it as, "Oh, I was SO busy last night because I brought dinner over to Susie," or "Have you heard? Lisa's not feeling well, and I was over visiting her last night," or "I just finished organizing a HUGE party for Nancy's birthday. Everyone had such a good time at it."

    Am I being judgmental? How should I handle my reaction to her? Part of me thinks I should go ahead and tell her what she obviously wants, which is that she's a wonderful person for doing such nice things for other people all the time. But I do believe good deeds should be done not to get credit but for the joy of serving others.
  2. SharonL

    SharonL Senior Veteran

    The Bible says that if we brag about our good deeds that is our only reward. We should go about God's business in helping others and God will give us our rewards.

    I love doing for people behind the scenes. It is a good feeling knowing that it is just between you and God.
  3. IisJustMe

    IisJustMe He rescued me because He delighted in me (Ps18:19)

    Sharon's right. Also, in your example of "Lisa" it is actually a form of gossip, so she is compounding the sin. Someone should take her aside and gently persuade her of what she is doing and help her repent.
  4. turkle

    turkle Blessed

    The Bible tells us not to do things for the praise of man, only for the praise of God. However, what your friend is doing is between her and God. It is not for you to correct. Your reaction should be polite and gracious.
  5. BFine

    BFine Seed Planter

    Calvary Chapel
    If you tried to correct her, no matter how politely or privately it's done
    she would take it the wrong way -- avoid that, take the matter before the
    Lord and let Him deal with her in His own way.
  6. Pal Handy

    Pal Handy Irregular Member

    At least she does something to help someone so what
    is more important, to sit by and do nothing or to help
    others and gain some joy from the good that she has done for others through Christ
    by sharing it with other trusted Christians, who hopefully will share in her joy.

    I think that she is a little needy and does want people to esteem
    her good works but I think that her motive as a Christian are based in
    her service to Her Lord and I believe is her real motivation here.

    There is something to be said for doing your good deeds in
    private but sometimes that is not possible when your work involves serving others directly.

    Matthew 5:16
    In the same way, let your light shine before others,
    that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

    So according to scripture she is openly serving others and giving glory
    to God who she claims is her motivation for all the good she is doing.

    Don't be too hard on those who put a face on Christ's love and help
    others through their face to face acts of kindness.

    Don't be too hard on those who come to Christian brothers and sisters
    and recount what they have done in the hope that they will receive some
    praise, validation and encouragement to continue in their good deeds.

    It seems like to me we want to put others down for making their good deeds known because we feel uncomfortable with their actions and we realize that we have no desire to serve other in the same way.

    Have some grace and mercy on her and pray that God would use her to help
    others to see the face of Jesus Christ and His love by her simple acts of kindness.

    Every time you hear her tell of her acts of kindness, pray for her and do not think the worse
    of her by her wanting to share what is to her a high calling of serving others that Christ has
    given to her to do.

    I knew a dear and departed friend who would do all kinds of small acts
    of kindness to the people in her community.

    If she heard that someone was sick she would make a fresh pot of chicken soup and
    take it over and comfort and encourage them.

    I tell you that her funeral was one of the largest I had ever seen and the
    church was standing room only.

    Her little acts of kindness had touched so many in her community as
    story after story came out of her charitable acts of Christ's kindness
    were recounted at her funeral.

    I remember how I use to be annoyed by her telling me what she had done for so and so and
    I began to pray and examine my heart and I did not like what I saw.

    I saw envy, jealousy, resentment and pride and I realized that
    I was not loving and supporting my friend as I would have wanted others to
    support and rejoice with me when I recounted something God had done in my life.

    This friend was not telling strangers how wonderful she was, she was telling
    a trusted friend and brother in Christ what God had done in and through her.

    She was sharing the workings of Christ in her life with me not out of
    pride but as any close and loving friend would share their heart with another
    close and intimate friend.

    Don't be too hard on her because this world has far to little acts
    of love and kindness in it so encourage her to continue to allow
    the love of Christ to shine through her to others.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  7. Puptart

    Puptart Live, Laugh, Love.. and adopt a dog :)

    I think she's bragging a little bit, but that's her problem and not yours, so I'd just sort of tune it out.
  8. Ark100

    Ark100 The Lord is my Refuge

    She must have some issues about feeling recognized or loved for what she's doing. Maybe she has some self esteem issues?
    I think constant telling everyone of what you do and did for others is like rewarding yourself already without allowing God to do it.
    Hope she changes, if the Holy Spirit puts it in her heart or correct her.
    As for you, if you cant stand it, maybe do something else while she's bragging, or if you can stomach it, pull her gently aside sometime and gently let her know God rewards people who do things between them and God without feeling the need to tell everyone else..
    She may not know this, and may appreciate if someone tells her kindly. Tell her with love. We are all our brothehrs and sisters keepers, we dont have to fold our arms all the time because we want to avoid being honest. Truth hurts sometimes and some people need to hear it to help them
  9. Jenster

    Jenster Guest

    I don't know what I'd do without this forum or without you kind folks to give me your thoughts and advice and understanding. :hug: Thank you so much. I feel relieved to know that you understand what I'm talking about and feeling, but I also feel challenged by your advice to either talk with her (gently, in love) or encourage her good deeds by being supportive.

    The reason I posted about this is because I do feel conflicted -- wanting to be supportive and yet only "hearing" the bragging part. I think her motives are perhaps mixed. She revels in being involved with other people (it aligns with her values and gives her something interesting to talk about as well) and at the same time, she likes attention, which leads her to "make" a bit too much of what she does.

    I am afraid she might not receive my feedback well, as BFine suggested might happen. But I will consider it and see if the Lord opens up any door in that area. I am worried that she might interpret what I have to say as opposition to her getting any attention, as she can be pretty stubborn.

    Pal Handy, just wanted to thank you for sharing your story of feeling annoyed by the woman but then being convicted by the Holy Spirit. I see the beauty in your advice to be supportive of her good works. I will pray that I can be gracious, and leave the rest to the Lord.

    Blessings to you all.
  10. renewed21

    renewed21 what are you waiting for?

    This is my recomendation if you two are just aquaintences. If you two are close, then tell her the truth. IMO