Why We Should Bless Selfishly

“You don’t give a gift to someone hoping they’ll give you one back. That’s selfish,” your momma said.

Do the right thing because it’s the right thing. Don’t expect anything in return. 

This is the essence of Christian morality. Christian morality, as it is portrayed in a biblically-illiterate world, apparently. Because the Bible actually says this:

Do not repay evil for evil . . . but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9

It’s all over Scripture. God wants us to do good so that we may receive the same.

Why does God work this way? And why do we get it all wrong?

festive Christmas present --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

To explain, Peter quotes from the Psalms:

Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

Psalm 34:12-16
{as quoted by Peter, 3:10-12}

God loves the righteous. As Peter draws out all these distinctions between the righteous and the wicked, it becomes quite clear: God favors those who do good. Not because they’re better. Not because they have earned it. Simply because they’re obedient and they’re his.

God wants to give good gifts to his children. Just like any other parent, God wants his children to make the right choices so they receive rewards and not consequences. And so he always gives a reward and motivation that, to us, may seem “selfish.” Keep your tongue from evil, do good, and seek peace? You will see good days. Live righteously? The eyes of the Lord will be on you, and his ears will hear your prayer. {Contrast: Live wickedly? The face of the Lord will be against you.}

And so it is with blessing others. Repay evil with blessing? Not only will your enemy be blessed, you will be blessed in return. {Not to mention, your enemy’s blessing is merely implied – your blessing is emphasized.}

So why do we feel guilty when we want something in return?

We get it all wrong when we view “rewards” as “selfish motivation.” God is, in effect, enticing us to do good by offering personal gain. If it were wrong and sinful of us to desire this kind of personal gain, would God really set it before us as with a bait and lure? God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one (Jam 1:13).

It is good and right that we should seek a reward.  . . . though it seems we do a poor job of it, because God usually has to beckon and captivate us. He richly holds out a bright and shiny package with a sparkly bow, and says, “This is what I want for you. Please. Do the thing that enables you to receive it, because it is good, oh so good, for you.”

Why should we bless selfishly? Because that’s how God says to do it. God calls us to this very thing. Read it again:

Do not repay evil for evil . . . but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Yes, the good we do is good on many levels. But one thing we can know: it is good for us, too.

And as that’s the only reason given, that’s reason enough for me.

 [image credit: flickr.com, journeyoftheword.com]


9 thoughts on “Why We Should Bless Selfishly

  1. What an interesting write up on God’s beautiful blessings. It is great knowing that when I do what’s right and bless others, my life is subsequently blessed as well. I truly know this to be true because God has blessed my life in so many ways. Thank you for sharing with TGI Saturdays.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was such an insightful post!! I was having one AHH HAA moment after the other!! I never reflected on that verse in the light by which you presented it.

    You have really given me much to think about here, ESPECIALLY when last week’s post talked about how I feel I do things for others with a “hidden motive” in hopes that they will respond in kind to me.

    I LOVE how the Lord uses fellow bloggers to speak over our lives and cause us to “reason together”.

    I’m so glad I stopped by here today!

    Like

  3. There are days I have to remind myself “It’s not all about me.” And then God just plops an extra-special gift in my lap and I’m reminded He’s sees the progress of me, not the failures.

    Like

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