6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
What is our motivation for doing so-called good deeds?
Is it to make ourselves feel better, so we can live up to our idea of a good person, a form of self-acceptance? Or perhaps it is to be seen, acknowledged, and approved by others, as the verse today warns us not to do?
If I’m honest with myself, I would do these good deeds for the applause of people – everyone wants to be accepted. I remember joining the Service Club in high school with the primary motivation at the time to gain sufficient kudos to be voted in as a prefect or student leader. Ironically, I actually enjoyed visiting the elderly, and making a difference in the community. However, that did not change my primary motivation.
Jesus is encouraging his followers to rather seek the applause of Heaven, do it for him. By doing it for him, apart from receiving heavenly rewards (something video gamers will appreciate), we are saying thank you Jesus for what you did for me. By your sacrifice on the cross, I am now accepted by God, and my primary motivation is rather to make Jesus name famous. If he loves me, I can accept myself, warts and all. What a relief!