Thursday, March 26, 2009

25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.

From Missy in DC:

I was intrigued by this maxim when Emily sent it to me. I wondered how often I start out with good intentions to do something, only to end up seeking approval or worse, wanting someone to feel sorry for me because I feel I have been so put upon. Why is that? In our instant gratification culture we wonder what the “polls” say about us. We fish for compliments. We tell our tale of woe to any and all who will listen. But even as we hear what we are hoping for, a compliment or a “poor you”, it never satisfies.

Consider the poor widow in the Gospels of Luke and Mark. When she makes her offering, Jesus knows she is giving all; out of her poverty. Most importantly, she made her offering without expecting pity or praise. We need to remember “Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:4) God sees all, knows our hearts and through His love we realize that nothing we do is in vain, even when we feel slighted or put upon.

The other side of this of course is that we should express our gratitude (praise) and compassion (pity) openly to those around us whenever possible. Expressing gratitude and compassion for others, especially those who are not expecting it, is satisfying. We have an opportunity to express something that may comfort or uplift someone exactly when they needed to hear it, without asking.

So maybe what we really need to seek is those opportunities to give rather than receive gratitude (praise) or compassion (pity). And when we find ourselves looking for those moments, better we should create them for someone else, in effect giving “out of our poverty” and being blessed in the process.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Very good point, thank you.

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.