10-19-2006, 05:01 AM
This is a little bit long, but bear with me here. I posted this in my livejournal this morning, but I felt it would be a nice topic(s) to discuss. I want to know how other Christians feel on this matter.

So yesterday has been my most promising day at college so far, and I have Intro to Philosophy to thank. We were discussing the different branches of Yoga. We were going over Karma and Dharma and he started telling us this scene from Star Wars. There was this huge weapon known as the DeathStar and Luke and everyone was basically in an all out battle against the storm troopers to get to this "chink in the armor" to destroy it. Then a random good character no one has seen or heard of (the audience, that is) pops up on the screen and says, "I'm hit! I'm hit! What do I do!?" The people back at the station say, "Stay on target." So he does and his ship blows up, creating a massive blinding light for a moment. And in this moment, everyone shuts their eyes from the luminous light, except for Luke because he's using the force and already has his eyes shut (but can see). So he has an open path to fly into the "chink" in the DeathStar and destroy it. So this all concluded to, "Why did this unknown person kill himself? What does he benefit from it all? He's dead, so what does it matter to him if they win or lose now?"

Well, this is where discussion led to uncharted waters for me. Let's say you donate money to a charity. Some people do it for Karma of "what goes around comes around". So would it still work though, since you have the wrong intentions? I mean, you give X amount of dollars to a needy organization just so you will get something in return later, whether it be a good reputation or a reward in heaven. But something's wrong with giving selfishly, right?

So this, then, leads to: what if you give money to a charity because it's the right thing to do. You get that good feeling knowing you did the right thing. However, is that not also selfishness? Doing something to feel that good feeling? So basically what it all sums up to is that we can not escape ourselves and our selfishness! Not matter what we do, self-sacrifice, giving money, jumping on a bomb to save others, is it not all selfishness through being thought well of once you die, or a good reputation, or getting something in return? This realization just blew my mind. It just shattered every foundation thought I had!

And this is where my timeless question came in: If sinning is "missing the mark" then don't we sin all the time? Like, if I have $100 in my pocket and it's all I have to live on, if I only give this homeless person $20, am I not sinning because I'm missing the mark? I have good intentions, if that even exists (refer to the above paragraph), but I'm not going "all the way". I'm just missing the mark. However, if I give my full $100, then I will be left with nothing. No money for food, water, shelter, etc. So where do you draw the line? Or can you?

Are we ever good enough?

10-19-2006, 08:43 AM
woah...when you ask a difficult question you go all out don't you Amelia :P

Romans 3:9-10, "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: 'There is none righteous, no, not one;'"

none of us are good enough Amelia...we are selfish by nature...it is only by the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made that we can even come close to being good enough...

Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings."

Romans 7 is a good chapter to go along with what you are saying here...

Romans 7:21-25
I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

i'd really need more time to think on this before i post anymore...but really interesting topic :)

10-19-2006, 02:39 PM
i have the privilege of foresight, of sorts. Some friends of mine discussed this back when i was in high school, the idea that everything we do is selfish. They went so far as to discuss whether Jesus' motives were selfish in nature (i.e. to be reunited with us, to please the Father). So i have had a couple years to think on this of and on. :)

God knows that even our best intentions fall short (as Laura pointed out via Romans). But he's not the kind to laugh at our shortcomings. He's the kind to come to our level (Jesus). He knows our shortcomings, that we can't do anything without even a hint of selfishness in our motives. But he takes our best intentions.

To use your examples Amelia, if you give money to charity just so you can say you gave, it's different than if you gave it to assuage your guilt, which is different even still from giving because you know you should, which is still different from giving because you truly want to (maybe it's a charity for underprivileged children and you used to be one yourself).

It's like tithing. If you do it out of a willing heart, it's probably the best you can get. There's not going to be a point where you give because you truly, deeply, only want to give what you have away to the church.

Does that make sense?

10-19-2006, 02:56 PM
What you are talking about is something called Alms:

"money, food, or other donations given to the poor or needy; anything given as charity: The hands of the beggars were outstretched for alms."

It's one of the types of giving. There is really nothing wrong with it. It falls into place of being a good samaritan.


10-19-2006, 04:08 PM

But this applies to more than simply Alms. It goes for tutoring a kid at the community center, picking up trash in the park, protesting corporations dumping waste into a wildlife preserve... Any good deed, really.