Love Is Not an Advertisement
By Rev. H. Gordon Smith III
There is a danger that exists in our social-media driven world in which deeds are done to be seen by others. Helping the poor, caring for the fatherless and the widow, accepting the marginalized, and being there for those who hurt, have degraded into “opportunities” to exploit the needy for the benefit of self-promotion. “Love,” unfortunately, has become a marketing ploy to induce self-flattery under the guise of loving our neighbor as our “selfie.”
There is good reason why the Lord encourages us to be careful not to practice (nor post) our righteousness to be seen by others (on social-media) in order to appear more righteous than we really are (Mt. 6:1-2). To resist the compulsion to take a “selfie” when giving to the needy (Mt. 6:3-5) relieves us of the tyranny of thinking of ourselves as better than those around us (Phil. 2:3). It frees us to love people absent of the necessity for attention, and to do it for the right reasons (Mt. 6:4).
Our lives should be lived like that of children who are caught loving and carrying for others even when no one else is watching. The reward is the pleasure inscribed with a smile upon mommy and daddy’s face. The parent looks out a window and sees the good that their child has done when no one else was around. There is no need to boast. No one else needs to know.
It is safe to say, that most of us have failed at some point to resist the urge to make loving others a product of our own self-promotion. It is best for all of us to love without expectation for reward, and to give without the need to be seen. God looks out the window at his children and says to you and I in those moments, like He said to Cornelius and a few faithful servants, “I see your gifts to the poor” (Acts 10:4), “come and share in your master’s happiness” (Mt. 21:23). The reward is the pleasure inscribed with a smile upon our Father’s face.