by Christopher Harbin

Because It's Right
Christopher B. Harbin
2 Corinthians 8:1-9

Why do we do the things we do? Why do others do what they do? Motivation and intention are very important aspects of our lives, and yet in too many situations we are much more concerned about appointing improper motivations to others, while we give ourselves much greater latitude with regard to our own motivations. We like to excuse ourselves, and yet we seem to relish accusing others of something less than stellar purposes, intentions, and motives. It often seems far too difficult to live up to the standards we set for ourselves. So why do we do the things we do? Why are we so concerned to attribute meaning and improper motivation to the actions of others?

When it gets down to it, we normally do not know what drives others to do the things they do. We imagine all sorts of motivations and underlying forces driving decisions. We pick apart people's actions, all the while building a case to tear them down. The problem is that in general the only thing we find behind the actions of others is what we have expected to find, even though our expectations are most often unfounded, incorrect, and based more than anything on our own insecurities. The more we project them onto others, the more we validate them, even if there is no truly appropriate basis for our thoughts to malign others with improper motives.

Paul struggled with some of the same issues in projecting motivations upon others and judging beforehand how people would react and respond to real life issues presented before him. He considered that the population of Macedonia was suffering enough in their own poverty and would neither have the desire, nor the resources to reach out in an effort to allay the disaster of famine that had come upon the believers in Judea. He figured they would look to their own plight and determine that they needed first of all to care for their own families. He determined they did not have the resources to help. He ...

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