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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Jackson

Oh, the accolades

It didn’t start with foster care, it started sometime in high school when my need for doing good and receiving praise from others trumped actually caring about people. There was a shift when I began to crave the dopamine high from accomplishing good deeds and having others tell me how great I was for seeing a need and acting.

It took a radical shift and a lot of tears as I realized my pride and need for praise had far outweighed a heart of humble compassion. But that goes back to God’s upside-down Kingdom discussed last week here. The world would say that any motivation that causes us to act with goodness towards another person is worthy of praise. God would say that unless a humble heart filled with compassion is what motivates us to love others, our goodness is filthy rags.

Foster care broke me of the pattern of this self-righteous do-gooder mentality. Maybe it was because it was in my face, my home, my own brokenness. Maybe it was the brokenness of the families and systems. Maybe it was just holding babies in the night that desperately needed me – all of me. But I think more than anything it was getting to a place that I could not complete the mission. I could not accomplish the goal. There was always another phone call. There were always more children. There was so much brokenness and even if people offered praise of us being foster parents, it didn’t fix anything.

I understood the magnitude of the world needing a Savior, not a privileged girl looking for accolades to make me feel good. There is no balance when it comes to acting out of self-righteousness to accomplish good deeds. It just has to be internally checked at the door. The balance comes from knowing my acts of service can only be used by God when I am willing to radically see how much others need Him. Knowing God uses me as a tool for His glory allows me to humbly engage in loving others because others need Him, the Savior.

The balance becomes a necessity when our self-righteousness is revealed and we are paralyzed. I’ve been there. I’ve been paralyzed when I understood my own capacity for causing harm to others and desiring to retreat. God desires us to clumsily walk along side of Him in action as we work out laying down self-righteousness and taking up a humble heart of compassion.

His grace is great and He needs you to do your part in unleashing good onto the world because the world needs a Savior.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition of conceit, but in humility consider others as MORE important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

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