Many times we give expecting it to be returned in kind. And this can lead to bitterness and resentment when it’s not. At other times, we want to bless others just because. And bitterness does not take root when this is truly our free gift with no strings attached.
Of course, we all appreciate the gratitude others offer when we do something kind for them. It feels good to have our efforts affirmed, particularly when there was a significant sacrifice involved.
And it feels even better when our acts of love inspire others to do the same. There’s a sense in which we keep trying to outdo each other in our expressions of love – not from pride but rather a sincere commitment to keep maturing and expanding our capacity to love each other well.
But appreciating gratitude and mutually inspiring each other toward love and good works is not the same as placing demands and expectations on each other to respond in a certain way to our gifts.
Ideally, we give others our free gifts.
This is not to suggest they don’t come with a cost. And it’s only natural to desire certain outcomes from the efforts we make.
But as our free gift there’s nothing in particular required from the other. This is simply our donation to them that they’re free to do with whatever they want.
When we find ourselves resenting their response, or lack thereof, this is a clue our gift was not freely given.
And like Ananias and Sapphira, we do have some freedom in deciding whether to give our gift or not. And if giving leads to resentment, we’re free not to give.
In fact, it might be better not to give and maintain our bonds of love with each other than to give and allow bitterness to destroy our relationships.
And this is part of how we exercise the freedom of our gift as well – free to give or not to give, and either way with no demands on the other.
In the end, free yourself of bitterness and resentment by learning to offer your gifts to others freely with no strings attached.