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Part of love is a radical generosity – a willingness to proactively shower others with goodness and our very selves. But love is still focused on providing what is needed to bless the other. And it’s likely our own pride motivating us when we feel compelled to give others gifts they don’t want or need.

While gifts speak to some more than others, we can all generally appreciate a thoughtful gift. But what makes a gift meaningful is when it’s focused on the personal heart and needs of the other. The genuineness of our love is rightly questioned when we seem more concerned about how giving the gift makes us feel than how it might bless the other.

For instance, this is when giving our kids everything they want is more about the pride of us being seen as a good provider than truly giving them what they need. Or perhaps we give token gifts because it helps us to feel better about ourselves. Or maybe serving someone else allows us to avoid the issues that need to be addressed in our own life.

On the surface, we simply seem generous and kind toward others. But, as we pull back a layer or two, we might realize our gifts are actually more about meeting our needs than the needs of the other.

Of course, we’re mixed bags and it’s likely not all of one or the other – we genuinely care about the needs of the other AND our selfishness and pride gets mixed in as well. But we must regularly check our heart attitudes to ensure true love is our motivation more than our own self-interest. And we’ve likely missed the mark when we find ourselves growing bitter because others don’t seem to want or fully appreciate the gifts we offer.

In the end, be generous and willing to exceed the expectations of others. But check your motivations to ensure you’re truly blessing them rather than just stroking your own ego, or merely keeping yourself distracted from the weightier matters of your own heart.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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