Motivations Matter

shnarkle

Well-known member
Some people see something and they want it, but there's a law in place that informs them that to steal what they want is illegal. They are told it is wrong to steal, and there is a penalty in place to deal with this transgression if they are caught.

There are also people who either lack, or no longer have, this desire for what isn't there's to begin with. Their motivation isn't necessarily due to any sense of right or wrong, but because they have an innate sense of revulsion at the very idea of taking something that isn't theirs, or perhaps the property of others isn't going to add anything to their life that they don't have already, they're simply incapable of stealing. The point here isn't to determine what the reason is, but to point out that the law forbidding theft is irrelevant to them. They don't need a law prohibiting theft because they have no need or desire to steal in the first place. The concept is incoherent to them.

Another example is the secluded tribe in south America that has no word for "rape". The reason being that no one has ever been raped. It isn't something that exists in their culture. Therefore, they naturally have no laws prohibiting rape. It isn't a part of their vocabulary because they have no conception of it to begin with.

Paul says that "where there is no law, there is no sin", and this is essentially saying the same thing, but people also interpret this to mean that where there is no law against theft or rape, to rape or steal is then perfectly acceptable. While one cannot transgress a law that doesn't exist, it doesn't then follow that just because a law has not been codified, it is acceptable to transgress it. In other words, the law against theft or rape already exists, and it exists in human beings. Those who are not aware of this law are psychopaths when they transgress them, while those who never do are human beings, or what the bible refers to as "a new creation".

The problem is that not all human beings are aware of their own innate value nor the innate value of those around them so they must be taught that stealing is wrong, and informed that if they are caught stealing, they will be punished. There are penalties for transgressing the law. This becomes their motivation for refraining from theft. However, this isn't enough to keep them from stealing because they have no inner or innate awareness of why this is wrong or evil. They don't actually see their own innate value nor the innate value of those around them. They just see their own rationale, or justifications for stealing. Christ points out that to do this is an abomination (Luke 16:15).

When they do become aware of the intrinsic value of all humanity, these penalties no longer motivate them to obey the law. Does this then mean it is acceptable or moral to engage in theft? Certainly not for them. Does this do away with the necessity of the law for everyone else who still has no awareness of the intrinsic value of themselves or those around them? Undoubtedly not. Instead of the law motivating them, they simply have no motivation to steal in the first place.

The law is in place to reveal God's will to fallen, broken human beings. Fallen, broken human beings can only make feeble attempts at struggling to keep them. This struggle is a clear indication that what is possible with God is not possible with them. The first testament is one of failure while the second is one of success. The first is fraught with transgressions while the second precludes that as a possibility.

Those who disagree are not paying attention to the fact that if the second is no better than the first, there is no need for the second in the first place. Jesus points out that the deaf hear, the blind see, and the lame walk. This is not a testament to failure. The first testament is one of struggle while the second is one where the yoke is easy and the burden is light. The first insists that you must carry your load while the second insists that Christ carry it for you.
 

shnarkle

Well-known member
Some people see something and they want it, but there's a law in place that informs them that to steal what they want is illegal. They are told it is wrong to steal, and there is a penalty in place to deal with this transgression if they are caught.

There are also people who either lack, or no longer have, this desire for what isn't there's to begin with. Their motivation isn't necessarily due to any sense of right or wrong, but because they have an innate sense of revulsion at the very idea of taking something that isn't theirs, or perhaps the property of others isn't going to add anything to their life that they don't have already, they're simply incapable of stealing. The point here isn't to determine what the reason is, but to point out that the law forbidding theft is irrelevant to them. They don't need a law prohibiting theft because they have no need or desire to steal in the first place. The concept is incoherent to them.

Another example is the secluded tribe in south America that has no word for "rape". The reason being that no one has ever been raped. It isn't something that exists in their culture. Therefore, they naturally have no laws prohibiting rape. It isn't a part of their vocabulary because they have no conception of it to begin with.

Paul says that "where there is no law, there is no sin", and this is essentially saying the same thing, but people also interpret this to mean that where there is no law against theft or rape, to rape or steal is then perfectly acceptable. While one cannot transgress a law that doesn't exist, it doesn't then follow that just because a law has not been codified, it is acceptable to transgress it. In other words, the law against theft or rape already exists, and it exists in human beings. Those who are not aware of this law are psychopaths when they transgress them, while those who never do are human beings, or what the bible refers to as "a new creation".

The problem is that not all human beings are aware of their own innate value nor the innate value of those around them so they must be taught that stealing is wrong, and informed that if they are caught stealing, they will be punished. There are penalties for transgressing the law. This becomes their motivation for refraining from theft. However, this isn't enough to keep them from stealing because they have no inner or innate awareness of why this is wrong or evil. They don't actually see their own innate value nor the innate value of those around them. They just see their own rationale, or justifications for stealing. Christ points out that to do this is an abomination (Luke 16:15).

When they do become aware of the intrinsic value of all humanity, these penalties no longer motivate them to obey the law. Does this then mean it is acceptable or moral to engage in theft? Certainly not for them. Does this do away with the necessity of the law for everyone else who still has no awareness of the intrinsic value of themselves or those around them? Undoubtedly not. Instead of the law motivating them, they simply have no motivation to steal in the first place.

The law is in place to reveal God's will to fallen, broken human beings. Fallen, broken human beings can only make feeble attempts at struggling to keep them. This struggle is a clear indication that what is possible with God is not possible with them. The first testament is one of failure while the second is one of success. The first is fraught with transgressions while the second precludes that as a possibility.

Those who disagree are not paying attention to the fact that if the second is no better than the first, there is no need for the second in the first place. Jesus points out that the deaf hear, the blind see, and the lame walk. This is not a testament to failure. The first testament is one of struggle while the second is one where the yoke is easy and the burden is light. The first insists that you must carry your load while the second insists that Christ carry it for you.
What if those who have absolutely no desire for the possessions of others live in the same neighborhood as those who want what others have? What if these two worlds collided?

As soon as the theft occurs, the thing stolen is now in the possession of the thief, but the person who has no desire for the possessions of others, by definition and by nature, couldn't care less. Obviously, this only works if the thieves only steal from those who have no desire for the possessions of others. If this were the case, it seems evident that theft would become a meaningless concept.

I have a house full of garbage, and my neighbors now come over to rummage through it because they have decided to take on the oppressive task of cleaning my home, and they have elected to do this quite simply out of the kindness of their hearts. I sit back and relax as they waltz out my front door with what they view as prized possessions. Go figure. Nonetheless, they are doing me this great favor. Is this not something approaching a perfect world?

Shakespeare puts it this way: "He who steals from me steals trash" Jesus draws the line for what is trash just slightly within the boundaries of the entire created world.

Is it any wonder that when the homeless are given places to live, clothes, etc. that they tend to treat these gifts as if they were worthless? I'm not referring to all people who are homeless. No doubt some are quite grateful, but they're still aware of the fact that there's no point in working for anything if they can acquire it without working at all. This alone is enough to lower its value as well as one's sense of gratitude. One isn't likely to be grateful for someone else's charity when it is already so plentiful.

What happens when it is all garbage? Doesn't the idea of tithing become somewhat ridiculous or redundant? Most people look at tithing as a minimum allowable amount. They must tithe at least 10% rather than no more than 10%. But if you have an overabundance of wealth that you want to get rid of, what do you do then? You begin to look at tithing in a whole new light.

If everyone is getting rid of their excess wealth there are going to be those who are unable to get rid of theirs because no one wants it now. You come up with laws that make it a maximum of 10% rather than a minimum. This is the law in God's kingdom because God's kingdom is one of abundance. As things get worse, you begin to come up with laws to bypass this onerous law that prevents you from tithing more than your fair share.

Obviously, this is not so that people will view you as some sort of benevolent, giving person. This would never be a consideration if everyone had the same problem. It is strictly due to self interest alone. So what inevitably happens is we are then forced to pay an offering to the gods for our financial affluence. First there is the offering of thanks, then the offering for our trespass against our neighbor for having more wealth than they do. We are a blight on the neighborhood, and must pay.

Does anyone see where this is going? As all of this wealth is filtered down through society, it builds up until those who have more eventually have no more than anyone else. Then there is no one to give our wealth to anymore. Tithing becomes redundant and must be abandoned. The only option left is to abandon our wealth. No doubt this is irresponsible when there is no one who wants or needs the burden of dealing with this blight on society.

Obviously, this scenario is just as true with garbage as it is with material wealth. One man's trash is another's treasure.

We don't have this problem now, but what would happen if we take this scenario with regards to wealth rather than garbage? We're lucky enough to have most wealth accumulating with the top one tenth of the top one percent. But if it were to all begin filtering down would the fact that there are those who are willing to collect one's wealth or garbage absolve us of this lack of responsibility? Are we any better or worse than the next guy who is responsible just because he follows the law?

In other words, is it morally acceptable when there is a demand, but morally unacceptable when there isn't?
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
What if those who have absolutely no desire for the possessions of others live in the same neighborhood as those who want what others have? What if these two worlds collided?

As soon as the theft occurs, the thing stolen is now in the possession of the thief, but the person who has no desire for the possessions of others, by definition and by nature, couldn't care less. Obviously, this only works if the thieves only steal from those who have no desire for the possessions of others. If this were the case, it seems evident that theft would become a meaningless concept.

I have a house full of garbage, and my neighbors now come over to rummage through it because they have decided to take on the oppressive task of cleaning my home, and they have elected to do this quite simply out of the kindness of their hearts. I sit back and relax as they waltz out my front door with what they view as prized possessions. Go figure. Nonetheless, they are doing me this great favor. Is this not something approaching a perfect world?

Shakespeare puts it this way: "He who steals from me steals trash" Jesus draws the line for what is trash just slightly within the boundaries of the entire created world.

Is it any wonder that when the homeless are given places to live, clothes, etc. that they tend to treat these gifts as if they were worthless? I'm not referring to all people who are homeless. No doubt some are quite grateful, but they're still aware of the fact that there's no point in working for anything if they can acquire it without working at all. This alone is enough to lower its value as well as one's sense of gratitude. One isn't likely to be grateful for someone else's charity when it is already so plentiful.

What happens when it is all garbage? Doesn't the idea of tithing become somewhat ridiculous or redundant? Most people look at tithing as a minimum allowable amount. They must tithe at least 10% rather than no more than 10%. But if you have an overabundance of wealth that you want to get rid of, what do you do then? You begin to look at tithing in a whole new light.

If everyone is getting rid of their excess wealth there are going to be those who are unable to get rid of theirs because no one wants it now. You come up with laws that make it a maximum of 10% rather than a minimum. This is the law in God's kingdom because God's kingdom is one of abundance. As things get worse, you begin to come up with laws to bypass this onerous law that prevents you from tithing more than your fair share.

Obviously, this is not so that people will view you as some sort of benevolent, giving person. This would never be a consideration if everyone had the same problem. It is strictly due to self interest alone. So what inevitably happens is we are then forced to pay an offering to the gods for our financial affluence. First there is the offering of thanks, then the offering for our trespass against our neighbor for having more wealth than they do. We are a blight on the neighborhood, and must pay.

Does anyone see where this is going? As all of this wealth is filtered down through society, it builds up until those who have more eventually have no more than anyone else. Then there is no one to give our wealth to anymore. Tithing becomes redundant and must be abandoned. The only option left is to abandon our wealth. No doubt this is irresponsible when there is no one who wants or needs the burden of dealing with this blight on society.

Obviously, this scenario is just as true with garbage as it is with material wealth. One man's trash is another's treasure.

We don't have this problem now, but what would happen if we take this scenario with regards to wealth rather than garbage? We're lucky enough to have most wealth accumulating with the top one tenth of the top one percent. But if it were to all begin filtering down would the fact that there are those who are willing to collect one's wealth or garbage absolve us of this lack of responsibility? Are we any better or worse than the next guy who is responsible just because he follows the law?

In other words, is it morally acceptable when there is a demand, but morally unacceptable when there isn't?

I'm not exactly sure what your point is, but if you need a place to transfer all the garbage in your bank, I can help you.

A Christian's relation to material wealth should be one of stewardship and generosity I think, a vehicle for a service to God.

If we all had the heart of Christ, willing to give everything away at a moment's notice, then God's interests would be most promoted by our wealth.
 

shnarkle

Well-known member
I'm not exactly sure what your point is, but if you need a place to transfer all the garbage in your bank, I can help you.
The dollar has lost over 95% of its value over the last 100 years. It's almost worthless. Russia has just announced that they will be unloading the last of their exposure to US debt instruments. China is also unloading as well as a number of other countries. They all see the writing on the walls. The petrodollar is on life support, and about to die. They are all making arrangements to trade in anything other than the dying worthless dollar.
A Christian's relation to material wealth should be one of stewardship and generosity I think, a vehicle for a service to God.
And yet Christ doesn't present Mammon as a steward or a vehicle in service to God. He places Mammon in opposition to God. We could make your argument with regards to Satan as well. We use Satan as a steward or vehicle in service to God.
If we all had the heart of Christ, willing to give everything away at a moment's notice, then God's interests would be most promoted by our wealth.
And yet there are very few verses that indicate Christ's message was promoted using wealth. Most of them provide a vision of abundance without any need or reliance upon money or wealth.
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
And yet Christ doesn't present Mammon as a steward or a vehicle in service to God. He places Mammon in opposition to God. We could make your argument with regards to Satan as well. We use Satan as a steward or vehicle in service to God.

I think you're making a mistake there

Christ talks about the "love" of mammon or making it your "master." It is not sinful to have wealth in the Bible.

And yet there are very few verses that indicate Christ's message was promoted using wealth. Most of them provide a vision of abundance without any need or reliance upon money or wealth.

Brother, you need to study the Word of God more closely.

And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. (Luk 16:9 NKJ)
 

Algernon

Active member
The law is in place to reveal God's will to fallen, broken human beings. Fallen, broken human beings can only make feeble attempts at struggling to keep them. This struggle is a clear indication that what is possible with God is not possible with them. The first testament is one of failure while the second is one of success. The first is fraught with transgressions while the second precludes that as a possibility.

Those who disagree are not paying attention to the fact that if the second is no better than the first, there is no need for the second in the first place. Jesus points out that the deaf hear, the blind see, and the lame walk. This is not a testament to failure. The first testament is one of struggle while the second is one where the yoke is easy and the burden is light. The first insists that you must carry your load while the second insists that Christ carry it for you.
Let's say that the standard for morality is encapsulated by the following:
Matthew 7
12“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

When all is said and done, what evidence do you have that Christians are any more moral by the above standard than non-Christians? That Christians struggle any less to be moral by that standard than non-Christians?

In my experience, if anything it is the Christians who are less moral by that standard. This is especially true of evangelical/fundamentalist Christians.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
Some people see something and they want it, but there's a law in place that informs them that to steal what they want is illegal. They are told it is wrong to steal, and there is a penalty in place to deal with this transgression if they are caught.

There are also people who either lack, or no longer have, this desire for what isn't there's to begin with. Their motivation isn't necessarily due to any sense of right or wrong, but because they have an innate sense of revulsion at the very idea of taking something that isn't theirs, or perhaps the property of others isn't going to add anything to their life that they don't have already, they're simply incapable of stealing. The point here isn't to determine what the reason is, but to point out that the law forbidding theft is irrelevant to them. They don't need a law prohibiting theft because they have no need or desire to steal in the first place. The concept is incoherent to them.

Another example is the secluded tribe in south America that has no word for "rape". The reason being that no one has ever been raped. It isn't something that exists in their culture. Therefore, they naturally have no laws prohibiting rape. It isn't a part of their vocabulary because they have no conception of it to begin with.

Paul says that "where there is no law, there is no sin", and this is essentially saying the same thing, but people also interpret this to mean that where there is no law against theft or rape, to rape or steal is then perfectly acceptable. While one cannot transgress a law that doesn't exist, it doesn't then follow that just because a law has not been codified, it is acceptable to transgress it. In other words, the law against theft or rape already exists, and it exists in human beings. Those who are not aware of this law are psychopaths when they transgress them, while those who never do are human beings, or what the bible refers to as "a new creation".

The problem is that not all human beings are aware of their own innate value nor the innate value of those around them so they must be taught that stealing is wrong, and informed that if they are caught stealing, they will be punished. There are penalties for transgressing the law. This becomes their motivation for refraining from theft. However, this isn't enough to keep them from stealing because they have no inner or innate awareness of why this is wrong or evil. They don't actually see their own innate value nor the innate value of those around them. They just see their own rationale, or justifications for stealing. Christ points out that to do this is an abomination (Luke 16:15).

When they do become aware of the intrinsic value of all humanity, these penalties no longer motivate them to obey the law. Does this then mean it is acceptable or moral to engage in theft? Certainly not for them. Does this do away with the necessity of the law for everyone else who still has no awareness of the intrinsic value of themselves or those around them? Undoubtedly not. Instead of the law motivating them, they simply have no motivation to steal in the first place.

The law is in place to reveal God's will to fallen, broken human beings. Fallen, broken human beings can only make feeble attempts at struggling to keep them. This struggle is a clear indication that what is possible with God is not possible with them. The first testament is one of failure while the second is one of success. The first is fraught with transgressions while the second precludes that as a possibility.

Those who disagree are not paying attention to the fact that if the second is no better than the first, there is no need for the second in the first place. Jesus points out that the deaf hear, the blind see, and the lame walk. This is not a testament to failure. The first testament is one of struggle while the second is one where the yoke is easy and the burden is light. The first insists that you must carry your load while the second insists that Christ carry it for you.
Motivation does indeed matter.

The problem as i see it is that-- we can't actually know what our own motivation is.

Paul touches on this in 1 Corinthians 4.

1Co 4:1-5 WEB 1 So let a man think of us as Christ’s servants, and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2 Here, moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by man’s judgment. Yes, I don’t judge my own self. 4 For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God.


It should first be noted that we're only required to be faithful.

The rest is in God's hands.

If he shows us that our motives are not correct, he will give us the wherewithal to turn to him from our sin and place our trust in Jesus regarding it. Thus, 1 John 1:5-2:2.

The problem I have with trying to figure out my motivation is...

We used to call it--- the paralysis of analysis.

I spent years trying to make sure that my motives were "pure" and ONLY "Loving", so that my works, when judged at the Bema Seat would be "gold, silver and precious stones."

Several years later I had a vision of myself standing before Jesus and as I ran to greet him, I was holding out my hands so I could show him everything I'd done, and everything that was in my hands went up in smoke, as the ash fell through my fingers to the ground. I crumbled in shame before him, and shock.

Over the next several decades I began to learn that in the parable of the talents and mina, the only guy who spent his time worrying about his motives was the guy who did nothing but bury it in the ground.

The topic of discussion came up in my men's group one week and I was reminded of the 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 passage....

We're only required to be faithful. God will give increase.

So....
Take a lesson from several old timers who were helpful in my learning experience...


Don't spend your time trying to make sure that your motives are "pure/love." It's written in Psalm 37:5.... commit your ways to God and he will bring it to pass.
In Proverbs 16:3, commit your works to God and your thoughts shall be established.

Focus on learning to follow Jesus. He'll take care of your motivations.
 
Top