Sometimes our motives are obvious. Other times, we have ulterior motives guiding us, affecting our decision-making and discernment.
For me, guilt is often an ulterior motive. Back in school, every time the teacher reprimanded the whole class for bad behavior instead of singling someone out, I was sure it was all my fault. Even now, if someone on a work team seems less than thrilled with an outcome, I’m instantly guilty.
My guilt has had a way of guiding me into people-pleasing and letting others take advantage of me for a long time. When pressed, I tend to insist it isn’t guilt, but that I just love helping. As a result, I’m easily beholden, serving with impure motives, deceived by my own heart.
Paul prayed this for believers:
“That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless” –Ph 1:9-10
“Living as a slave of men” can easily be my pattern. To fight this battle, it helps to be able to recognize my own motives.