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God-centrism, Charity-Centrism, and Self-Centeredness
God does not necessarily reside in Charity; but everything, including Charity, resides in God.
What does this mean? What’s the difference?
Take a look at medical charities that work in remote regions of the world devote their efforts to treating people in disaster-stricken regions, where war, conflicts, epidemics, and so on, pose a danger to all who go there. As a result of the high risks, regular rescue organizations will not send personnel there; but the members of these noble organizations do. Let us imagine, dear reader, that you and I are doctors on the staff of one of these rescue organizations, working in Africa; you in the arena of God-centrism, and I in the arena of self-centeredness. What would our conversation look like?
You: Why did you volunteer here?
Me: Because this region needed doctors. What about you?
You: The same reason. But you know this region is dangerous, don’t you? Why risk your life?
Me: Because there are people here who need me. What about you?
You: Same reason. I don’t think it’s right to ignore people who need me. But tell me, why do you do what you do?
Me: Well, chivalry and altruism. I think those are the greatest human values. They make me feel that I’ve really done something good. I can face myself in the mirror. And you?
You: I’m just the same. The same values, really, make me feel I’ve done good. But why do you want to do good?
Me: I just told you. Just doing good makes me feel good about myself. What about you?
You: I feel good about myself when I do as God commanded, and God commands me to do good, and I need another person to do good. When I do good, I feel I’ve fulfilled God’s commands and His will; that’s what makes me feel good.
This dialogue could very well be repeated in various aspects of life. Some notes: The answers are virtually identical. The person under self-centeredness stops at doing good, while the God-centric person has an extra answer in addition to doing good, which is that he does good for others because of God, because God commands it, or because he loves God in His creatures.
This is what I mean by saying that charity need not contain God, although God contains charity. Not everyone who lives under self-centeredness is selfish, bad or disgusting. On the contrary – they may be good people, but they do good because it makes them feel good, not because God wills it. People who take charity as their center are in fact living under self-centeredness, although they have a noble spirit.
Do you have relevant experience or questions about charity-centric living? Take your time thinking, then make notes.