I've just finished reading The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. A very interesting and eye-opening book. Since, I'm not a native English language speaker, I found myself having to look up the dictionary more than a few times, but it was worth it. I really recommend this book. It's a collection of letters from a senior devil to a junior devil about the many many possible ways to claim the human soul. From these letters I've learnt how I as a human am easily deceived and brought into sin.
Anyway, one of the points I read really struck home: The difference between Unselfishness and Charity.
Since young, we've often been thought that being selfish is bad. So most of us try to be unselfish...sometimes to the point where we make unselfishness the end itself.
For example: I may share half of my ice-cream with a younger sibling. I do this not because I really want my little sister or brother to have the pleasure of eating the ice-cream but because I want to be unselfish.
So in reality unselfishness is a lie. I am really being selfish because I'm thinking about myself. I am thinking about how I will feel.
And when other people do not appreciate or show due gratitude to my unselfishness, I become bitter and start complaining. I'll have to admit I do this a lot, and this is really bad.
Charity on the other hand is all about the other person. Charity bears fruit to no grudges. It is free and it allows for freedom. Even if the other party is ignorant or unappreciative because the act was done with love. It doesn't matter whether the recipient said thank you. The act was done out of love and joy.
It's a struggle but I'll try to strive for Charity and remind myself why I'm doing certain sacrifices for friends or family or complete strangers everytime I find myself in the never-ending mantra of complaints.