I've been thinking on sincerity a lot lately.
I think it boils down to whether I do things just because it's the right thing to do or because it comes from my heart. I know how to put on a good face and make a good impression, but does that really mean anything if it just makes me feel better or makes people like me?
When I talk to people at church, am I approaching them because I genuinely care or am I just doing my duty? As much as I think that it doesn't matter, as long as they feel good after the conversation, I think that they know whether I am patronizing them or am truly sincere. I know that I can tell when people genuinely care or are just taking the prescribed social steps.
When I volunteer, is it because I really want to help or just because I want to look good? I actually didn't do something recently that I was going to volunteer for, because I thought that I was just doing it to look good instead of it being from the heart.
It's similar to what I talked about yesterday with the checklist Christianity. Check — I did my good deed for the day or the week. Check — I asked about how someone was doing. That means God should be pleased with me, right?
When non-Christians do something good and expect to get into heaven because they are "basically good," we tell them their good deeds aren't worth anything. They can't clean us from sin. When we are Christians, our good deeds don't count for anything either, if we do them just to try to earn brownie points. They are only worthy of praise when we don't do them for praise.
The Bible says to lend money without expecting it to be returned. We should also give of ourselves without expecting anything back — no thank you, no return good gesture, no pat on the back from God. We do it because our hearts want to help.