false motives, and the hard irony of loving others

When people are unsure of your motives, they'll invent some.

"Did you hear what so-and-so said?"

"He/she didn't say that."

"Oh, I'm sure he/she did."

Often this is a negative, especially when a person is looking for a reason to dislike you and feel justified; however, it can even be a false positive and they may give you kudos you don't deserve. Jesus spoke about this to a group of leaders who constantly tried to justify themselves to others:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean." (Matthew 23:27)

Some years ago, people attributed a certain poem to Mother Teresa... after all, it sounded like something everyone could imagine her saying. Another story says this was inscribed on the wall of Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta.

However, an article in the New York Times has since reported (March 8, 2002) that the original version of this poem was written by Dr. Kent M. Keith. Still, Mother Teresa gets the credit.

Given the material in the poem, this is all quite ironic. Enjoy, and apply:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.

You might need to read that again.

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