Abbot Tryphon: “When charity becomes an occasion for self worship”
Food is a common problem for many people, for food so often fills a void, becoming a way of comforting oneself when faced with the stresses that are a part of our modern, everyday world. Being in service to others, such as volunteering for many charitable, worthy causes, can be a way of seeking other people’s approval, and, in the process, making oneself “feel” better.
Food is, in this case, not the only addiction that can overtake a believer. The need for love and approval can be a form of addiction, and can even replace a fulfilling relationship with God. In serving others, we can sometimes find ourselves displacing God, and making charity a form of self worship.
This in no way suggests that “what we do for these, the least”, is not a godly direction to take, for we are directed by Christ Himself to be in service to others. However, we want to make sure our charity is based on love of God and neighbor, and not on love of self.
We avoid this sin of pride by living in a state of constant repentance. When we notice pride rising to the surface, we repent. We always seek to make Christ the cause and foundation of our charity, and not the praise of others. This can only be done if we are open with our confessor, and squashing the ego before it has a chance to take hold.
With love in Christ,