This last time when I was up visiting my folks we were discussing doing favors and having expectations of appreciation afterwards. My mom was telling me how one of the issues she deals with is having expectations after she does something nice for someone, and how this isn’t what a true favor is. Doing something for someone shouldn’t have any expectations, and this is something she wants to improve on with herself.
I agreed fully, even elaborating that it’s not even a favor or a gift once you’re expecting something in return. She agreed, of course. I have to admit now that I was baiting my mother. I elaborated a few more times saying that the truly gracious act is one that even refuses repayment, or blushes at thankyou’s. In fact, the most gracious act is doing a favor anonymously so that you’re not given any sort of credit at all. It’s something done for the soul purpose of gift giving, and nothing else. That’s the true heroic act.
Then of course, after I got my mother to agree with me several more times I pushed her face first into my trap explaining how that was for me a flaw with God. God expects a great deal for the gift he gave us. The gift He’s taking full credit for giving to us. In return for His present to us He has a long long list of payments he expects in return. He expects us to believe far out stories that defy all logic. It’s a requirement! If I were the Son of God that’d be the last thing I’d expect. I’d see the lies and misleadings people had to deal with on a daily basis. The last thing I’d expect from them is their absolute belief in what I say is true. In fact, I would completely understand where people were coming from. I would expect them to doubt and to question, and be critical of all the things I told them. Only an immature person would be hurt by doubt.
Kicking her while she was down, I told her that this is another bad lesson that Christianity teaches. It clearly justifies having tremendous expectations after you do a favor for somebody. In fact, it even justifies expecting absolute devotion and worship for the “favors” you give. It certainly isn’t being an example of grace or mercy. It isn’t a favor at all.
My mom had no response for this. I feel a little bad when I do these sorts of things to my mom, but later she assures me that I shouldn’t because she appreciates where I’m coming from, and it shows her how much thought I’ve given my beliefs. When it comes to religion and her beliefs my mother is a very strong woman. I respect her for this.