The definition of self-giving love is to give without expecting repayment. With self-giving love, one gives from the heart, solely because he/she loves another for the sake of that person. There is no self-interest; only concern for the other person.
In the Gospel from Luke 14:12-14, Jesus tells us, via one of His parables, not to invite the wealthy to a banquet, for we may be asked to return the favor one day. Rather,
…when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
How to discern self-giving love
Let me take this one step further and ask you: When you give to the poor, do you expect anything from your donation? What is your intention behind your attentiveness to the poor? Are you attentive because you want to see poverty and homelessness crushed, or might you be generous in exchange for a tax deduction?
In this example, your motive, to be truly self-giving, needs to be primarily from the heart, where you seek to eliminate poverty and homelessness. You exert this effort to lift others up. The fact that you get a tax deduction, because of your donation, is a bonus. It should be a secondary thought, if given a thought at all.
So, as we swiftly approach the holiday season, when we find ourselves giving to others in the spirit of Christmas, do it without expecting anything in return. Open your hearts. Act with self-giving love, and feel the gratitude of God Almighty within you. Remember…
Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me (Matt 25:40).
Give Jesus your love, for His sake, not your own. You will be giving self-giving love to God and neighbor.
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