Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Do-Gooder": A Pejorative Word?

When someone is labeled a "do-gooder" it is with a somewhat disdainful tone. Why is that? They are people who are doing good works, helping people, making the world a better place, right? So why the disdain?

I'm currently reading Strangers Drowing, Grappling with Imposible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help by Larissa MacFarquhar. I brought it home from the library because I suffer from that urge, an urge I'm all too often unable to do anything about because of my health or wealth [lack of both]. In it they explore attitudes about do-gooders.

They describe do-gooders as people who are compelled to help others, strangers, people they may never meet. They do this while sacrificing their well-being, their families, their own comfort and happiness. In fact, the authors say that do-gooders can be identified because they are never happy. They are too caught up in the suffering of others and their need to help.

Well, that IS a bit extreme. I guess I don't know anyone like that personally. I know a lot of people who do good things. But they don't give up everything in order to serve others. I know that there are religious folk who do that for spiritual reasons. But they usually feel fulfilled and joyful in their work. The authors exclude them from the term because they are not addicted to good works. Addiction does not bring fulfillment and joy!

"[God] didn't want you to be miserable - He wanted you to do good. . . it is better to be happy, because you did better work."  pg. 16
God wants us to be happy and God wants us to do good works. If you get no joy, no happiness from your good works you need to take a hard look at what you are doing and why you are doing it.

What good works are you doing? Share an experience that brought you joy in your good works.

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