Giving for the wrong reasons [Monday, Oct. 24, 2005, 3:11 pm]
Guess what? There is yet another inspirational "reality" TV show coming out, along the same lines as Extreme Makeover Home edition. It's called "Three Wishes," and features Amy Grant of all people, traveling around to different towns and trying to grant three wishes that will help the community of each town. And of course, like Extreme Makeover, they only have a limited amount of time to complete these projects - just to add a little more drama to the show, and try to trick the viewers into thinking they didn't have this all planned out before they started shooting.
Now I probably sound like a heartless grinch, talking about how much I hate reality TV shows, even ones that "do good" for people, like this one. But don't be deceived by the appearances. TV shows are like any other business - they make money. They exist because people watch them. If nobody watched the Extreme Home Makeover show, it wouldn't be on - don't think the studio bosses plan these shows out of the goodness of their own hearts.
And you may ask, "what in the world is wrong with people doing good things for others?" And I would answer, "nothing!" Yes, it's wonderful that families are getting homes and material possessions they didn't have, and a child is getting a second chance to play sports, etc. I don't have a problem with what is happening in these shows, but I do have a big problem with the way in which these acts of kindness are being carried out.
It's wonderful to have a serving heart, but you see, if you really had a servant's heart, and only wanted to do good for other people, you wouldn't need your own TV show in order to do it. The fact that these shows cater to a large audience should tell you something about the reasons behind their creation.
It reminds me of a particular Biblical passage that addresses how we should give (Matt. 6: 1-4):
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
I certainly know that we all have human pride that we struggle with, and we want to be recognized for the good things we do - but when we announce our good deeds to the world through a TV show, what does it say about the reasons behind the giving? Sure it may be "inspiring," but really, do these shows actually "inspire" people to do good works of their own? Or does it just make the veiwers feel happy to know that there are still people in this world who go around doing good and announcing it over the airwaves? Again, I'm not trying to sound cold-hearted - yes, I'm glad people have been helped, but I believe the method involved in helping them is wrong, and that the shows themselves are very deceiving at times.
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009