“What’s my motivation?”
Nearly every actor will ask this question at some point. It is important for the actor to know the motivation of the character being portrayed in order to make it look real. The writer or director will inform the artist as to the mind and heart of the character. This question comes from a need to know the heart of the character being portrayed. If the actions and the heart do not match then every knows it is fake or someone gets miffed. Bad acting comes from the inability to have the behavior and heart match.
What about real life, though? Why do WE do what we do? Each of the following is a good reason at times, but when we push them too far or too often they break down.
1. Obligation – when people operate out of a sense of obligation everyone feels it. You speak to Ed because you have to do so. You apologize because you are being made to do so. Your work is because you have to do so. Cain can be seen as someone who was bringing an offering to God in this way. It was rejected.
2. Honor – much of men are taught to do is out of honor. We are taught to stand for God, Country, and Mom. Boys will fight over bad-mouthing one’s mother. Men will fight and die to uphold the honor of God and Country. This is not a bad trait in and of itself. Yet it can spill over to being the only reason and then it falls flat. David’s honor rose up during Nathan’s story only to discover he was the subject.
3. Pride – for all that honor is for others, pride is for yourself. We act out of this without even knowing it. When we feel threatened our pride rises up for all to see. We cannot handle our work, creations, or efforts being challenged. When our blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into a project, we dare someone to criticize! Haman could not stand Mordecai. His pride overwhelmed him!
4. Desire – we act because we want something. The boy who over-flatters the girl wants something she may not be ready to give. The suck-up at the office is hoping for a promotion. The child who voluntarily cleans their room wants something. At our animal level we have wants, some say needs, in our lives that we will do whatever is necessary to achieve! This usually leads to addictions and/or family meltdowns. Delilah working Samson over is an example.
5. Spite – while this is an emotion much like desire it takes on a nasty tone. This is the evil side of desire. When this is our motivation we are premeditating a way to harm someone else out of revenge, usually. Again, Cain comes to mind.
6. Envy – we often want what we cannot have. Worse, we want that thing somebody else has. Operating out of envy can create an entire lifestyle foreign to who you really are and brings no real satisfaction. Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard. He whined and carried on because he was envious of him.
7. Jealousy – this can become an extremely controlling factor in our lives and int he lives of those around us. When this is our motivation we claim love and cry protection, but really it can be pushed too far. Jealousy and envy are closely related and are often linked in the Bible. While envy focuses on objects, jealousy focuses more on attention. Joseph’s brother’s were jealous of the attention he received from their father.
8. Love – God has shown us the way we should go. He loves us. Through Jesus we see God’s love. He did not provide Jesus because of any other reason than He loves us. When we place our faith in Jesus’ death burial and resurrection as sufficient for God’s requirements, we give our lives to God. We are transformed into something new. God changes us so that we can love others.
At work, school, home, or church, if we operate out of less than love we become that clanging cymbal of Paul. To a hurting world anything less than love as a motivation comes off wrong. Why do you act the way you do? May it be out of love from this point forward.
We love because He first loved us.