In case you were wondering…I’m no Mother Teresa. I don’t adhere to vows of chastity or poverty, and I certainly don’t think I’ll be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize anytime soon. I haven’t built an orphanage or a home for people with AIDS, and there are no documented miracles associated with my name. However, I do share her commitment to wholeheartedly serve others, and, like Mother Teresa, I have faced criticism for my beliefs.
In a February 25, 2015 “Washington Post” article, Adam Taylor addressed the criticisms of Mother Teresa’s efforts. While her saintly reputation was gained for helping Calcutta’s poorest of the poor, it was also undercut by allegations of misuse of funds, poor medical treatments and religious evangelicalism in the institutions she founded. The head of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) criticized the intentions behind her work, saying “It’s good to work for a cause with selfless intentions. But Mother Teresa’s work had ulterior motive, which was to convert the person who was being served to Christianity.”
Until recently, I never thought about that how this criticism and mistrust must felt to Mother Teresa…there must have been times she questioned herself and wanted to just walk away. Why show love to others when they talk behind your back? Why defend them when they are secretly plotting your demise? Why share your knowledge so they can use it to betray you? Why open up your heart just so they can crush it?
I’ve had to ask myself these questions a lot over the past week as my motivates have been questioned by people I have tried to love and to serve. I won’t lie…it hurt my feelings and I’ve cried more than a few tears over the assumptions these people have made. While my actions were certainly not blameless, my heart was truly pure. I wanted to love and to share and to encourage and assist…like Mother Teresa, my only ulterior motive was to show them Jesus.
While I would love to share a cup of tea with Mother Teresa and seek refuge from my hurt feelings, that simply isn’t possible…or beneficial. However, Mother Teresa did leave a message that I and the countless other misunderstood do-gooders of the world can take to heart. She wrote this on the walls of her Indian orphanage, and now I choose to engrave these words on my broken heart.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.