40+FAB Blog

Mixed motives

Samuel Johnson said, “Actions are visible, though motives are hidden”. The true motives behind any action can only truly be known by the person taking those actions.

So what exactly are your motives for what you do? It is easy to argue that there are people with good motives and others with evil motives, but is there really anyone with a 100% pure motive or another with a 100% evil motive? who can really say?

I find that we are usually a bag of mixed motives and we tend to act on the predominant motive in our hearts. It is a good motive to be successful at what you do, but there lurks an evil motive of doing it to prove a point to someone or to spite another who was unkind to you in the past.

It is a great motive to help others, but then it is mixed up with a subtle motive of ensuring their loyalty to you or increasing your influence with them. So, does a good motive with a taint of evil still qualify as good? Or, does an evil motive with a mix of good ever stand a chance of redemption?

I will end with this quote from Richard Rohr, “Integrity largely has to do with purifying our intentions and a growing honesty about our actual motives”. Let us check that we are growing in the place of integrity and purer motives.