“You’re the perfect Muslim.”
“Yah, except that you’re not a Muslim.” My friend began to list the ways in which I fulfilled the religious requirements: “You pray. You don’t lie or cheat. You dress modestly…”
She wasn’t talking about my heart; she was talking about my actions. And she wasn’t the first person to praise me for things I do right.
When I hear continual praises of my good deeds, it is easy to internally echo what I’m hearing. “Yes, I am pretty good. I pray. I don’t lie or cheat…”
Essentially, it is easy to forget this: if not motivated by my love for God, my good deeds mean nothing. The blackness of my heart only blackens as I bow to the idol of man’s praise.
I protested to my friend’s assessment of my character. However, she insisted that my heart is inherently good and that is why I do good things.
People will continue to praise me because they like to believe that I am being good on my own. They like to think that being “perfect” is humanly achievable. But when they walk away from an encounter with me, I want them to be praising God, not me.