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Are Good Deeds Rewarded?

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    Emile Rposted 4 years ago

    There's two sayings. No good deed goes unrewarded and no good deed goes unpunished. I don't have evidence that either is true.

    I handed a homeless woman money on the way home from work yesterday and I got to thinking about it. I've never said no to a stranger in need. I haven't beggared myself by giving, but I do share what I can when asked, even if it's no more than a hand held sign at a traffic light. Other than feeling good about it, there is no  other reward. It isn't as if I don't think that is reward enough, but it would be nice if I had an unexpected moment of luck, once in a while.

    Does anyone have personal examples of fortune smiling on them when they've extended a hand to the less fortunate, or feeling punished for trying to help?

    1. Pavlo Badovskyy profile image71
      Pavlo Badovskyyposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      To my mind this is a deep philosophical question. I truly believe that good deeds to others will be rewarded to you. Of course the next question which comes to your mind is "When shell I be rewarded?" which is not accurate. If you are expecting for a reward in this or that way it is already not a movement of your soul but a clear financial calculation. According to many religions your help should not claim any reward. Did it and forgot it. You just did what you had to do and that’s it.

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        Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I agree, but I've always thought that the person who gives gets more out of the exchange than the person who receives. So, maybe that is the cosmic reward the saying suggests.

      2. kess profile image60
        kessposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Never get tired of doing good...for doing good is good merely for the good sake.
        It is only when there is an expectation of reward, what is good takes on the appearances of evil.
        This is what is discouragement is.

        If you are not yet recieving rewards for your unconditional goodness, that too is good.
        For it will come in the way you would least expect.

        And if you were rewarded in a similar way then you would have had your reward.

        But if it does not come just as the things you gave, then rejoice, For it will come as a unique understanding of life profound yet so simple that it easy for the doubters to misunderstand and go astray.

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      Rad Manposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      There is another saying (I may be the only one saying but..) S*-t happens to good people. Perhaps that sounds cynical, but from what I've seen, pats on the back are random. Continue doing good things if it makes you feel better because it makes you feel better. Don't expect anything in return. I know some self centred people that good things seem to just land in their lap and I know some caring kind people that loose the husband to cancer before they turn 40.


    3. paradigmsearch profile image89
      paradigmsearchposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Right now I'm going through the "no good deed goes unpunished" big time. However, the final results aren't in yet.

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        Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this


        I felt like I was there last Friday.

    4. Cagsil profile image82
      Cagsilposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Good deeds are always rewarded providing the deeds are actually good.

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        Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Say what? How are they rewarded? By whom?

        How do you determine if a good deed is 'good'. I think any deed is good if the impetus behind it is pure. Even if it is ultimately the wrong thing.

        My Dad always tried to be there for my brother's son. The boy is a drug addict. Totally incorrigible. I tried to tell my father that giving him money was simply enabling him. Which it was. So, it was bad for the boy, but still a good deed. Dad was just trying to be there the best he knew how. I would think, if rewards were in order, Dad should have gotten one.

        1. Cagsil profile image82
          Cagsilposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Explained in previous post.

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            Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            Really? Are you serious, or pulling my leg? Because, I have to say, that post was ridiculous.

            I didn't say I believe what goes around comes around. I asked if anyone had experiences where it happened.

            There is no cosmic balance. I do what I do because I believe it's the right thing to do. Not because I'm crazy enough to think I'll magically be rewarded.

            Trust me. I've got the experiences to back this up.

            1. Cagsil profile image82
              Cagsilposted 4 years ago in reply to this

              Hey Emile,

              Either something positive happens or something negative happens. Everything we do is based on honesty or dishonesty. Dishonesty is not ever rewarded. Honesty is.

              When you do something honestly, then you create positiveness around you. It has a great affect and effect on other people when witnessed.

              Your actions could lead someone else to do something honest. Your actions could also lead someone to be dishonest, depending on your initial action.

              Corruption of character is in the details of our actions.

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                Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                You know, even though I do think there is a percentage of (and this is meant as a compliment) naivete in your post; you are right about it, when things work to the best. Which finally happened for me today at the end of a very, very, very long and emotionally draining haul.

                And, I hope you retain that outlook on life. I'm afraid I have too many years of anecdotal evidence under my belt to agree with you across the board.

  2. Haunty profile image85
    Hauntyposted 4 years ago

    How can someone be so self-centered that whenever he does a good thing he thinks of reward?

    I just cried for a bit.

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      Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      I don't know about reward, but we are all self centered. Studies prove that giving actually makes us feel better. Do you think we would give if it made us miserable?

      To be honest, I have a measure of guilt when I do give, because I know the gain from the exchange is grossly in the giver's favor. I can hand a homeless person twenty dollars and feel good, but I haven't really made a difference. I'd like to have the courage to be the poor woman Jesus commented on. Her last coin was a huge gift. I don't know that I would drain my finances to help someone I thought was in greater need.

      Anyway, thanks for the judgmental attitude. It helped. smile

      1. livelonger profile image91
        livelongerposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I disagree. $20 will definitely make a difference for a homeless person; that's several meals' worth of money.

        I do think giving is its own reward, though.

      2. Haunty profile image85
        Hauntyposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Okay, now you make me feel bad and I deserve it. I don't know what you think, so I'm in no position to judge it. I guess I should've just said that virtually every religion teaches to do good without the thought of reward, because with God you won't score any points if you are always looking to receive something in return.

  3. backporchstories profile image84
    backporchstoriesposted 4 years ago

    Depends on how you want to define the term "reward".  If you give out money, are you expecting money to come your way?  Outside of the feeling that generosity can generate, we are often rewarded and do not recognize it.  For example; recenty I literally gave away my last few dollars and during that same day I was wishing for sunflower seeds for my garden.  Soon a friend stopped by and unexpectly gave me two packs of those very same seeds.  Though the giving and receiving were not related there was still the same energy moving in the circle, or back and forth.

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      Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Yes, I think the scenario you've given is what I was talking about.

      What goes around, comes around. Pay it forward. That type of thing.

      I was actually feeling down when I posted this thread because it seemed like the fates had lined up against me. Which seemed rather unfair, since I do try to glance about and offer assistance when I can.

      1. Cagsil profile image82
        Cagsilposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Then wouldn't it be of a sound reason to understand that you're apparently not doing enough, for whatever reasons used to justify what you do do now? If things seem to be coming at you at an unfair rate and you believe what goes around comes around, then that would be the only conclusion.

        In essence, you're not being completely honest with yourself about how much more you can do that is good? If you were being honest with yourself, then you would have already recognized what needed to be done and done it so as to balance yourself. It only makes sense.

        If you seek any other type of reward other than what you give yourself, then it's pure ego. It's fine to be confident in what you do, but what you do has to be recognized for what it is...is it an ego driven action or is it truly heartfelt(conscience) action. Knowing which one is taking place is what measures your honesty.

        1. backporchstories profile image84
          backporchstoriesposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          I have to agree with the statement from earlier, sh@t happens!  I have had an awful year in general but still manage to keep giving in some fashion.  If you give all the time, does not mean you will receive all the time and all will be hunky dorey.  Honestly, it comes down to what we have in our hearts and who do we honor that make our life golden.

  4. 60
    Nerfheaderposted 18 months ago

    From my experience --> you do good because you're programmed to do good [by the universe or nature or whatever other name you want to give it]. Every action that is ever done, takes place as a result of self-interest. Its not our fault, biologically we are programmed to survive and thrive. Whatever other reason for doing good things --> brainwashing. But principally --> overall --> good is done out of self-interest even though we may not see it that way initially [or is it the interest of the universe itself? We are the universe; we are nature; so maybe there is more good in nature than there is evil; after all if given a choice and conditions were good --> I think most people would choose good --> its more logical --> no one wants to inflict pain on the other because we know we don't like pain ourselves --> this is where love and empathy begin --> with consideration and compassion --> and where that begins I don't care to know --> maybe self-interest --> maybe somewhere else]. But again, that's ok. Why? Because we don't have a choice. Does this seem depressing? I wish I could see things differently. But this is what I see. The only positive aspect about good is that it those have a meaning. A transcendent meaning. Because doing good can have a positive transcendent experience in this world. At least temporarily (I wish it was forever but I don't know; well you could say it echoes into eternity [which is good and not bad; good in itself if you appreciate it/love it and I do] and it all depends on what you believe the fate of the universe will be; I have my doubts about that; maybe this is a multiverse and we go through different variations of this forever; maybe the purpose of the universe is to repeat until we get it completely right; who knows? And that's the problem; its quite likely we will never know; and so we have to create our little stories; obviously the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish stories are crazy/absurd; the Eastern teachings at least have some basis in nature and what is observable, so I have more faith in them even though there is also a lot of questionable there as well; but anyway; the point is that there is no certainty; and we can never know the whole truth; so all we can do is create story in this temporary uncertainty in which we live in. Transcendent temporary goodness is probably the best that we can do as we slowly decompose and get hurt time and time again. The stories that science tells us is also another thing that we can find inspiration in (not to mention the acceptance of the temporary uncertainty of it all; the acceptance of ourselves is also another thing that we can do; again at least for a little while; that's what the Eastern religions call compassion; and it is something that we should practice with ourselves and others more; if there is something that unites us is the confusion; together we can warm each other up in the cold dark night). I can say this though, if there is a multiverse and we go through this again, it won't be the same. The laws will not repeat themselves exactly as they did before. There is always variation [and if there is variation, then there is the chance for positivity and progress; lets not miss our chance to contribute something to the world]. Love lifts us up. Being good all the time, is not easy. In certain time (and let's not kid ourselves) being good can result in negative things (for us and others; and you might turn avengerer (thanks to the criticism of the abrahamanic relgion; when the truth is every one deserves our love; the only point where love/compassion shouldn't be given is for the purposes of self-defense; everyone is a reflection of yourself, but in different conditions; and no one was put here by choice; everyone was born here as a result of a shocking accident/incident; there was no other way and we are doing the best with what we've got). Its a question of balance. I think its possible to do good things for ourselves, others, while reeping the benefits of an ethical/meaningful life. Its not easy but I believe this balance can be found (if one tries). And doing things for ourselves btw benefit others as well. Again its not easy finding this balance. And religions have really simplified how complex this whole thing (and made us feel guilty about people pursuing their own interest (ie: pursuing your own interest doesn't mean you can't do that while pursuing the general interest; this is the only way and the right way)). Its hard as heck. But this is the goal.