19. What should be thought of those who, on receiving ingratitude in payment for benefits they have done, cease practising good because they no longer get on with those who were ungrateful?
There is far more selfishness in these people than charity, seeing that they do good only for the purpose of receiving demonstrations of acknowledgement and consequently do not do so disinterestedly. The only act of goodness acceptable to God is the one done with complete disinterest. There is of course also pride in these people, since those who behave in this manner take pleasure in the humbleness shown by the receivers of the benefits when they come to lay before them the testimony of their gratitude. Those who seek reward on Earth for the good they have done will not then receive it in Heaven. However, God will esteem all who do not seek their rewards here on Earth.
You should always help the weak, although knowing beforehand that you will receive no thanks for your help. But you can always be sure that if the person to whom you did a service forgets, God will take this even more into account than if the beneficiary had paid their debt. If God permits that sometimes you are paid with ingratitude, this is only to test your perseverance 'n the practice of goodness.
Who knows but that a momentarily forgotten benefit will not produce good fruits in the future? You can be sure it is a seed which will germinate with time. Unfortunately, we never see anything but the present! We work for ourselves and never for others. The receiving of benefits will finally soften even the most torpid heart; they may be forgotten in this world, but after having disposed of its outergarment, the Spirit who has received will remember this fact and this remembrance will be their punishment. The Spirit will deplore its own ingratitude and desire to make reparation by paying the debt in a future life, frequently seeking an existence of dedication to its benefactor. In this way, without even suspecting, you will have contributed to the moral advancement of that Spirit You will come to recognise the truth in the words: a benefit is never lost. Besides which you will also have worked for yourself, since you will have earned merit for having done good without self-interest, without becoming disanimated by deceptions.
Ah! My friends, if you knew of all the ties which link your present life with those of past existences! If you could see at a glance the immense number of relationships that join us, one to another, for the purpose of mutual progress, you would admire even more the wisdom and goodness of the Lord, Who allows us to relive so as to be able, one day, to reach Him. - A Protecting Guide (Senns, 1862).