According to Jesus, being nice and doing loving things for others is not always an inherently virtuous thing. You must also ask the question of motive. In Christ’s words, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same” (Luke 6: 32-33).
If I try really hard to be nice to people so that they will like me or so that I can further my agenda, what good is that in the eyes of God? Sure, on a human level it may function to win friends and influence people, but it doesn’t influence God or win His favor. Why not? Well, such maneuvers work only to glorify ourselves. Thus, in the end we have set up ourselves as the ultimate object of worship. In essence we are saying the chief purpose for my life is to glorify myself and I will even use externally kind things to further that end. Truly good and loving actions, however, find their ultimate justification outside of ourselves in God. That is, they seek to honor God. Unless you consider the issue of motive, you cannot truly judge whether anything we do is really morally good.
Something to think about from “The Kingdom Perspective.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
~ Matthew 5: 43-46