Matthew 6: 1 Justice and Giving.
This is one of those verses that really demonstrate why its important to think about the Greek version. Compare this verse and the following section also to Matthew 23:5
Here's the original version in Greek:
Προσέχετε τὴν δικαιοσύνην ὑμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς.
εἰ δὲ μή γε, μισθὸν οὐκ ἔχετε παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς
Beware or take heed Προσέχω the righteousness of yours not make before people to be seen Aorist Infinitive Passive of θεάομαι by them dative agent
if and / but not !!! reward not yours from the father of yours the one in the heavens
Now if you own more than one Bible or have access to them online or in a library compare the RSV to the NJV, the KJV or EV Rieu's 4 gospels, or the Douai translations.
EEK one says virtues another piety yet another charitable deeds an another alms.
Yet the Greek says righteousness and the Latin uses Attendite Iustitiam!
Now the next 3 verses talk about alms so how does righteousness of public actions go with alms giving? Almsgiving is an action what we would call donating to charity.
Righteous actions in front of others made to be seen could be things like say a politician who only visits a veterans' or other public or chairty hospital or clinic when an election is due or the media will be there and NEVER visits or donates at any OTHER time. Another example might be only donating to a charity because its popular or trendy or attending a charitable fund raiser and ignoring other charities also in need of help? A third example could be someone “volunteering” simply to get out of doing something at home or for a relative or to fulfil a business or welfare requirement and doing a half hearted barely adequate job.
Why do I offer those examples. Note which verb of seeing is used of the several used in Greek.
Θεάομαι the stem of this verb is also used to make words like theatre and spectacle or show.
Its not just being seen by others its making a show that draws attention for personal benefit?
When was the last time you saw a politician or celebrity sneak into say a soup kitchen the back way and beg people to turn off their phones so he or she could get on with cooking or cleaning without the media being aware. It does sometimes happen but not often?
Charity isn't about you being seen to do the right thing it's doing the right just thing.