“Selfishness is the making a man’s self his own centre, the beginning and end of all he doeth.”
– John Owen
Selfishness. When it comes to friendships, and how to ruin one, this is the first thing that comes to mind.
Definition of selfishness is having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people.
We are naturally selfish. Just look at an infant, toddler teenager–or adult. The world revolves around them, or so they think.
It’s even easier in today’s age with Facebook, Twitter, etc. We think everyone should know what we are doing, when we are doing it, and our opinion on the whole matter. Because we are numero uno!!
Even as we grow older, it is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what we need before anyone else.
How do we combat this?
Paul addresses this in Philippians 2:3-4.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
Looking to the needs of others goes totally contrary to how the world would view life. It also goes contrary to how how our “self” feels.
The Second Greatest Commandment tells us: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
The Amplified Bible says to “unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others”.
It obviously doesn’t come naturally, or it wouldn’t be addressed!
When Jesus commands His followers to take up our cross, first He tells us to “turn from our selfish ways”, i.e… abandon the attitude of self-centerdness.
If we are going to be servants of Christ, we need to get rid of me.
If we are going to be the kind of friend that people need, we need to get rid of me.
If we are going to be a light in this dark world, we need to eliminate our selfish ways–and look around!
There are opportunities that we may miss with our friends because we are too singularly focused on “me”!
Paul continues on in Philippians 2:5: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…”
This is a powerful little verse! Think if we as followers of Christ would begin to adopt this mindset more and more. Jesus was first and foremost thinking of others above Himself. He washed His disciples feet. Fed a multitude even after preaching all day. Died for you and I although He was innocent.
In a word, selfless.
Give of your time,
Give of your resources.
Ultimately, give of yourself.
Make a conscious effort to be there for others.
I love reading in Philippians 1 where Paul is debating whether or not he would rather depart and be with Christ or stay for the benefit of the people.
He unselfishly decides to stay. For the benefit of them. He states how he longs to be with Christ, “which would be far better for me.”
Wow! What a choice. Seems a lot more difficult than having to decide if I want to help someone move or not.
A good marriage is a great picture of unselfishness in action. It only works when two people are able to care about the needs of each other. If not, somebody in the relationship is going to be disappointed, or hurt.
You have to look out for the needs of your spouse, at times putting them above your own.
All good and true friendships have this give and take. A willingness to see the other person succeed, and, when necessary, help along the way. Think about Jonathan, and all the help he gave David.
Simply begin asking others how they are doing and actually listen. Pastor Dave gave a great example of that during Sundays sermon. If you don’t remember, go listen to it!!!
“Selfishness has never been admired.”
C. S. Lewis