Selfishness comes in many different forms, and sometimes we do not even recognise it when it rears it’s head.

We often think of a selfish person as one that may not want to share – like a child that does not want to share their toys or sweets with another child. But I have come to realise that selfishness is not only about not sharing with others; it is also about people’s own self-absorption. Selfishness is about what you can get and in today’s society, everything is about “me”. You can disagree if you want, but I am sure you can see it just as clearly as I do.

The dictionary defines selfishness as follows (I especially love the synonyms!):

adjective: self-ish: (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s ow personal profit or pleasure.

synonyms: egocentric, egotistic, egotistical, egomaniacal, self-centred, self-regarding, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-seeking, self-serving, wrapped up in oneself, inward-looking, introverted, self-loving; inconsiderate, thoughtless, unthinking, uncaring, heedless, unmindful, regardless, insensitive, tactless, uncharitable, unkind;

I have had to teach my children selflessness, not vice versa. Selfishness comes naturally. We are all selfish, and sometimes it is alright to care for yourself and your needs, but it is never alright to be selfish if it means you lack consideration for all others around you, thinking you are superior and treating others like they do not matter as much as you. This is one of the worst forms of selfishness around – lack of consideration for other people.

The other day, while in a big traffic jam, one driver decided that he was more important than the rest of us who had also been stuck in the jam for over 30 minutes and so he decided that it was his right to go driving in the oncoming traffic lane to get to the front and cut in ahead of everyone else. The best thing about it was that he did not see the traffic officer’s car parked down the side street a little way up the road. Another example can be seen watching people catching a train. My word, I tell you, when that train arrives at the platform, it is like that is the last train on earth. The people storm those doors and push and shove and go totally mental and once inside they fight for a seat.

I have even seen women attending a Christian women’s event act like no self-respecting people ever should act (especially Christian people!). It was appalling to say the least and it made me realise that they really needed to be there.

My point though is not to belittle anyone but rather to show you that we have all been those people, and we need to start considering others instead of using or destroying others because of what we can get from them.

Jealousy, greed, lack of respect for discipline, and ungratefulness – these are all dangerous forms of selfishness and have caused the most tragic and terrible occurrences ever to happen in the history of our world.

As I watch the news and check social media I notice that the world is getting more self-absorbed with each passing hour, and the more self-absorbed everyone becomes, the more I am reminded of this verse:

But realize this, in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! – 2 Timothy 3: 1-9

All of the things mentioned in the above verse are a form of selfishness. But there is a hope that lies in Jesus, and His message and ministry was all about selflessness.

You see, when Jesus was asked: “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” he replied: “The most important commandment is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

Imagine if the world lived by these words of Jesus. Things would not look as ugly as they do in this beautiful world. Let’s trade selfishness for selflessness.

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