: having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people
: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself
Okay, so maybe selfish isn’t the best word to use here. I mean, selfish people are annoying. They get on our nerves. They make us mad. We see them and their selfishness is so obvious to us but for some reason it isn’t obvious to them.
While selfish may not be the best word choice for what I am going to share today, I still decided to throw it into the title. Because while I do not agree with the part of the definition that says we aren’t to care for the needs of other people, I do think there is something to be said about the part that says to be concerned with oneself. Allow me to explain.
I don’t think everyone is a control freak. However, I do think that all of us have a little bit of a desire for some type of control. And we like to exercise it on other people. We want them to change and be more like us, right? We want them to think like us and act like us. When they don’t, we get mad and focus on what they should change. All the while, we have allowed ourselves to get so dadgum angry about someone else that we’ve forgotten that we have our own issues to deal with.
And how ridiculous is that? To allow ourselves to focus on someone else’s issues when we have copious amounts of struggles to overcome in our own lives is absurd. Matthew 7:3 says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” We do this daily. What we should be doing is seeking our Heavenly Father daily, asking Him to reveal the shortcomings in our lives, where we’ve sinned, and how we’ve made choices that will have negative consequences. Instead, we look at someone else from our ivory tower and think we can not only judge their situation correctly but come up with an obvious solution to their conundrum. If only they would pay attention to us.
My pastor, Craig Groeschel, says, “We judge other people by their actions and ourselves by our intentions.” We constantly give ourselves the benefit of the doubt but hardly ever give that same benefit to others. We know we didn’t mean to do such a thing but we assume they have malice in their hearts that would lead them to do such a thing.
Why do we complain about people we can’t change?
Why do we let their actions literally send us into a tizzy?
Why do we get mad at organizations for not doing what we think they should do?
Why do we get fired up at the media for opposing our viewpoint?
Why do we annoyed when our friends raise their kids differently than us?
The point of this post is this: Focus on your own inadequacies and you will have plenty to work on for the rest of your life. Isaiah 56:3 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…” That’s all of us, friend. ALL means ALL.
Here’s my challenge for you. The next time you find yourself judging someone or some situation in a negative way, instead of thinking you would never do such a thing or act in such a way, voice a short prayer to your Heavenly Father asking, “Is there any of this in me? In what ways am I, in action or thought, sinning against you?”
I promise you the conviction of the Holy Spirit will gently motivate you to make changes in your own life. And then before you know it, you won’t even have time to judge someone else’s life.
I’ve been working on this in my own life. I certainly don’t have it down and occasionally decide to make someone else’s unfavorable traits my focal point. When I do this, I actually end up feeling worse about myself than I would have if I would just focus on myself and my own imperfections. Cuz baby, I’ve got plenty.
So, get a little bit selfish. Magnify the successes of others and minimize their shortcomings. And then do the opposite on yourself. Receive people with the grace you so desperately want shown to you.
After all, that’s what God does with us.