Summary: Someone once said, “All the trouble in the world is due to selfishness”. At first I considered that to be too extreme of a statement but the more I thought about it the more I subscribed to it. Gladstone said, “Selfishness is the greatest curse of the hum
THE UNHOLY TRINITY: ME, MYSELF AND I
INTRODUCTION: Someone once said, “All the trouble in the world is due to selfishness”. At first I considered that to be too extreme of a statement but the more I thought about it the more I subscribed to it. Gladstone said, “Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race.” These are strong statements that place absolute blame on the condition of selfishness. This warrants taking a serious look at the subject of selfishness.
1) What does selfishness look like?
• Sin. James 3:16, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Sin is wrapped in self. I like how someone put it, ‘in the middle of sin is ‘I’. Sin is an act of rebellion against God. But why are we rebelling? Because we want to please self instead of God. We want something that we’re not supposed to have. When Adam and Eve sinned they wanted to satisfy their own desires over fulfilling God’s desire for them. So many sins have selfishness written all over them. Pride, lust, envy, jealousy, anger; the list goes on and on. Sin is wrapped in self.
• Discontent. We expect things from others. But the irony is that we don’t expect anything of ourselves. We don’t want to help ourselves we just want to continue to demand that others provide us with what want. The other irony is that although we’re selfish and greedy, we are never satisfied. We spend our time looking out for #1 but in the end are always left wanting. We’re ungrateful and unappreciative. Our focus is self yet we are discontent and dissatisfied. We are never really happy. Actually quite the opposite; we are miserable complainers. Benjamin Whichcote said, “None are so empty as those who are full of themselves.” Selfishness breeds discontent and discontent breeds emptiness.
• Impatience. I think impatience can be a good indicator of selfishness. Many times we’re impatient because we’re running behind and we’re in a hurry. We’re worried we won’t make it there on time. That might be different. But, have you ever been impatient when you weren’t in a hurry? I deal with that when I’m driving. I’ll get irritated and annoyed because I have to wait in traffic and I’m not under any time restraint. Why is that? Because I’m selfish. “Why do these people have to be on the road the same time as me?” “Why are these people in the store the same time as me?” “Why do all these people have to be in the same restaurant as me?” The list can go on and on. Why do we feel this way? Because we are selfish and don’t want to have to wait for anything. A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake; I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Okay; Ryan, you be Jesus!” We just don’t like having to wait. We get annoyed, irritable and impatient because we want everything to happen at our speed. What do you think is going on when people cut in line somewhere? “I don’t want to wait my turn, I don’t care if you’ve been waiting yours, I’m more important that you so you should let me cut ahead of you.” The same principle is at work with the people who race up the side of the road when they know the lane is ending just to get further ahead in traffic. When I don’t get what I want when I want it; when I don’t get my own way I react with frustration and anger. Impatience is due to selfishness.
• Greed. Luke 12:13-21. Materialism is wrapped in self. If I find myself in hot pursuit of more, more, more then I am focused on self. This is where jealousy and envy stem from. I am greedy; I want what you have. And I despise the fact that you have it and I don’t. I want it all. The mine, mine, mine syndrome takes over and we do foolish things. Just think of Bernie Madoff. Through greed comes a take, take, take attitude where if I want something bad enough I don’t mind getting it through manipulation, coercion and if need be-stealing. In America we are saturated with self-gratification; more specifically instant-gratification. Instant gratification screams selfishness. Instant gratification is surrounded in impatience and greed. I can’t wait any longer; I have to have it now. I want it; I need it; can’t spend another moment without it. Greed encompasses selfishness.