Chronic selfishness - we all deal with it.
| The Weakness of Man|
Chronic selfishness – we all deal with it. It is a difficult, horribly strong monster that breathes in the corner of every room. It haunts us with its immensity, never satisfied until we are miserable. Egocentrism is a very real battle that every man faces on a daily basis. Just when we think that we have won, just when we think that we have succeeded, and we are completely selfless, pride kicks in, and suddenly all of our hard work is undone. It would seem, then, that it is impossible to be truly selfless and humble, because the moment that we consider what we are doing, we are in danger of becoming prideful and are no longer meek.
If it is impossible not to be selfish, why would anyone bother? The answer to this question is rather simple: it is not impossible to be unselfish. However, the worldview of the person who is trying be selfless is very crucial to his success or failure.
When the issue is deeply considered, it becomes quite clear that the doer of good works may have had very wrong motives from the start. There is no true humility in any act of charity if we are only kind so that we may become selfless, for such actions are counterproductive. Sometimes we find ourselves doing charitable works for others, and when we really examine ourselves, we discover that we were not doing the work so that other people may benefit, but because we wanted to stop acting selfish.
It is a horrible cycle, really. It never ends, not when we are trying to stop it on our own. So what, then, is the real answer? How can we truly become selfless? How can we stop thinking about ourselves when it seems to be our natural though process? It is not easy to discern a concise answer; it is certainly not easy to carry out. Actually nothing is harder than going against our natural inclinations, and when we attempt to do it on our own strength, we fail every single time.
As humans, we are weak creatures, prone to doing whatever is necessary to make ourselves happy and comfortable, and there is supposedly nothing more desirable than the praise and acceptance of other people. Even if we do not really feel that we deserve a reward for our good behaviors, we often find ourselves accepting those rewards without question. Very few people are conscionable enough to pause and evaluate the real reasons that they performed the acknowledged kindness. Those whose motivation was bringing glory to God by serving His people will be able to accept ensuing rewards with humility; but far too many men will allow the fleeting acceptance to blow out of proportion, and before they are aware, the kindness that began so purely has warped into the monster of entitlement.
Entitlement is nothing more than localized selfishness, but it is stronger and much harder to get rid of than its mother. It wraps it evil fingers slowly but surely around our hearts, whispering to our minds that we deserve all the blessings because we are such good people. At first, it seems harmless. But as time passes and our sense of self-righteousness grows ever larger, we lose every kind feeling that existed before. Gone is the desire to help others; gone is the peace and tranquility that filled our lives. In their place are dissatisfaction, irritability, haughtiness, and countless other negative attributes that will only drive other people away.
It is not a good feeling; this fall from grace. Unfortunately, however, it is a part of human nature and must be dealt with on a daily basis. As I mentioned earlier, the way in which selfishness is dealt with is going to be different for every worldview, but Christianity is the only one that offers redemption even when we fail. I have shown how easy it is to let pride get in the way of everything we may try to do, and it is really impossible to conquer these sins alone. However, there is hope; because Christ loves us so much, He is willing to help us in our daily battles with selfishness. In fact, He is really the only one who can defeat the monstrosity of self, and He does so thoroughly and with great passion every single time.