Tag Archive: selfishness

it has been in the context of ‘being wronged’ that i have noticed it. and also brought up by an email i received the other day asking how we can be okay with the fact that God ordered genocide in the old testament [a really important question which i have grown up not asking – killing of many in the old testament was always seen as okay because it was ‘the goodies killing the baddies’ and i don’t think i ever stopped to think much at all about the fact that they were real people with families and dreams and so on…]

in terms of someone who i think has caused offence to me [often a dangerous sign – “offence is not given, it’s taken”], there is this inherent thing of violation of my rights [often a dangerous sign – the louder i get about proclaiming something that is seen as a right to me, the more i often need to look deeply within my heart, past my selfishness, pride and greed] and i NEED THIS PERSON TO PAY.

now what is unfortunate is that ‘this person’ is usually someone who is, or was, or should be, close to me [in the story, it is the guy’s brother] and the basic truth of the situation is that i am wanting them to suffer [because they did that thing that was unacceptable to me] and so with the story of the lost son, the father tries to focus on the heart of the story: ‘this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’ [verse 32]

the story is of a misguided son who gives in to temptation and greed and heads off and squanders his money and ends up with nothing and returns, absolutely broken, to try and get a job as a servant on his father’s farm… and the older son tries to make it all about himself. WHAT ABOUT ME?

and i’ve seen that in myself, and it is ugly, but while i am feeling offended or holding tightly to my rights, it becomes very easy to forget that this story also involves someone else, who is often broken and hurting and messed up and confused and when Jesus looks at them from the cross and gasps out, “Father, forgive them, for hey do not know what they are doing.” [Luke 23.34], i can hear myself wailing in the background, “No, wait a minute, what about me? I have been wronged. Is no one going to do anything? What about meeeeeeeee?”

romans 12 talks about us offering our bodies as living sacrifices which are holy and pleasing to God [ones which are screaming “he/she must pay!” may not fit so well into that category don’tchathink?] and goes on to say, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ [Romans 12.1-2] and so once again, we hear that in the kingdom Jesus came to speak about, everything is turnedon its head. What is ‘a right’, is freely given up. Offence is cast to the side.

what is brought to the fore is Love. Crazy, unbelievable, nonsensical, indescribable, ridiculous, make-a-mockery-out-of-offence, sacrificial, unmerited Love.

may that become my go to place. may i be identified more as the father in the story and less as the brother.

i met this guy when he was part of a not-so-famous band when they came and played at the teacher’s college i was studying at. then i met him later when he was part of a famous band in south africa and over the years kept bumping into him and he always recognised me and treated me as if we were mates even though we didn’t really know each other so well – then i interviewed his band when i was a dj on a christian radio station but he wasn’t there and so two of the other band members [2 friends of mine now] got to receive the brunt of the mooning phase i was going through [or the butt of it] – and then he became part of an even more famous international band and i finally got to have a decent coffee and chat with him in Los Angeles when i wa visiting my sister… and it continues to be like we’re old mates – he has a great crazy naughty sense of humour and he is an excellent family man – so here are the thoughts of my friend, Daniel Ornellas:

When you first fall in love, couples are willing to sacrifice everything for the new love they have found and it leads up to the vows where we lay down our lives for our spouses. After a few months or years pass there is a tendency to try take back some of the me stuff and selfishness tends to creep in. It becomes a case of a “I’m going for a surf” and “ok then, “then I’m going shopping when you get back” vibe.

Soon there can be a pattern of disappointment because each person is looking out for their own interests and themselves first. It means that whenever we do something for ourselves we know that it’s taking from our marriage and quotes like “my wife says if I go fishing one more time she’s going to leave me… Gosh I’ll miss her”.

The key I believe to really making this stage of marriage turn around is to turn it on its head and do the following. You know by now what your spouse loves and is interested in. So forget about your own interests and your own desires and make your partners interests your own mission.

So an example would be. “hey babe I know you love shopping so why don’t you go out for a couple of hours ” then while she is out shopping she knows she has gone with your blessing and will come home refreshed and ready to send you for a surf. Same outcome, different emotion and you have added to your marriage bank account instead of taking from it. You will both be stoked and not end up in an ‘overdrawn’ situation when you really put each other first.

[married for 12 years]

to read the next part of the series keep clicking…

how do we get it so wrong?

pride. definitely. or maybe defiantly. definitively?

what do they think of me? what don’t they think of me? what should they think of me? what do i want them to think of me? i can’t believe they… i can’t believe she didn’t… why doesn’t anyone… don’t they know that i… don’t they see that i…

it is loving God
it is loving people

selfishness. defiantly so. or deftly?

it’s all about meeeeeeee……Jeesussssss
and all this is for meeeeee… for my glory and my fame
it’s not about youuuuuuu… i want you to do things My wayyyyyy
i am my own God and i surrenderrrrrr… to no-one’s ways…..

iwant. ideserve. i ‘need’. imusthave.

stuff. toys. things. people. attention. space. a stage. a platform. recognition.

my time. my space. my ministry. my calling.

but if i… then i won’t be able to…
but if you… then i won’t be able to…
but if i… then i will never…
but if you… then i can’t afford to…

as my friend mugabe (no relation) used to say, “if Jesus is on the throne in my life then i must be on the cross, but if i am on the throne then that relegates Jesus to the cross”

whose life is it anyway?
a me-centered universe will never leave space for a loving God, loving people lifestyle
it has to be Jesus-centered
pride and selfishness need to die (to “go to hell!” where they deserve to languish)

my church
a preach that i must get something out of
worship that must give me the feeling, the experience
my ministry
my salvation
my personal walk with God

my my indeed

it is about loving God.
and loving people.

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