I recently experienced truly feeling the pain of my own selfishness and seeing what selfishness looks like from God’s perspective.
I had a situation where my flesh got weak and wanted what it wanted. Prior to this, I had been doing well in my walk with Christ. Had a few hiccups, but nothing major. I was truly doing well in simply maintaining my salvation. However, I stopped reading my word as much, and slacked up on praying and praise and worship and so my flesh started to feel the weariness. I found myself delving back into “old habits.”
In the process of going back to old habits, I end up using someone. I pretty much used them to satisfy my flesh and then I detached myself from the situation. After I got what I wanted, I pretty much distanced myself and tried to move forward. However, the God in me kept nudging me to apologize to this person. I realized on some level, I had used this person and it was wrong to lead them on to think the door was open again for us to have a relationship.
So, I called the person, apologized and in the midst of apologizing and being honest about what I had done, I felt like crap. This was one apology I did not feel good about at all. As a matter of fact, it really made me examine my selfish acts and how I had caused pain to someone else’s life because I wanted to be selfish. While I was concerned about soothing my flesh, I essentially opened up an old wound for the other person. Of course this wasn’t my intentions, but anytime we’re selfish we’re bound to hurt someone else or cause trouble that doesn’t necessarily have to be. And it really sucks because I’ve been on both sides of this story, so I know to be on the other side ( being the person who gets used) is not anything nice to have to feel.
So here I was thinking that by being open and honest it would make things better between me and the other person. But I felt like I had dug myself into a hole and opened a whole can of unexpected worms. While on the phone with the person, the Holy Spirit was beating me up! I heard him say loud and clear: Well, what did you really expect. Acknowledging you’re wrong is only half the battle. Besides, there’s no way to sugar coat what you did and now you have to face the reality of it. When you’re selfish, you’ll always be seen as the bad guy and there’s no way around it.
God was really dealing with me trying to “save face” and keep my reputation in tact. The point is, once God says to let someone go you can’t let them go and keep your reputation in their mind. On some level they may just consider you to be the bad guy. But what they think of you at that point should no longer be your concern.
And for so long I’ve always tried to sugar coat things for people whenever I do have to be the bearer of bad news. But God has challenged me to cut it straight, even when it hurts either party involved. Even if me speaking truth makes me look like the bad guy. In this instance the question becomes do I love my reputation more, or the life I’m supposed to be living for Christ?
Now, every time I want to go back and use this person I will definitely think twice because I don’t want to be the one constantly hurting someone because I want to be selfish. (Seeing as I’ve been used before I should probably have a lot more sympathy.) I’ll basically become a stumbling block to him and then God will hold me accountable. It’s not fair for me to intervene in what God wants to do in his life because I’m trying to use him to satisfy my desires. Needless to say being selfish will cause you to act out of character just to please the flesh.
Likewise, what if God chose to have his selfish moments with us? If he decided not to sacrifice his only son and instead let us get what we rightfully deserved as sinners? But his love for us was greater. And it’s love that helps overcome selfishness.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4