“…Alas my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are the cause of great trouble to me....”
Judges 11: 35
“A Daughter Remembered” Part V
“Me, Me, Me”
“‘ME’ is always at the bottom of all sin. One little word M-E. It may spell drink, lust, pride, covetousness, self-will but it is some form of ‘me.’”
What does the word “selfishness” mean to me?
Have I been selfish in my desires and thus hurt others?
“It is part of our human nature but there is that within us which always wants to make self the center of its own universe and, in that selfish way, wants to tear God from His throne and deny his (her) brother (and sister) and advance his (her) own ambition.”
Robert R. Brown
“Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race.”
William Ewart Gladstone
Recently our family was blessed to have the company of my niece, Aimee, her husband, Ben, and two young children, Elise and Alton. What a joyful time we had eating, shopping and riding the carousel at the local mall.
One day, while their mom was busy trying on clothes in a store, “Effie” as I’m called by my family, was the assigned babysitter trying to keep a 16-month-old boy and 3-year-old girl entertained. Needless to say, I wasn’t too successful! What made things worse is that we had purchased three cute little toy cars to help us with our challenge, but we should have thought through our strategy a little better for as you may well imagine, 3 cars meant that one child had two cars while the other had one.
Desperate to try and find harmonious ground, I suggested we play a game of “sharing,” trading cars back and forth. To the credit of these precious children, every time they shared, I crowed about how unselfish the one was who handed one of the cars to the other. This affirmation from Effie seemed to work wonders for soon the cars were going back and forth so fast I could hardly keep up and I heard the childish words from Elise, “I saring!” (No the spelling isn’t wrong. That’s how it sounded!)
As we have been studying for the past few days the tragic story of Jephthah, my continual prayer has been, “Dear Lord, help us to “get” the message You have for us in this painful record.”
Over the past few days, it hit me that we need to dig deeper and look for the characteristics that were the catalysts which ruined the life of Jephthah and his daughter.
Right at the core is the trait of selfishness—that, “Me, Me, Me,” attitude which says, “I’m going to do what I want no matter what – no matter who gets in my way – no matter who gets hurt.”
As we have learned in past lessons, Jephthah brought his painful past into his present life and then let it affect his future. Because he had never allowed God’s healing power to bring renewal to his life, his trust in God, when put to the test, faltered. For even though God promised him victory over the Ammonites, this wasn’t enough for Jephthah. The “me,” the “what I want,” the “what I need,” popped up and out of his mouth came a stupid vow that did not take into consideration anyone else but himself – certainly not his family. As I read this story, I thought about all of the times that, without consideration for anyone else, I have plowed ahead trying to fulfill the desires of the “ME” in myself that screams out for satisfaction.
Whether it’s cheating mates trying to find enjoyment for the “lustful me,” or the workaholic who is trying to gain attainment by feeding the “greedy me,” or even the status-seeker who craves prestige to find a rank higher for the “power-hungry” me, somewhere along the way, if we are honest with ourselves, all of us have fallen into the cavern of darkness with our tunnel vision that sees only, “ME. ME. ME.”
Author Alexander Mac Laren so astutely noted that, “Our error is in making ourselves our own center and thinking more of our claims on others than of our obligations to them.”
As I read this statement I thought to myself, “What would this world be like if there were absolutely a complete obliteration of selfishness? Don’t you think it would be a wonderful place to live?
Well, here’s an idea I like, shared by author Frank Mar, “Every (person) brings an egg and everyone wants an omelet – but without breaking (their) own egg. That poses a most difficult situation.”
How about if you and I agree to let our heavenly Father break us into pieces for Himself and just think, God’s heavenly omelet may well be so large it will be the biggest in history. Broken eggs. Unselfish people. Letting God break us to feed the hurting hearts of those we meet every day.
“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.”
“O Saviour, pour upon me Thy spirit of meekness and love, annihilate the selfhood in me, be Thou all my life.”
“O God, in whom nothing can live but as it lives in love, grant us the spirit of love which does not want to be rewarded, honoured or esteemed, but only to become the blessing and happiness of everything that wants it; love which is the very joy of life, and Thine own goodness and truth within the soul; who Thyself are Love, and by love our Redeemer, from eternity to eternity.”
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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