“………if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.” Romans 14:23 NLT
Though unbelief in the goodness of God and the reliability of God’s Word is the root of sin, selfishness is its sustaining oxygen.
We are prone to distrust God when we think He is not giving us all the things we need to live a happy, satisfying, secure life. We deal with our disappointments and frustrations with God by relying on ourselves to work things out our way for our own good.
Distrust of God is the underlying basis for believing that love is often hard to practice when faced with inconsiderate, unkind, or abusive people and unfair circumstances.
We deal with love’s perceived shortcomings by concluding that some of the things God says are wrong, but they are really right.
Acting selfishly does not mean we do not know the difference between right and wrong. It means we are unwilling to think in terms of right and wrong as regard to the good of everyone affected in any way by our choices and behavior.
This is why seemingly good Christians exploit others to get more for themselves, ignore the needs of others, manipulate or abusively coerce others into their control.
We set aside the way of love for the way of self-centeredness (seeking the good of self, first and foremost). We set aside love’s unchangeable standard of right and wrong for a self-centered standard which makes self-interest the basis for determining right from wrong.
In whatever way or area of life you distrust God, in that way or area you become selfish. In becoming selfish, you make the good of self your priority and allow the good of others to become a lesser concern. Being self-centered, you neglect or jeopardize the good of others through your efforts to promote and protect your own interests.
Selfishness, though socially acceptable in many instances, is a devastating curse which causes incalculable and often irreparable harm to victim and sinner alike.
Successful sinners influence others to sin.
Sin always starts small, but grows to devastating proportions.
Sin always victimizes one or more people who had nothing to do with the sin.
Selfishness seeks the good of self to the neglect of or at the expense of others. Selfishness believes we must make our own happiness and well-being a priority to get the happiness and satisfaction we feel we deserve in life.
The opposite of selfishness is love.
Love seeks the good of everyone affected in any way by its choices and behavior. Love sometimes promotes or protects the good of others to the point of sacrificing its own good, even its own life.
Love believes we must share the love of God and make the well-being of others a priority so everyone, including us, can have the happiness and satisfaction we all deserve in life.
Selfishness is based on the premise that we must look out for our own good, first and foremost, because no one else seems willing or able to do it in the way we feel it needs to be done.
Love is based on the premise that it is perfectly safe to make the good of others equal to or greater than the good of self because God, who is greater than us, is devoted to promoting and protecting our good.
“……if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.” Rom. 14:23 MSG