Respectable Sins: 4 Manifestations of Selfishness | Part 2

In my last post in this series, I discussed how we are often selfish with our interests. If you would like to read that post, you can do so by clicking here. Today I will deal with our selfishness regarding our time.

Our Time

There is only so much time in each day. We can acquire more money, clothes, shoes, or even houses, but we cannot gain more time. There is a fixed amount of it, which makes it a prime candidate for selfishness.

How are we selfish with our time?

We are selfish with our time when we excessively guard it, or when we unduly impose on another person’s time [1]You can tell when someone is being selfish with their time when they say things like:

  • “That is not my job!”
  • “I will do that later.”
  • “Time is money.”
  • etc.

 Or when they:

  • Ignore others
  • Are always rushing around, as if they have no time for anyone around them.
  • When they are constantly asking others to help them out regardless of the deadlines the other person has to meet.

When we, or others, use these phrases or perform these actions, selfish behavior is usually the reason.

What does Scripture have to say about how we are to act towards others?

Scripture tells us that we are to

bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

So then, if we are to bear one another’s burdens we have to go beyond our normal duties. In order for us to do that, we have to be willing to sacrifice a little bit of our time.

Looking Forward

In my next post in this series, I will look at how we are selfish with our money. Until then, use the questions below to help you reflect on this post.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you think we show our selfishness with our time?
  2. How do you find a balance between being selfish and getting your own things done?
  3. What other verses would you recommend when dealing with selfishness?

Resources

[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 104.

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Respectable Sins: 4 Manifestations of Selfishness | Part 1

This week I am continuing to work my way through Jerry Bridges book Respectable Sins. I hope it is helping to bring to light those sins that are common and acceptable amongst Evangelical Christians – sins we commit on a regular basis with no thought that they are sin – so that you will then work on ridding them from your life by the power of the Holy Spirit. The sin we will explore this week is selfishness. Let me start with a definition.

Selfishness defined is as follows:

A person, action, or motive lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

In order to understand how we are often concerned with our own personal profit or pleasure I will explore four areas where selfishness manifestations itself, which are:

  1. Our interests
  2. Our time
  3. Our money
  4. Our consideration of others

Let’s start today by looking at the first way selfishness generally manifests itself.

Our Interests

In Philippians 2:4 Paul tells us to look out for the interests of others. Here he desires we be concerned with other’s interests. The problem is that we are often concerned with our own interests more than the interests of others. In other words, we consider our affairs to matter more than someone else’s.

How does this work itself out in everyday life?

One way we can know if we are concerned about our own interest is by observing our conversations. If we dominate the conversation, telling of our grandchildren’s latest feat, our latest work project, our kids sports achievements, etc, without caring about the interests of others, then we are being selfish in our interests.

Another way this works itself out is by showing no genuine interest in what others are telling us. Instead, we are bidding our time until we can speak, thinking more about what we are going to say than what the other person is currently telling us. When we do this, we show that we really don’t care about the other person’s interests, we just want someone to listen to what we have to say, which means we are being selfish in our interests.

How do we have a conversation with someone in an unselfish manner?

In order to have a conversation with someone in an unselfish manner, we need to be careful not to dominate the conversation with our interests, as well as we need to be genuinely interested in what the other person is telling us.

How do we correct our behavior?

Before you get to thinking I am telling you that you must just sit there and let the other person speak, let me say, “It is okay to talk about your interests.” If you did not, then you would be a boring person, who no one really knew. Our interests should be expressed, but our interests should not be the dominating factor in our conversations. We should not be talking at the person, but rather we should be talking with them.

The Reason this is a Sin

Selfishness with our interests is a sin because we show ourselves to be “Lovers of Self”, which Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is a sin. More pointedly, as Jerry Bridges says,

“A self-centered persons cares little for the interests, needs, or desires of others.”[1]

So then, those who are “Lovers of Self” are not operating from a Christian perspective. As Christians, we are called to care for the needs of others by not loving ourselves, but rather we are to be willing to lay down our lives for others, which is what Christ did for us (Phil. 2:5-11).

Looking Forward

In my next post in this series, I will look at how we are selfish with our time. Until then, use the questions below to help you reflect on this post.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do we show that we do not care about others interests and consider ourselves to be more important than others?
  2. How might we have a conversation with someone without being selfish?
  3. Are there other verses besides Philippians 2:5-11 that you might point someone to in order to help them understand what Christ has done for them by being unselfish?

Resources

[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 103.

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Political Christian: Is this a Contradiction?

Should Christians be involved in Public Policy? Many pastors and Christians in evangelical circles will answer this question with a resounding, NO! Some even go so far as to say that government is evil, and government affiliation should be avoided at all cost.

What these Christians forget is that government is not a worldly invention. Paul writes in Romans 13:1, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” Here we learn that government is not a human invention; it is not the realm of the Devil, it is a Divine institution, established by God.

I will admit, government can be a source of evil, if evil people run it. But it can also be a source of much good in our society, if good people get involved. As Christians, we must be that good voice in government. Good public policy acts to restrain evil, while bad policy encourages immoral behavior. It is no mystery that laws influence the decisions people make. For example, New York did not pass a no fault divorce law, when other states did. As a result, the divorce rate in New York is lower than the rest of the country. (Article & iMAPP Study)

I believe Christians have the ability to influence legislation for good, if they will get involved, thus, influencing the moral climate of our Nation.

Two More Reasons To Be Involved

Other than the fact that Christians are called to be salt and light in the world (Matt. 5:13), I will leave you with two more reasons we need to be engaged in political service:

(1) To protect the churches freedom to proclaim the Gospel. There are many in our culture who want to tear down the institution of the church, and if we as Christians do not get involved, they may succeed.

(2) For the good of everyone. There are a lot of people who fall prey to bad public policy. A good example is the unborn. Many lives are lost everyday because abortion was legalized in our country.

Conclusion

If Christians continue to see government as evil and remain apathetic to Political service, then public policies will continue to cater to those who want nothing to do with Judeo-Christian values. So to answer my original question, should Christians be involved in Public Policy, I give a resounding YES!

Resources and How To Get Involved

Some ideas from this post were taken from a talk Dr. Barrett Duke gave at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Dr. Duke is the Vice President of the Southern Baptists Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission.  More about the ERLC and how Christians can get involved in public policy can be found on their website: ERLC.com