A few nights ago, Liz and I were watching a countdown show- it was called something like, “20 Funniest Pranks” or “Pranksters Gone Crazy.” (The title was dumb, but we laughed a lot watching it.) One of the clips they showed was of a guy who had fallen asleep on his couch, and his girlfriend put a clothespin on his nose and screamed really loud. He jumped up in a stupor, wide-eyed, confused, and hid behind her, looking for danger. I repeat: he hid behind her. Some boyfriend…
I also remember seeing a news clip from an Astros game last year. There was a young couple sitting in the stands down the first base line. A foul ball got hit that direction and again, the boyfriend in the clip ducked out of the way, allowing his girlfriend to get whacked by the ball. I heard that they broke up later that night.
It’s not just bad boyfriends that act selfishly, we all do at times. I think one of the reasons it’s so easy to be self-centered is that it comes so naturally. You can choose to call it survival instinct or human nature, but I’m pretty sure that as people, our default setting is “Selfish.”
Thinking of others and acting in their interest is like exercising or reading. It doesn’t come naturally. It’s a discipline that has to be exercised. And, like exercise, it does get easier with time. As Christians, this isn’t just a suggestion that would make us nicer people, it’s a command:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Start thinking now. How can you be “others-centered” today? What practical things can you do today that will be an exercise in humility and service to others? What things have you been up to that are feeding the “selfish monster” in you?
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