An Epidemic of Selfishness

March 3, 2015

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Several former heroes and people of influence from the youth group era of my life have crashed and burned recently.

At times it has led me to exclaim, “Are there no heroes left who can finish well?”

I feel like the frequency in which I hear of friends and former students walking away from God or living in choices which are opposite of what God would desire; is increasing exponentially.

I feel weary as I watch people I care about wreak havoc in their own lives and the lives of others.

As I try to make sense of this personally, the common thread which emerges is selfishness.

This is not new. There really is nothing new under the sun.

  • Adam and Eve considered their view of the world better than God’s.
  • King David chose his own personal desires over that of a nation and his troops.
  • Peter denied Christ cause he was more afraid of what would happen to him than what Jesus was facing.

Governments have drifted over the years. Democracy is meant to reflect the desires of the people. Now, the most important issues are re-election, partisanship, and defeating any opposing ideas regardless of merit. Such is the state of democracy in the United States.

The issues in the USA pale when placed against the corruption, bribery, and stories of leaders amassing personal fortunes while their people suffer in poverty we find in other nations.

CNN recently spoke to this epidemic of selfishness. Take a look at these quotes:

“It’s hard to say, but our increasingly me-first world might have something to do with it. According to a study published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, clinical narcissism –defined by heightened feelings of entitlement, decreased morality and a dog-eat-dog mentality — has increased by 30% over the past 20 years. Two out of every three people now measure high for the disorder.”(emphasis mine)

In her book, “The Narcissism Epidemic,” Jean Twenge argues that we live in a culture that not only tolerates, but also encourages, “being true to ourselves” and “never compromising.”

CNN normally does not report on these kind of issues, but when we see it from every angle, we must listen. It is shocking to read that “2 out of 3 could qualify as clinically narcissistic!”

It seems we have an epidemic of selfishness.

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The active challenge for me is to not grow bitter and angry, pointing the finger at those who have disappointed me.

The timeless words of “look at the plank in your own eye”, never have rung more true.

I must look in the mirror. Stopping an epidemic starts with me.

  • How am I being selfish?
  • Am I serving my spouse and children or looking to my own interests.
  • In my leadership, do I make decisions for the good of those I serve, or for my own personal perks and entitlements.

There has never been a greater time for grace-based, selfless leaders like Jesus. If this “others focused” leadership style cannot be reflected within the Body of Christ, where do we expect to find it?

I’m still sad and disappointed in my friends and the heroes of my past. Honestly, I’m kind of angry too.

Yet I’m challenged to actively fight against these feelings by allowing God to expose the same root of selfishness in my own heart. I am not immune.

Epidemics like selfishness spread and infiltrate every aspect of our culture.

Stopping the spread of any epidemic involves awareness, prevention, and vaccination.

  • May we be people who are aware of our own selfishness.
  • Let’s prevent its further spread by leading and parenting in a different way.
  • And we must be faithful to vaccinate ourselves regularly by looking to Jesus who is our greatest example of selfless, sacrificial love.

What are you doing to actively fight the epidemic of selfishness in our world?

Photo credit:  via photopin (license)

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God

2 responses to An Epidemic of Selfishness

  1. Chris, very well said. We as a people are becoming more self-centered by the day. But when we forget about ourselves and think of others we receive much more than we give. Great post. thanks for sharing, Rich

  2. I certainly can see selfishness demonstrated in our society. it seems to go hand in hand with self-entitlement. Folks seem to think “all” should come to them as if they deserve it for doing nothing. Just existing = entitlement. Sad.