February 18, 2011

Purely Selfish

Posted in Christianity at 10:15 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Phil. 2:3)

Recently, a good friend gently pointed out to me that some of the things that I had been doing to kindly nudge others out of their comfort zones was, well, not really so kind after all. To those people, it felt more like being pushed off a cliff, and while my friend chose her words carefully, she made it clear that I needed to respect the boundaries of others because I would want to have my boundaries respected in return.

This conversation opened my eyes and helped me realize that I was being very selfish in my motivation for pushing these boundaries – and that while these were my friends and I cared for them, my ultimate goal was not to see them succeed but to further my own agenda. Of course, I only wanted what was best for them. But “best” is subjective. Best by whose standard? Mine – or the Lord’s? I realized that I needed to back off and allow the Lord to lead each of my friends just as he leads me. It was not up to me to tell my friends how to live their lives.

Sometimes selfish motives get in the way of even the purest intentions. As humans, we want what we want when we want it, and we want it now. We want our families to be safe, for friends to learn to stand on their own, and for children to make the right choices, but we can’t force people to make the choice that we think is best – that decision isn’t ours to make. It’s between them and God – and he will lead them in the way that is right when we step out of the way and let him.

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