Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The New American Idol

A woman was overheard at a dinner party, "My husband and I have managed to be happy together for over 20 years. I guess it is because we are both in love with the same man."

When God spoke from Sinai to the children of Israel, giving them the Ten Commandments, He began by saying, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me" (Exodus 20:2-5). God made it clear that He was to be first place.

But today, people are in love with themselves. They seem to love themselves more than their spouses, more than their children, more than anything else on the earth. The image they worship, fashioned after a work of creation, is the one they see in the mirror.

In defining the "American Dream," 68% of adults say that it can only be fulfilled if they have the freedom to do and say whatever they want, regardless of the way their activity affects others. This is not freedom - this is plain selfishness! Freedom has with it the necessary elements of sacrifice, and the understanding that my desire to act is not going to take away the rights or freedoms of another.

People are confused about the difference between being responsible to oneself and worshiping self. Margaret Paul, Ph.D., makes the following observations about the difference between selfishness and self-responsibility:

We are being selfish when:

• We expect others to give themselves up for us.

• We make others responsible for our feelings of pain and joy.

• We get angry at others for doing what they want to do rather than doing what we want them to do.

• We consistently make our own feelings, wants, needs and desires important without also considering others feelings, wants, needs and desires.

• We believe we are entitled to special treatment, such as not having to wait in line.

We are being self-responsible when:

• We take care of our own feelings, wants, desires and needs rather than expecting others to take care of us.

• We support others in doing what brings them joy, even when they are not doing what we want them to do.

• We show caring toward others for the joy it give us rather than out of fear, obligation, or guilt.

• We have the courage to take loving action in our own behalf, even if someone gets angry with us.

• We have the courage to speak our truth about what we will or will not do, and what we do or do not feel, rather than give ourselves up to avoid criticism, anger or rejection.

Each one on us needs to work on our tendencies to be selfish. Such is a requirement of being a disciple of Christ. The only way to make God first is to get out of the cockpit. The only way to worship God is to destroy every idol in our lives.

"and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:15

1 comment: