Food for Thought: Selfishness vs. Selflessness

Food for Thought: Selfishness vs. Selflessness

by Ardith Hoff

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences has tracked a unique statistic: how many people have died while taking a selfie.  Their research confirms at least 259 such deaths around the world in the last six years.  Drowning is the leading cause followed by transportation (taking a picture as a train/car approaches).  Other causes are falling from cliffs, waterfalls and buildings.  Fixation on self can be deadly. The Week, 10/19/18, p.16

Most of us do not consider ourselves selfish, but most of us are actually quite self-centered at times.  This is a good thing if we are taking care of ourselves so that we remain healthy and are learning to do better.  It becomes unhealthy and even dangerous when we become so self-centered that we ignore our surroundings and become oblivious to the presence and rights of others.

Even when we use our phones inappropriately, other than to take selfies, we often show a disregard for others.  Talking too loudly while in a public setting is rude and selfish to those around us.  Not watching where we are going can be dangerous for us as well as to others, to say nothing of texting or dialing while driving. 

Our phones are wonderful and can even be lifesaving in times of emergency.  They are wonderful for keeping in touch and reaching out to others.  Even the occasional selfie to send to Grandma or an old friend, can be delightful.  What we have to remember is that there is a time and place for everything and finding the appropriate time and place is the opposite of selfishness and is moving in the direction of selflessness.

Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Do nothing from vanity or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Getting beyond ourselves and thinking of others is how we are meant to live as Christians.  Self-indulgence and inattention can not only cause problems for others, they can cost us our self  respect and even our lives.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8