The next sin that Bridges tackles is that of selfishness, which Bridges acknowledges is often much easier to spot in others than in ourselves. As such, our own selfishness is often more refined than the overt selfishness we dislike in others. Bridges addresses four areas of respectable selfishness – selfishness with our interests, our time, our money, and inconsiderateness. My subtle selfishness often shows up in two ways – one at home and one at work.
At home, I love to read during any spare time I have. Often, I sinfully put reading ahead of even spending quality time with my wife. This is selfish of me, and is a sin! At work, I am very protective of my lunch hour, and often I turn down offers to go to lunch with coworkers to have some relaxing time to myself (usually to read). But lately, thanks to a friend’s subtle challenge, I’m wondering if I am really putting my lunch hour to good use by being a hermit every time. Turning down lunch offers to read, though it is beneficial and enjoyable for me, can be done for selfish reasons. After all, I could use that time not to build myself up more, but to be an ambassador for Christ to my coworkers. When it’s framed around the kingdom of God and the necessity to share my faith, hoarding my lunch time is selfish.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Someone who is unselfish is balancing his needs, interests, and concerns with those of others. On the other hand, the selfish person is “not only indifferent to the needs of others, but actually expects them to meet his needs and desires.”
Jesus was the perfect example of unselfishness, as he became poor for our sake so that we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). He performed the ultimate act of unselfishness in taking on the wrath of God on the cross to make atonement for our sins. That’s the ultimate example of unselfishness for me to follow.