Why is this discussion about “selfishness” worth your time?
Ok, I’m quite a few weeks into this series about selfishness, and some of you may be wondering… “Why is he spending so much time on this? Why does it really matter?”
It matters because self-contempt is incredibly damaging. The too-frequent talk about selfishness, and the neglect of talk about love has trained many a Christian that God is more happy with you when you are unhappy. All too often, Christians think that, given two options, God probably wants them to do whichever one would be less pleasant. This gradually leads to a view that your desires are bad, your joys are bad, and ultimately that you are bad.
Such beliefs lead even further: To self-punishment and asceticism. In New Testament times, it led to an ungodly asceticism, that valued “self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body” (Col. 2:20-23) In the middle ages, it led to Flagellantism. Today, it leads to anorexia, bulimia, self-mutilation and suicide. It is ultimately the adoption by humans of a Satanic core value: The hatred of humanness, the hatred of existence, the hatred of life itself. The belief that, “I should be self-LESS; I should not exist. The closer I get to nonexistence—the less of me there is—the better.”
This is diametrically opposed to God’s value system that wants you to exist! God loves humanness: After all, he made it. And if there was ever any doubt of his love for it, he hallowed it completely when he became a human. God has a deep love of existence, a love of life. A wonderful summary of God’s desire for all of creation is the command that he gives in Ezekiel 16:6: “Live!!!“ God doesn’t want less of you; he wants more of you.