Selfishness - The Human Default Setting
April 4, 2016 • By Ed Wrather
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. – Philippians 2:3 NKJV.
The Message puts Philippians 2:3 as: If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Last week, a plane flying from Hawaii to Japan had a problem passenger onboard and was forced to turn around. A 72-year-old man did not want to sit in his seat while his wife and others were eating. So, he went to the galley in the back of the plane and began doing yoga. The crew ordered him to stop and to return to his seat, he refused. Marines onboard the plane, were able to escort the South Korean, Hyongtae Pae back to his seat, although Pae did violently resist by trying to bite them. Pae has been charged with “Interfering with the crew of an aircraft” and he was released after posting a $25,000 bond. An FBI Spokesman Tom Simon says, “While yoga and meditation can be beneficial activities, it doesn't negate the need to obey flight crew instructions while in the air.” (AP 03.30.16; Reuters 03.31.16; CNN 03.31.16)
It does appear that Hyongtae Pae has some mental issues, but this is an example of what some will do to have their own way. Pae did not care what those in authority wanted him to do, and he did not care what his own wife wanted him to do. He did not care that he was violating the law, he knew what he wanted and he was going to do it, regardless of the consequences. Well there are some consequences in Pae’s situation, and he could even be incarcerated for a substantial period of time, although that is unlikely.
I did a Google search this morning for “getting your way” and was surprised to find 334,000 results for the search. At the very top of the list of search results was: “The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way: How to Speak, Write, Present, Persuade, Influence, and Sell Your Point of View to Others.” Then Monster dot com has the article “Five Tips for Getting Your Way Without Authority.” And there is even a song “Getting Your Way” by the English rock band, Mansun, and here are a few of the lyrics: “So proud when you get up and dance, Move centre on stage, Make sure that everybody can see, Exposure's maximum, Subconsciously, When you know that you are sitting on, Top of the tree.”
Getting your own way is the default setting for us human beings. Our natural nature is one of selfishness, looking out for number one: me, my, myself, before anyone or anything else. To change the default setting from selfishness to humility we must do this: “…put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them (Colossians 3:5-7 NKJV).” But how do we do this? We must do what we are told here in Colossians 3:1-2: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”