Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Love Corner - Love is not Selfish

Published:Monday | August 17, 2015 | 8:01 AM

We live in a world that is enamoured with 'self'. Society teaches us to focus on our appearance, feelings, and personal desires as top priority. The goal, it seems, is to chase the highest level of happiness possible. The danger of this kind of thinking, however, becomes painfully apparent once in a relationship, especially a marriage. If there was ever a word that means the opposite of love, it is selfishness.

This week's Love Corner looks at unselfishness. Almost every unkind action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive - a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves.

If a husband puts his interests, desires, and priorities before his wife's - that can be a sign of selfishness. And if a wife constantly complains about the time and energy she spends meeting the needs of her husband, that's a sign of selfishness. Love 'does not seek its own'.

One ironic aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward. If you even do a good thing to manipulate your husband, wife, or friend, you are being selfish. The bottom line is that you either make decisions out of love for others or love for self.

Love is never satisfied except in the welfare of others. You can't act out of real love and selfishness at the same time. Choosing to love someone will cause you to say "no" to what you want, so you can say "yes" to what they need. That's putting the happiness of your partner above your own. It does not mean you can never experience happiness, but you don't negate the happiness of your spouse for your own.

Love also leads to inner joy. When you prioritise the well-being of your partner over your own, there is a resulting fulfilment that cannot be duplicated by selfish actions. This is a benefit that God created and reserves for those who genuinely demonstrate love.

Nobody knows you as well as your friends, family, or spouse. That means no one will be quicker to recognise a change when you deliberately start sacrificing your wants and wishes to make sure his or her needs are met.

If you find it hard to sacrifice your own desires to benefit others, then you might have a deeper problem with selfishness than you want to admit.

 

Ponder these questions:

 

• Do I truly want what is best for my family, friends, husband or wife?

• Do I want them to feel loved by me?

• Do I show them that I have their best interests at heart?

• Do they see me as looking out for myself first?

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3). Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It's hard to care for something you are not investing in.

cathy.risden@gleanerjm.com