Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Steve Lyston | Selfish ambitions hinder progress

Published:Monday | November 28, 2016 | 11:00 AM

The greatest hindrance to mankind in building and advancing a nation or an organisation is the focus on 'self'.

The success of great reformers and visionaries of the past was that they put others and the progress of others above self. For change to take place, locally and globally, we need first to look at the 'self' that stands in our way:

• Self-centred

• Self-control

• Self-esteem

• Self-interest

• Self-made

• 'Selfie'

• Self-confidence

• Self-taught

• Self-absorption

• Self-reliance

• Self-conscious

• Self-sufficient

When we begin to allow God to deal with 'self' and we begin to look into ourselves and see the need for change, then we will experience change. Nothing is wrong with the country. The problem is with the nation - that is, the people. Many times, people talk about a country or an organisation being wicked; but the country or organisation is not wicked. It is the people. Because of selfish ambition, our politicians would not unite to address the issues and put the nation or people first.

 

Lagging behind

 

We are now seeing Britain putting their policies and economic and immigration reforms together for the benefit of the people of their nation. Meanwhile, Jamaica and the Caribbean are lagging behind because of 'self'. Some (on either side) say: 'If my party or my favourite people are not leading, then I will not support it. Likewise, the sleeping giant called the Church will not unite to bring change unless it is their favourite leader or their own organisation or congregation leading the charge. Our selfishness and self-centredness are blocking growth, hindering true prosperity, and an entire generation is now suffering as a result.

James 3: 16 says, "For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there."

Selfish ambitions bring disorder within society; and regardless of what measures or systems are implemented - body cameras, lie detectors and so on - we are only shifting it from one category of people to another.

Philippians 2: 3-4 says, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but, in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."

Even in the marketplace, those who have been given the opportunity and favour to make it, in turn become selfish and hinder another from emerging. They would prefer to put legislation and monopolistic measures in place to stop some new people from benefiting and developing for the betterment of the nation. There are even leaders who would rather die in office at the expense of the nation, rather than elevating others to run with the baton. They prefer to talk about longevity of their tenure and what records they can break.

 

Pride and arrogance

 

On a global level, when we look at what is taking place in Syria - the deaths of thousands take place daily because leaders want to dominate and determine how powerful they are globally. They would prefer to see people die than to bring a peaceful solution to the table. Pride, arrogance and selfish ambition were what caused Nebuchadnezzar to be turned into a beast at the hand of God.

It was selfish ambition that led to Genesis 11: 4. Everybody wanted to build, but only to make a name for themselves. They wanted to build a system without God. They wanted the benefits of God without submitting to the rule of God. They wanted to create a lifetime legacy that would keep them in power. We are now seeing many empires crashing down because of the selfish ambitions of others.

Selfish ambitions cause poverty and crime to increase, as there is great imbalance in the distribution of resources, nationally and globally. It is the 'me, myself and I syndrome' at work.

When we begin to put the interests of others, the vision of a nation or organisation above our own, or even compliment and esteem others above self, then significantly more will be achieved at every level. So, we need to teach our children at home from an early age how to share and care about others, how to show favour and mercy to others, and that no man is an island. We need to teach our children and young people, and remember ourselves, that we must necessarily care about what happens to another and to those around us near or far, known or unknown to us, and to use our resources wisely so that we all experience progress.