“Don’t do that again,” Amy declared to her friend as They walked down the mall toward the theaters.
“Do what?” Tanya asked.
“Say you don’t care which movie we see,” Amy stated firmly. “I hate it when you say that, so don’t say it again.”
Tanya frowned. She really didn’t care which movie they saw. “I would like to see 'Shall We?' or 'Baby Brats,' but I don’t have to see either of them today. We can go see a movie you want to see.”
“I don’t want to see either one of those,” Amy announced with finality as she scanned the title board above the box office. Nearby a seven year-old boy yelled at his mother that he wanted to see a certain movie. When she said he could not, he screamed at her that he hated her and she was a terrible mother. Then he stomped off down the mall.
Amy glanced at the kid. “My kid is never getting away with that,” she declared loudly in her best grown up voice. “He is acting like such a spoiled brat.” Then turning back to her friend, she said, “I want to see 'Antartica Attacks.'”
“Okay,” Tanya agreed and they got in line.
Ten minutes later, they arrived at the counter. Even before asking them which movie they would like to see, the attendant tells them that 'Antartica Attacks' was sold out for the next two showings.
Tanya turned to Amy and asked, “What do you want to see instead?”
“Nothing,” Amy spouts angrily and starts to walk away.
Tanya smiled at the attendant and followed her friend. When she caught up with Amy, she received a cold shoulder. Together they silently walked back up the mall. “So what do you want to do?” Tanya asked finally.
“I don’t know and I don't care,” Amy grumped. For the rest of the afternoon Amy kept her answers short and sharp. Tanya wondered what the problem was, but was afraid to ask. Instead she put the whole incident behind her and tried to enjoy the rest of the day she had to spend with her friend.
Romans 12:3 – “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (NASB)
Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” (NASB)
Ephesians 4:1,2 – “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,” (NASB)
1 Peter 5:5 – “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” (NASB)
As Christians, our lives are to be Christ-centric and then Others-centric.
When our center gets off kilter, we will find our life out of step with what the Lord wants for us. Since God created us to be Christ-centric, a center problem can frequently lead to a negative emotional and physical responses. If I am looking at me, I cannot see what God is doing in others’ lives, I cannot see what God wants me to do, and I cannot see God. Instead, I myopically focus on is what is affecting my comfort and happiness; the two things that are always elusively hanging just out of reach.
So what is the cure? Growing up I learned a little song that is a good antidote for any case of selfishness.
“Jesus and others and you,
What a wonderful way to spell JOY.
‘J’ is for Jesus for He has first place.
‘O’ is for others you meet face to face.
‘Y’ is for you in whatever you do.
Put yourself third and spell JOY.”
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