We are studying a description of love given by the apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Paul has established the vital importance of love. Now in verses 4-7 he points out what true love would be like. Currently I am dealing with self-seeking which, according to verse 5, is not an aspect of love.
Adults very often will have developed their own attitudes and opinions concerning the subject of selfishness. Children and teenagers are still in the process of forming their own values.
To both groups selfishness may not be a particularly exciting subject. Some will have heard many sermons against selfishness. Others will feel saturated with what they have read about this subject in the bible.
Yet we have a chance to grow as we again direct our thoughts to issues we have known about before. Sometimes using a different translation of the bible may cause the sacred text to speak to us in a very fresh way.
Whenever we get upset about somebody else’s behaviour we may find the word “selfishness” very stimulating. We may feel hurt or offended by the way we are treated by others.
As for how we ourselves treat others, self-seeking may come naturally to us. We don’t have to strive to become mindful of our own needs and concerns.
As already said, reading and studying the bible in various translations can help us to reflect our own attitudes and behaviours. Christian books, preaching and teaching can make us think too.
Yet there is also what you might call the school of life. Life is full of pleasant and (sometimes) of unpleasant experiences.
The author of a book I read as a teenager has pointed out, that we sometimes get particularly upset about behaviours of others, because in some way they are mirroring ourselves. It is much easier to say that some behaviour is wrong when seen in others. If we should allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us, at times He might point out that we ourselves are doing things in very similar ways as others of whom we get upset.
We observe that others do not behave as a Christian ought to. Yet as we become sensitive to the Holy Spirit He would lead us to reflect our own behaviour as (faintly) mirrored in others.