Callous, uncaring, unimaginable…just a few of the words that immediately come to mind when one thinks of the Auschwitz, Germany concentration camp personnel who ran the camp and in one way or another, contributed to the systematic murder of approximately 1.3 million prisoners who came through its gates between 1942 to 1944.
Let us fast forward sixty nine years into the future…
Callous, uncaring, unimaginable…just a few of the words that immediately come to mind when one thinks of the Bakersfield, CA nurse who calmly refused a pleading 911 operator to perform CPR on dying 87-year-old woman at a California independent living home.
Of course these two events in action and scope are not remotely associated with one another. The Bakersfield incident was the result of nurse who took the low road and submitted herself to a morally shortsighted policy that was written to protect the financial liability of the company she worked for and probably in her own eyes, her job. In WWII Germany; under the guise of the demonically inspired international pseudo science of the day called “Eugenics”, the Third Reich systematically carried out an attempt to exterminate the Jewish race and any other group the Nazi’s did not deem part of the “master race”. Many of the personnel who worked in these camps lived a paradoxical life where at home, they acted and behaved as many other loving families would but at work (the camps), they disassociated themselves from decency and compassion for the sake of their “job description” which happened to be systematic, cold blooded mass killings in the name of evolutionary inspired science and obedience to their morally debased Government.
While the actions or rather inaction of the Glenwood Gardens employees are inexcusable, and the death camps of Germany an example of evil depravity, these events are just a symptom of a larger sickness that is spreading through the world. An evil sickness that went viral in WWII Germany. The sickness takes root when a society turns away from the morality of the absolute truth of God’s Word and in its place adopts a humanistic, relativistic morality of evolutionary thought.
The sickness is called selfishness. Whether it is self-seeking, self-oriented, self-gratifying, self-preservation, self-admiration, etc. it is all a focus on self and hence blinds us to the caring of others.
God’s Word has much to say about selfishness. The following article “What does the Bible say about selfishness?” from gotquestions.org sheds some light on this contributor to the “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19-21).
As the love of the world grows cold and the disease of selfishness spreads, I encourage you to examine yourselves and your motives. Do you act out of selfishness or out of love? If you ever find yourself in a similar situation as the nurse at Glenwood Gardens, take the high road and be the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). And before that, believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18), submit to His way (1 Pet 2:21-23), and be salt and light (Mat 5:13-16) to a dying world!
What does the Bible say about selfishness?Selfishness is that attitude of being concerned with one’s own interests above the interests of others. However, the Bible commands us to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4, NASB).
It’s interesting to note in this passage that Paul compares selfishness to “empty conceit”—a term that could be translated “vanity” or “arrogance.” It refers to an overly high opinion of oneself. Selfishness, then, is akin to narcissism.
Selfishness or empty conceit is often expressed by building up oneself while tearing down someone else. It is one of the “works of the flesh” according to Galatians 5:20. It leads to “disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:16). Selfishness caused the children of Israel to “willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved” (Psalm 78:18). Selfishness caused the rich young ruler to turn his back on Jesus (Matthew 19:21-22). Selfishness ruins friendships (Proverbs 18:1), hinders prayer (James 4:3), and is the product of earthly wisdom (James 3:13-14).
The opposite of selfishness is also found in Philippians 2: being united with Christ, having tenderness and compassion, and “being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” (Philippians 2:2).
Combating the sin of selfish ambition requires genuine humility. Unpretentious humility restores and grows relationships. Being humble involves having a true perspective about ourselves in relation to God. “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3).
Prayer and a love of Scripture are necessary as well. “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain” (Psalm 119:36). Love covers a multitude of sins, including selfishness. If we are truly “devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10), we cannot be selfish. Having the attitude of Christ is to demonstrate tenderness and compassion for all those we come in contact with.
Another sure cure for selfishness is to know where our treasure is. The Christian holds the things of this world loosely because he is laying up “treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21). He knows it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), and he lives according to the truth that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthian 9:7).
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