Tag Archives: selfishness

10 Surefire Ways to Get Yourself Depressed – Part II

Part I of this blog discusses how living in Disguise, having a sense of Entitlement, foolish Pride, Rebellion against the truth, and Envy promote depression in our lives. Another 3 character traits that tend to alienate us and promote depression are as follows.

(6) SELFISHNESS: Selfishness makes it “all about us”. It is trait that comes out us when we operate out of fear and greed. Society has done a great job hiding this trait under a rug of vernacular. Instead of saying we are only thinking of ourselves, we say that we are acting independently. Instead of admitting that we looking out only for our own self-interest, we say that we are looking our for our own security.

Good relationships require give and take. With selfishness, there is no giving…there is only taking. This is why selfishness never results in happiness.

Nothing breaks that cycle of selfishness more than engaging in giving and serving others – especially when the person does not deserve it. Just try it today, go over to someone who does not deserve something and make their day. Watch the smile on their face; watch joy fill their heart as you tell them there is no catch. In truth, when we engage in ‘catch-less’ giving, we receive more than we bargain for. There is something about selflessness that fills us up with joy and happiness. Thus while selfishness sucks the life out of us, selflessness rewards us with the gift of life. So ask yourself how you can make someone’s day today. Then be intentional to make it happen.

If you do not believe me, then believe the wisest man who ever lived. Jesus said: Give and it shall be given unto you. If you want love and happiness in your life, give love and happiness.

(7) STUBBORNNESS: The difference between determination and stubbornness is the state of the heart from which the action comes. While determination is born out of good heart, stubbornness is born out of an evil heart. While determination is positive, stubbornness is negative.  Stubbornness is what makes us dig our heels in – sticking for things we know are not right. Stubbornness is what causes us to never admit our wrongdoing or our wrong ways of thinking.

Setting a wall up against the will of God , moving against his spiritual laws, and not admitting when we are wrong are surefire ways to be depressed. Just ask Judas Iscariot. He stubbornly set himself against Jesus even after it was clear to him that Jesus knew he going to betray him. The result: His ensuing deep anxiety and remorse led him to hang himself. Other stubborn guys we know of are Pharaoh of Egypt, King Saul, and Jonah. They all suffered for it.

Lets not be like all  these guys who suffered deep anxiety.  Let us not hang our joy and happiness on a tree. Let us be determined to do what is right and let us be quick to turn towards what is good. We ought to accept being called a flip-flopper and do what is right than be known as a resolute people who steadfastly drove their lives off into the gorge of remorse and anxiety just because they were trying to save their image.

To win yourself off stubbornness, remind yourself that you do not have to be right all the time.

(8) INSOLENCE: Being loud, rude, and otherwise obnoxious wins us no favors in life. In fact, it tends to alienate us from peaceable people in the society. It causes unnecessary dissension and strife.

Since birds of a feather flock together, it is highly unusual to find insolent people walking around with peaceful people. At some point, insolent people will be rude to one another and take offense. Hence, the end result of insolence is that we miss out on the joy our relationships should bring us. That in itself can cause us a deep sense of anxiety as the people we love to get out of dodge for their own peace of mind.

In other words, it is difficult for people to love you for you if you are rude, crude, loud, and obnoxious. If they do, they would rather love you for you at a distance. Thus, it will be difficult for you to walk in fellowship with others when you are insolent. Once fellowship is removed, watch out. You are prime candidate for negative thoughts and the other tricks of Satan. Don’t I say “I don’t need anybody”. Everybody needs somebody.

Friend, lets us remember that we are to exhort and speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). Only then will we have positive and meaningful fellowship with one another.

 

 

 

 

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4 Things the story of Judah teaches us to keep in mind when dealing with pain and fear

The story of Judah (Joseph’s brother) and his family in the book of Genesis interrupts the telling of the saga of Joseph. In Genesis 38, we read how Judah got married and then gave birth to three sons. How his first born, Er, was killed because of his wickedness – thereby making his wife, Tamar, a widow. It also tells how Judah’s second son, Onan, perished because he did not want to give his brother an heir through Tamar, whom he had married after Er’s death.  

It is at this juncture in the story that Judah sends his daughter in-law away until his third son was adequately grown (Genesis 38:11). This is how he dealt with his pain!

Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house – Genesis 38:11

 As we would later find out, Judah never planned on giving his third son, Shelah to Tamar as a husband but simply wanted to be rid of her! Why? Genesis 38:11 tells reveals that he was afraid for the life of Shelah – his third and last remaining offspring.

Of the many things that can be drawn out from the interesting incidents that occurred in the family of Judah (read Genesis 38), here are four key lessons this passage of scripture teaches us about pain and fear.

Pain has a tendency to blame

Just like any of us would be, Judah was grieved with the loss of his first son. Seeing Tamar’s pain and wanting to do right by her, he decided to give her as a wife to his second son, Onan. When Onan died, Judah – who did not understand why his sons died – started to search for answers.

Without any clear cut answers, all he could manage to do in his hurt was make the connection that his two sons’ had been with the same woman (Tamar) prior their death. As a result, he erroneously blamed her for their deaths and shamed her by sending her away! His pain turned Tamar into a monster! Here is what we can learn from this:

No lasting decision should be made when we are hot, hurt, and emotional

Pain leads us to think the worst about people

Hurt people end up hurting other people (especially the ones closest to them)

 

Pain turns coincidence into root cause

James Whitcomb Riley famously said ‘When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck’. While deductive reasoning is powerful, it can lead to the wrong conclusion if the base assumption behind the reasoning is wrong.

For example, the assumption we are making about James Riley is that he has studied birds and that he knows exactly what a duck walks like, swims like, and quacks like. If he does not know exactly what a duck walks like nor knows exactly how a duck swims, then what he thought sounded like a duck may have been someone using a duck caller!

Back to the story, just because Tamar was the wife of both of Judah’s son’s when they died does not mean she caused the deaths. What did Judah think – that Tamar had some sin that held her responsible for his son’s death? Hmm!

Here are some things to consider prior to assigning a root cause when dealing with pain:

Just because something is factual does not mean it is truthful.

Logic will always lead to the wrong assumption if the starting assumption behind the logic is not true

Correlations does NOT prove causation

Fear always leads to deceitfulness

Judah was afraid for the life of his third son. As a result, he lied to Tamar about his intentions to give him to her in marriage. I am sure Judah justified his deceitfulness by convincing himself that what he was doing was what any other parent would do. He was trying to protect his son, right? Wrong!

In truth, all he was doing was trying to protect himself from the pain of losing another son. He never asked his son what he wanted, even after his son had grown up. In truth, his actions were ‘self’ motivated; what he was trying to do was protect himself – not his son.

Unfortunately for him, what he did not know was that he was protecting himself from the wrong problem. The problem was not Tamar, but was the unrighteousness of his sons. But fear blinded all of that away and led him to make a promise to Tamar that he never had any intentions of keeping.

A person who cannot keep his/her promise is a person who is looking out for his/her own self-interest

A person who cannot seem to tell the truth is a person who is fearful. Get to the source of the fear and deal with it, and you would have dealt with the habit of lying

 

Fear leads to having double-standards

Judah’s response of ‘bring her out and let her be burned’ when he was told of Tamar’s immorality smacks of having double-standards. While he was perfectly okay with his unrighteousness, her unrighteousness deserved nothing short of death. ‘How dare she shame me like this’, he must have thought to himself! He forgot about the time he had shamed her by sending her away from his house and from her family!

This attitude of ‘burn her for what she did, but never mind what I did’ is rampant in people living with fear. Why? It is because fear loves to the take the focus off itself and put it on other things. Fear loves to remain hidden and will out forward any distraction so it is not discovered. It loves to quickly point the finger of blame without ever finding fault.

A person living in fear considers others only for as long as it benefits them

Fearfulness will always lead to selfishness; selfishness will always lead to broken relationships

Has pain and fear caused you to become someone you are not? If this is you, there is freedom in God today. Refuse to allow pain and hurt to control your life today. Instead give it to Jesus – the one who took away all our pains and fear and made freedom and love available to you – and allow His Spirit to control your life through His word.

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Is it ever okay NOT to honor my father and mother?

We are taught to honor our father and mother so that our days may be prolonged (Exodus 20:12). Before breathing a sigh of relief that this scripture is found in the Old Testament, Apostle Paul repeats this instruction in his letter to the church in Ephesus – teaching us that it is applicable to us today and reminding us that it is the first commandment with a promise.

But does this mean we have to acquiesce to every wish of our parents? Absolutely not! The bible tells us that we are to not to seek the honor that comes from man but to seek the honor that comes from God (John 5:41).

What does this mean? It means that we are never to honor the wishes of any man – including our parents – above honoring God. Why? This is because in being human, the wishes of our parents are at times driven by their fear, prejudice, selfishness, history, upbringing, culture, and life experiences.

In essence, the will and wishes of man is not always good for us and acceptable to God. Conversely, the will and wish of God for our lives is always good, acceptable and perfect (see Romans 12:2)

Lightbulb MomentIt is alright to honor the wishes of our parents only if what they want lines up with what God tells us to do as instructed by the Holy Spirit.

Put another way, our ultimate authority is God and not man – not matter how close the relationship! The perfect example of honoring God above man is that of Jesus. If Jesus had listened to his family, He would not have done the will of His father to do good and heal those who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). We know this because the bible tells us that His family wanted to whisk Him away from the crowd to which He was healing, setting free, and preaching. Why? They thought He was out of His mind (Mark 3:20)!

Have you wondered why Jesus’ teachings and wonderful miracles did not excite His family? It is because they were only thinking of themselves! See, Jesus was the first-born son of His household; therefore, the responsibility of caring for the family fell on Him after Joseph’s death. Being a skilled carpenter and not breaking a jot of the law, He provided for His family very well! How do we know Jesus was well off? We know for the God promised great things for those who kept his commandments and obeyed His voice (see Deuteronomy 28). Since God is not a liar, it is clear that He commanded blessings into everything to which Jesus put His hand –  including His storehouse (see Deuteronomy 28:8).

See, the family of Jesus had it good! By Jesus leaving it all behind to embark on this new ministry of His, He had not only seemingly shunned His responsibility as the patriarch of His family, but they were also worried that He was no longer going to be able to provide for them! They would no longer live the good life. They wondered to themselves: ‘Why is He leaving this goodness to go perambulate the wilderness – just walking from place to place? God has blessed Him and given Him a duty to take care of us. And why is He going against our traditions? What will people say? Why is He simply throwing all He has away? Surely, He has lost His mind’.

You see, His family were being selfish in thinking only about themselves without pausing to think of how wonderful Jesus’ ministry was for those He was setting free.

Thank goodness Jesus did not decide to honor His family above the word and voice of God. Can you imagine if He had said: ‘Well, I must honor my family and so stop what I am doing’? How horrible for the entire multitude to which He ministered; how horrible for all humanity! Though His family did not understand, He understood what He was doing, and that is all that mattered. As we know, His own brother did not believe in Him at the beginning but would later come to understand and believe.

This tells us that every decision made in Christ will sooner or later be understood by all who doubted us. Why? It is because wisdom (the instruction of God) is always justified by her children (its results). In obeying the voice of God, Jesus not only honored God but ultimately honored His family and all humanity by paying the price for our sins on the cross and honoring us with a way back to God.

Moreover, He made sure His mother was going to be well taken care off as well (John 19:26).

Lightbulb MomentThe only way to truly honor man with love is to honor God. Anything done outside of God is not love but fear in disguise.

Food for Thought: I am right for honoring my parents, but I am wrong for honoring them above God.

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