Loving Self vs. Loving Others

By Joey and Carla Link
March 3, 2021

“Who are you thinking of right now?” That is the question I asked my daughter one day when she was complaining about her sister. When they were 12 years and up, our daughters had to come up with a schedule for morning bathroom time. The problem was our oldest daughter Briana had a bad habit of oversleeping and not getting into the bathroom on time, so she stayed in through her sister Amy’s time who was then late getting her day started. Briana didn’t get why Amy wasn’t respecting that she needed the amount of time she signed up for and Amy didn’t get why Briana wasn’t getting up on time to allow herself enough time so Amy wouldn’t be late for school. This was especially an issue since Briana was the one who set the bathroom times to begin with. Today’s society is really no different.

  • Education says, “Be resourceful; expand yourself!”
  • Psychology says, “Be confident; assert yourself!”
  • Religion says, “Be good; conform yourself!”
  • Materialism says, “Be satisfied; please yourself!”
  • Pride says, “Be superior; promote yourself!”
  • Humanism says, “Be capable; believe in yourself!”

(From Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018.) Yourself, yourself, yourself! We don’t see where this says “think of your sister first!” It seems society is pushing us deeper into the pit of “It’s all about me, myself and I!” I am the only thing that matters! But Paul had a different perspective in Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” How do your kids see themselves? Which end of the binoculars are your kids looking through? The end that makes them look bigger or smaller? Are they looking with sober judgement? “Sober” means “humble and well-balanced.” Judgement” means to “speak your opinion.” To speak an opinion that comes from a heart of humility is one that will think of the needs of others first. Questions:

  • How well do your children seek to serve each other by being patient and understanding with their siblings when they are having a bad day?
  • If one of your kids had a lot of homework, would his siblings offer to do his chores that evening?
  • When one of your kids is sick, would his siblings wait until you told them to help the sick one or would they ask their sibling what they could do for them?

Thinking of others starts at home! Being others oriented is really what being a Christ-follower is all about. How well are your kids seeking to follow Christ’s example of being a servant?  “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 One night while you are having dinner as a family, ask this question;

  • When was the last time you served another person in the family (on your own initiative) and what act of service did you do?”
  • If they can’t come up with anything, ask them to think about a way they can serve someone in the family the next day and have them tell one of you when they have completed it.

 When one of our children was being selfish, we would privately ask him/her “Who are you thinking of right now?” They would say themselves. Then we asked them who they should be thinking of right then and they would respond it was the one they were arguing with. We asked this child if he/she was ready to make that right which meant they needed to apologize using the Repentance, Forgiveness and Restoration process we often talk about. If the reply was “No”, he/she was told to go sit on their bed until they were ready. While he/she is sitting, encourage him to think of one way he can show this person he is willing to put their needs above his own. When this child is ready to apologize, after asking his sibling for forgiveness, he should come up with a way that was related to the offense that he is going to put the needs of the sibling first. Unless your child is under five years of age, resist the temptation to tell him what he could do to show ‘preciousness’ to the one he offended. If you are consistent with intervening quickly when you can tell one of your kids is having a “me, me, me” day, you will find your kids will just as quickly hop to it and become characterized by showing kindness to each other.