The disease of self-interest
"... love is the fulfilment of the law." (v.10)
Because the disease of self-interest is so difficult to recognize, it might be helpful to focus on examples of ordinary things done or said by decent people which are, nevertheless, indicative of the ease with which we slip into self-interest.
A man whose mother died just as he was due to go on holiday and was therefore obliged to stay at home until the funeral was over said to the minister who tried to comfort him: "I will miss my mother greatly ... but I've lost nearly half my holiday." In the weeks prior to my wife's death, a man came up to me and said: "How is your wife?" Before I had time to reply, he launched into a fifteen-minute explanation of how his wife had been up all night with toothache.
During the terrifying days of World War II, a retired schoolmistress living in a rural area sent a letter to someone in London saying: "If only you knew what we are going through here. Every night we hear enemy planes going over loaded with bombs. Last week one of them dropped its bombs at random and our pantry window was cracked." The person she was writing to had not known what it was to sleep in her own bed for three months -- having had to spend every night in an air raid shelter.
These illustrations are representative of the kind of thing we hear or might say ourselves almost every day. And if we did not say it, then we might think it -- and that is just as bad.
O God, deliver me, I pray, from this tendency that I have to become deeply engrossed with myself. Help me to grow in You, so that my first thought is not for myself but for others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. Why did the children of Israel complain?
2. What motivated Judas?