The Tune of Self-Interest
by Charles R. Swindoll
After Adam and Eve disobeyed God for the first time—and sin entered the world—it didn't take long for them to begin looking out for number one. Enter self-interest:
They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)
Adam didn't assist Eve. She really wasn't concerned about him either. Both got busy and whipped up a self-made cover-up. And (can you believe it?) they attempted to hide from the Lord God. Of course, you can believe it! To this day it's humankind's favorite game . . . even though we lose every time we play it.
Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." (3:9–10)
As God probed deeper, Adam and Eve became increasingly more defensive. They hurled accusations at each other and then at God.
The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me . . ." (3:12, emphasis added).
The woman said, "The serpent . . ." (3:13).
The pattern hasn't changed, has it? Since the original scene, the history of humanity is smeared with ugly marks of selfishness. Unwilling to be authentic, we hide, we deny, we lie, we run, we escape. Anything but the whole truth! We ridicule, we dominate, we criticize. We cut a person to ribbons with our words. And then we develop ways to keep from admitting it. Here are a few:
"I'm not dogmatic; I'm just sure of myself."
"I'm not judging; I'm discerning."
"I'm not argumentative; I'm simply trying to prove a point."
"I'm not stubborn, just confident!"
All this comes pouring out of our mouths with hardly a second thought. And in case you live under the delusion that we are mild-mannered and gracious in getting our way, watch what happens in heavy traffic . . . or at the checkout stand in the local grocery store. I mean, we go for the jugular! All to the tune of self-interest.
Indeed, this should not be.
Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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