One of my all-time favorite books is “Homemaking” by J.R. Miller. In it, he addresses each member of the family and their particular role. It is definitely a must-read! There are many quotes worth taking out and posting around my house, which I have done at different times. One in particular will probably always remain on some wall of my house in which I can regularly read it:
“Where selfishness prevails there can be no real happiness.
Indeed there is no deep, true and holy love where selfishness rules.
As love grows, selfishness dies out in the heart. Love is always ready to deny itself,
to give, to sacrifice, just in the measure of its sincerity and intensity.
Perfect love is perfect self-forgetfulness.
Hence, where there is love in a home, unselfishness is the law.
Each forgets self and lives for the others. But when there is selfishness it mars the joy.
One selfish soul will destroy the sweetness of life in any home.
It is like an ugly thornbush in the midst of a garden of flowers” p 98.
I have been very aware of selfishness in my heart since our move a few weeks ago. I have seen it manifested in several ways and it has not been pretty. It affects everyone in my family and does not bless them!
I think Miller does an excellent job of describing what selfishness looks like, true to its Biblical description. While there are many, two specific Bible passages come to mind that treat the subject of selfishness:
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Philippians 2:3-5: Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
I am seeking to kill my selfish desires. It is not easy. What is easy is to think that I’m entitled to certain “rights” or to get irritated when something doesn’t go my way. Without fail, I end up miserable (and so do my family members!). I don’t want to live that way. So, like Paul, I am saying, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me” (Philippians 1:21-22).
Not only do I want to kill selfishness because it does not bless my family and is the opposite of what Scripture requires of me, it is also not a characteristic I want to model for my children. I want to model to them a life of humility and servanthood. I want these traits to be manifested in them one day. Of course, apart from the Holy Spirit, it won’t happen, but it begins with me!
Lots can be said on the subject, but suffice it to say, on many fronts, “One selfish soul will destroy the sweetness of life in any home.” May we as wives and mothers strive to be servants, in the likeness of Christ, so that we may serve our husbands well and raise up godly children!