Selfishness and Selflessness are two contrasting character traits, one negative, the other positive. Selfishness has a negative connotation while selflessness is on the positive side of societal value system. So what is selfishness? What values does it portray? Same questions we also ask for selflessness. Where do you belong… Selfish or Selfless? Our Heavenly Father and God is loving and kind, merciful and compassionate, supportive and caring beyond our ability to comprehend. Could *God* , even if remotely, ever be said to be selfish?
In reality, no one is completely selfish. But if a person’s behavioural pattern weighs more towards selfishness, then the person is said to be selfish.
A selfish person is self-centered. He believes that everything good should be about him, in him, to him, with him and for him. He has an overbearing personality trait, and with an over bloated ego about his self-worth and self-importance. The Selfish person is brutally greedy, materialistic, wicked, uncaring, and pompous, and spares no thought about the joys, feelings well-being, self improvement and self actualization of others. He believes he has exclusive monopoly of wisdom and knowledge, sees nothing good in the conduct of others. He generally hides and hoards knowledge and information that could benefit others in the self delusion that no one else has the mental capacity to perceive and comprehend.
The Selfish person could be described as a Social Deviant because his thoughts, words and actions are usually at variance with societal norms and values. He neither enjoys the company of others, nor do others enjoy his company. He lives in a world of self-imposed imprisonment in his delusion that nothing good could be seen outside of himself. He is therefore generally avoided, lonely and depressed, socially, emotionally and physically unstable, a good and common candidate of mental derangement. Indeed , the selfish Person is one of the most Miserable Persons on earth.
The *Selfless* *person* , on the hand is *self-effacing*, humble, compassionate, kind, unassuming and self-sacrificing. He sees himself as a complementary part of a team, sometimes seeing himself as less qualified than others. He believes that the good, the joy and the abundance of one, should be the good, the joy and the abundance of all. He believes in shared responsibility and sharing of God’s blessings. In his world-view, God’s endowments and blessings in time, talent and treasure, are to be kept in trust for God, and used for the joy, comfort and good of all, and for the promotion of harmony, justice, peace and egalitarianism in the society. Are there gains and rewards for a life of of selflessness and self-sacrifice?
Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa and others like them, lived sacrificial lives, in total pursuit of the happiness, freedom, emancipation, dignity and well-being of others. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ left his exalted place in heaven, suffered all forms of indignity, abuse, torture, inglorious death on a cross, all for the Salvation of man. What of Our Heavenly Father and God who sacrificed his only-begotten son for the Salvation of man? Could all these sacrifices by both God and man be for nothing?
Certainly there must be gains and rewards for a life of self-sacrifice and self-giving. These rewards and gains certainly outweigh our innate and mundane inclinations for tangible things. Yes, the gains and rewards are in the Realm of the intangible.
Femi Otedola, a Nigerian billionaire, once, in a telephone interview, confessed that his great wealth did not give him the desired happiness he wanted in life. He got the desired happiness the day he gave out wheel chairs to some physically challenged children. “The *Glow* of *Happiness* on the faces of those children as they sat on the wheel chairs gave me the greatest joy of my life “, he said, and that event completely changed his attitude to life. This account and similar ones like it, summarize the intangible benefits of a life of sacrifice and selflessness. These include :
– True Joy and Happiness
– Ecstatic Feeling of Fulfilment
– Life in total harmony with God, Self and Neighbor
– Inner peace and tranquility
– Emotional and psychological stability
And lots more.
A truly selfless person also stores up treasure in heaven where neither moths nor thrives can reach Matthew 6:19-21.
God is eminently the most selfless and self-sacrificing Being :
…Created us in His image and likeness
… Loves us so much that He sacrificed His only begotten son for our our salvation John 3:16.
In view of all these, *Could* *God* *ever* *be* _described_ as Selfish?
Many people who chose the path self-sacrifice and generosity consistently recount the emotional, pscological and other benefits that Compel them to continue, and surpass previous records.
Philosophers have coined the phrase ” *Enlightened* *Selfishness* or Enlightened Self Interest to denote those who do good for the the tangible and intangible benefits they derive from doing so. Could these people be said to be selfish? What of God… Could God, even if remotely, be said to be selfish?
Our Heavenly Father and God is loving, kind and merciful, compassionate, generous and self-sacrificing. He certainly feels happy with our happiness and joy that emanate from His goodness and mercy to us. He sacrificed His only begotten son that we may have abundant life John 3:16, and there is great joy in heaven over the Salvation of one repentant sinner. Luke 15:8-10. In consideration of the foregoing, our Heavenly Father and *God* could be said to be *selfish* in an ” *Enlightened* _Manner_ ”
God is extraordinarily good. He has blessed us individually and collectively according to our abilities. God calls on us and expects us to join Him in Acts of Enlightened Selfishness.
Whatever gifts and blessings from God are to be used for the promotion of joy, justice and peace in the society.
No one is too poor that he has nothing to offer sacrificially for others either in Talent, Time and Treasure. Some people are lonely and would be happy with your visit, some people are sad and depressed and would be happy with your Sweet and generous Smiles and words of encouragement, many children are out of school, some people are Hungary, sick and homeless because of ravaging poverty. The list continues.
Remember the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. God expects returns from the gifts and blessings from Him.
In conclusion, God blesses us individually and collectively and expects these blessings to be shared for the good of all. No one is too poor that he has nothing to offer. God calls us all to join Him in Acts of Enlightened Selfishness. The more the returns you make in promoting God’s kingdom of Justice and Peace, the more God blesses you.
May God graciously grant us that which we seek : “Justice and Peace “. *Joy* *For* One, Joy for All
…DR NWAKILE I. N. O