Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Many people don’t recognize when they are being selfish. I suspect that this is the case because “putting me first” has simply become a habit. It’s second nature.
Here are some signs that selfishness has overtaken us.
Many look for every opportunity to be the center of attention. We spend too little time listening and too much time talking.
We long to control everything. And we get nervous or anxious or angry or pouty when that control is taken away.
Many are unable to compromise. It has to be my way. Period. We hear constructive criticism as a personal attack on our character.
We become moody when others have the spotlight. We have a difficult time forgiving. And we are often unwilling to share with others.
These selfish traits result in a lack of awareness that there are others around who are impacted by our behaviors.
Without realizing it, living this way pushes others away. It creates hurt and resentment. It alienates and isolates us.
We become like the rich man in the parable and we don’t even notice. So what’s the problem with the rich man? It’s certainly not his wealth.
And it’s not even that he is unaware. He is aware of Lazarus. He knows who Lazarus is. He calls him by his name.
The problem is that he doesn’t care. And that’s the real tragedy. The rich man cannot see beyond himself.
He has no love of neighbor. He has no care, no concern, no compassion, no mercy. There is only selfishness and self centeredness. He thinks only of himself and his brothers.
We cannot be like him. Jesus challenges us to move beyond our selfish ways. That’s why we need a remedy for our selfish behaviors. Otherwise, we could end up just like the rich man, lost in our own eternal punishment.
Truly selfish people find it difficult to consider the possibility that they are selfish.
So that’s where we have to start, with awareness. But the rich man is aware. He knows Lazarus is there. That’s not enough. It’s just a place to start.
We have to be able to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes. Now that’s easier said than done. To do that we have to recognize the other’s feelings and needs and desires.
Is it really necessary for me to make someone feel terrible just so that I can get what I want, just so that I can have my way?
Having put ourselves in the shoes of others we could begin to learn to show interest in others’ lives. We could learn to share. We could stop talking about ourselves and start listening to others.
We could show interest. We could volunteer. We could say please and thank you. We could compromise. We could show gratitude.
Many people don’t recognize when they are being selfish. And that’s no way to live. That’s like saying, “I’m just like the rich man in Jesus’ parable and it’s okay.” But it’s not okay, because none of us wants to be where the rich man is now.