"Snippets" from David

Selfishness: A Cancer of Human Attitudes and Emotions

Cancer is a horrible disease! It takes so many forms. It attacks in so many places in one's body. Initially it is so silent--it needs to be detected before it makes its presence known.

A basic oversimplification: cancer is merely good body cells gone bad. Cells which had the power to contribute to the life of the body become cells that attack the life of a body. Left alone, cancer cells destroy the life of the body that sustains them!

Selfishness is a cancer of human emotions and attitudes that destroys the person who sustains the selfishness. It takes many forms. It attacks in many places within the person's relationships and interactions. Often the selfish person does not notice his or her selfishness until it becomes obviously destructive in horrible, unacceptable ways. Often, when selfishness becomes noticeable to the host person, it is too late. The damage is irreversible.

A classic example of a totally selfish person is Cain. He held God's acceptance of Abel's sacrifice responsible for God's rejection of his sacrifice. "If it had not been for Abel, my sacrifice would have been fine." His imagined injustice of the situation made him angry. He was depressed because he felt unnecessarily rejected. Consider Genesis 4:4,5. Not even God could redirect Cain's perspective! (Genesis 4:6, 7) Cain's solution: destroy the person "I know is to blame" (Genesis 4:8).

Please note Cain's total preoccupation with Cain. In spite of numerous opportunities, never did Cain express regret for his murder of his brother. He just continued his journey into totally self-absorption! When God asked him, "Where is Abel?" (Genesis 4:9), Cain knew where Abel was (so did God). What a golden opportunity for repentance! What an appropriate moment for Cain to regretfully say, "What have I done to my own brother? What have I done as I permitted my anger and depression to rule me? " What a marvelous time to begin repentance by accepting personal responsibility!

Not Cain! Unrepentant Cain responded, "How should I know? Abel is not my responsibility!"

God asked, "What have you done?" and pronounced upon Cain the consequences of his attitudes and act (Genesis 4:9-12). Note Cain was only concerned about Cain. "Forget Abel! My punishment is too severe! (Genesis 4:9) As I wander, someone will find me and kill me!" (Genesis 4:14)

Though God spared Cain's life and protected Cain from attack, Cain wanted nothing to do with God. He "went out from the presence of the Lord" (Genesis 4:16). Never did he perceive God's kindness! He was only concerned about himself and his self-perceived sense of injustice in the certainty he was not to blame for his actions.

Cain's worst enemy was Cain! Selfishness possessed and destroyed him! It determined his basic perception in life, his attitude toward God and his brother, his emotions, his motivations, and his acts.

Wisdom includes the personal ability and willingness to accept responsibility by learning from mistakes rather than running from responsibility by blaming others for personal decisions and actions.

Please, always be willing to distinguish between the pain of a mistake and a selfish preoccupation with escaping personal responsibility by blaming those who are not responsible.


26 May, 2005
David Chadwell

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