Recently, we were at a church in the area where we grew up. As young converts, we attended special meetings and picnics between this church and our church. It was during this time when we met a fine young man named Joe. Joe had recently gotten saved, and his zeal for the Lord was boundless. It was evident in his humble attitude, his calm manner of living, and his warm smile.
As we got to know Joe, we found in him a fine example of the grace of the Lord. He grew in the Lord to be an exemplary Christian, both in word and deed. Around this time, another young lady in the area got saved from a wicked lifestyle, bringing with her a young daughter. In the process of time, God led these two young people together. My husband and I had the supreme honor of being able to sing at their wedding.
I mentioned that to Joe that morning. It was then that I saw a shadow pass his face. “Ah, those were in happier days,” he said wistfully, and looked away. Throughout the morning I kept my eye out for his sweet wife. Isn’t she here? I wondered. So after church at an opportune moment, I asked the Pastor’s wife, and what followed was one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard.
It was now almost 20 years later, and her little girl had grown up into a beautiful young lady. She was engaged to marry a young man in the church as soon as she graduated from college. But something went terribly wrong. During the course of events, while the daughter was away at college, her mother began a relationship with her fiancé! And so it happened that she stole her daughter’s fiancé, ruined her own family, and completely tore the hearts of the fiance’s parents!
I have been shocked almost speechless all day because of this woman’s selfish acts. I knew her well – how could she do this?? I can only come up with one conclusion: selfishness! And so, I began thinking of the one thing a child cannot bear: a selfish mother.
When we think of motherhood, we think, and rightly so, of the embodiment of self-sacrifice. It is through becoming a mother that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death to bring forth the new life. We give everything we have and everything we are, to our children. We give them food, money, and clothes. We give them our names, our likeness, and our personality traits. We even give them time, love, and security.
But it is not so with all mothers. Nor is it so with us all the time. How could this mother ruin her daughter’s life? Why did she do it? She did it because she had her own desires to satisfy!
But this didn’t happen all at once. First there is a thought pattern of selfishness, then an action pattern, a group of habits. At first they are not too obviously selfish, but they are nonetheless. But selfish thoughts don’t stop on their own. Our natural inclinations take us down fast. It becomes a circular pattern, circling ever lower. Before you know it, everyone is shocked that “such a nice person” could do “such a thing as that!.”
Selfcenteredness on the part of a parent is something that is very difficult for a child to understand, let alone handle. It is too difficult for a young one to understand that Mommy wants to do her own thing and doesn’t want to “be bothered” by the little stories or songs.
Look for selfish signs in your own life. Are they there? You’ll find them lurking in the hidden places of your heart. For your family’s sake, repent! For God’s sake, repent! And if for no other reason, for your own sake, repent! Maybe God will restore to us the years that sin has taken, and the joy and peace that selfish thoughts and actions have stolen. Revival begins with us.