News & Notes

Laying Aside Our Preferences

Lay Aside the Weight of Selfish Preferences

written by Jon Bloom, Desiring God Ministries

Love does not insist on its own way (1 Corinthians 13:5). What a beautiful concept to contemplate. Like many expressions of biblical love, this one is heartwarming and inspiring to read about or observe, at least from a distance.

Unfortunately, in the moment we’re called upon to exercise this kind of love, it often doesn’t appear or feel very lovely; it appears confusing and feels frustrating. It feels like self-denial.

Me and Mine

Wanting our own way is woven into the fabric of our fallen nature. Since the fall, it has been our default orientation. We can see this, even from our earliest days, whenever our way is crossed. We insist in the cradle and then as toddlers; we insist on the playground and then as over-confident teens; we insist in the church and the workplace; we insist as parents of toddlers and then as stubborn parents of over-confident teens; we insist as parents of adult children, and then as retirees, and then as nursing-home residents. We are disturbingly and persistently selfish.

Our selfishness is a master of disguise, wearing a thousand masks to cover its motives. Our selfishness is a wordsmith — bending, shaping, and sometimes twisting rationales for why our preferences are reasonable and right and even righteous (and, of course, best). Our selfishness is an attorney, trained from childhood in both defense and prosecution, bent on persuading judge and jury on behalf of its sole client.

Insisting on our own way is at the heart of most of our conflict, and at the bottom of almost all of the ways humans abuse others. This lack of love is a source of much human heartache and suffering.

So why do we find it so difficult to stop insisting on our own way?

Hard to Be Humble

First, it’s a miracle for an inherently proud person — one whose natural selfishness is pathological in nature and infects all areas of life — to become truly humble.

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