Get Out of Jail Free Card?
Few of us think of ourselves as regularly selfish. We don’t want to think of ourselves in that light, even though we know it’s true of humans in general and we see it in ourselves occasionally. In fact, on some level, selfishness is a healthy thing, like a self-preservation instinct, similar to the sense of pain that keeps us from burning ourselves on the stove. Yet we know that just as Jesus “emptied himself of all but love” (as the old hymn paraphrases Philippians 2), becoming more and more like Jesus means that we want to be self less , not self ish .
I ran into an instance the other day of how, at some biologically primal level, we automatically think in selfish terms as a knee-jerk reaction. Somebody said to me, “Shawn, I really don’t think you’re helping yourself by saying that.” But … that’s assuming we’re trying to "help ourselves," right? What does it look like for you to not try to “help yourself”? What does it look like to simply “entrust ourselves to him who judges justly” or to simply “commit ourselves to our faithful Creator and continue to do good”? (1Peter 2.23, 4.19) If he is solely and truly my very great and precious reward (Psalm 73), how does that play out throughout the course of a normal day in interactions with others, or in dicey, conflict situations when others are insulting or attacking us? Maybe Jesus’ posture at the end of 1Peter 2 is the unexpected “get out of jail free card” for you and me? The bizarre gateway to a chin up, shoulders high, joy and confidence that draws all of its power from Jesus’ smile?