It's out there!
If you're not careful, you may be in for it too ( even if you ARE careful ), but there is no doubt, unless you live the life of a totally separated hermit, you're going to run into it ( of course, even if you DO separate yourself from everyone and everything, you'll hafta deal with a different sort ); as the song goes, 'Everybody Hurts ( Sometimes )'!
You can't get away from it; it's gonna get you! Hurting, unless you have the ability to stifle all your feelings, is inevitable! The problem is called the human condition. We humans, though we have great capacity for kindness and compassion ( empathy ), also have a capacity ( maybe even more in this case ) for selfishness!
Selfishness is the cause of, if not at the very base of, much of the hurt in this world. A marriage partner wants 'this' out of the marriage, but the other partner wants 'that'. Unless this problem is worked out to the satisfaction of all involved, this often ends in divorce, to varying degrees of nastiness, not that it must needs end in divorce to cause pain! When it does end in divorce, however, it has a detrimental ( emphasis on 'mental' ) effect, both on the divorcees and, if there are children involved, on the children!
Selfishness also has an effect on our everyday lives, even if we are not married, but with much the same effect as on a marriage. Examples of this have even eked into our religious life. Even among Christian brothers, 'falling-outs' often happen because one believes that something is or should be this way, and the other believes they are or are not that way, but should be or are the other way. There ARE certain clear truths, and I'm not saying that we should not uphold these at all costs, but too often, brothers are willing to separate ( selfishly ) over matters of hermeneutics ( interpretation ) and semantics ( wording )!
We all, and some hide this better than others, want things OUR way, and if ( when ) we don't get things our way, we tend to get bent out of shape, and more often or not, this leads to someone getting hurt, emotionally ( spiritually ), or physically. Yes, believe it or not, this condition often leads to physical pain! Even if a person has only suffered emotional pain, it often leads to physical pain because of stress on the body. I can relate to this!
'Okay, so selfishness causes pain, not only to the ones who are selfish, but to those who suffer from their selfishness; what can we do?' 'You've admitted that it's a human condittion, and we ARE human, after all!'
Well; the simplest answer is, of course, 'stop being selfish!' Easier said than done, I know, but it can be done; not perfectly, of course ( 'we ARE human' ), but with the help of the Holy Spirit of God; we can squelch those feelings of selfishness! The answers to our problem are all right there in the Revelation of His Word!
Most famous, probably, is the apostle Paul's biblical injunctiopn in Philippians 2:3 & 4;
'[ Let ] nothing [ be done ] through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.'
Think you can handle that?! If we were able to put this into practice, it would sure go a long way towards taming our own lusts!
The problem in society today is that we are taught, even encouraged to look out for 'number one' ( ourselves-'who's going to if we don't? ) and to ( selfishly? ) pursue our own interests, even if it means stepping on or over others to get to the top! This only heightens our innate ( human ) desire for selfish conquest! I won't get into it much here, but this is something I can relate to, and I'm sure that most of my readers can. This takes place, most notably, as we've seen, in that world of hurt called divorce, and related to this, but hopefully less noticeably, in the marriage chambers, or the bed. ( Use your imagination; YOU ALL know what I'm talking about! )
It's not easy, believe me, I know! It's a lot easier said than done, but it can be done!
Like love and many other verbs, being selfish is a choice. Yes; I know with all that garbage about the human condition and all that, I seem to be contradicting my own report, but really. I'm not! We ALL have a choice whether to do this or that, to act contrary to ( in spite of ) our feelings. Yes, it is often difficult, even with the Holy Spirit, to stifle those selfish feelings, but if we are to 'heal the hurt', starting with ourselves, 'stifle' them we must!
Just like with acting unselfishly; it's not gonna be easy either, to 'heal the hurt'! This society is so inundated, overwhelmed, you might say, that with all the hurt that is just one hurt piled upon another, ever since human beings came into existence; it will be a very long journey to right the wrongs that have been committed, to 'heal the hurt' that has been going on since the beginning of Creation!
This may seem like a daunting task ( it is ), and it may seem that we have such a short time, and as individuals, this is true; we DO have but a moment, but as the People of God, the Body of Christ; we have all the time in the world: we have eternity!
Let's get started!
Charles Haddon Shank