Radical Humility & Creating Narcissists
Today I was in Philippians 2 where Paul encourages us to consider others as more important than ourselves and it made me realize how much of a struggle this is for most of us.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.
We would all agree we should put others before ourselves but how often do we? A simple look at where I spend my time and money will quickly show where my heart is on this matter. We may say, “I’ve got to put food on the table” but is that really what we mean? At times, when I’ve said it, I often mean I want my family to be comfortable. Early in my Christian walk, I used it as an excuse to keep more for my family. “I’ve got to take care of my family” I thought as I watched my brother in Christ struggle financially and did nothing to help even though I had the means to do so. That lesson has stuck with me because I don’t want to feel the heartache of quenching the Spirit as I did on that occasion.
Could it be that this radical humility God calls us to includes our family sacrificing for others? If we never do, what are we teaching our kids? Are we perpetuating the natural narcissism our kids seem to struggle with? Have we ever put someone else’s kids before our kids? Imagine how radical it would be if on our kid’s birthday, they gave the gift. What a horrifying thought. There would be a mutiny. Maybe we let others eat before our family and we tell our kids we are putting others first. Maybe we skip a meal to give the money to others so they can eat.
I recall a pastor saying he’d rather have his son in the middle of Afghanistan with bullets flying by his head but in God’s will rather than him sitting at home safely on the couch outside of God’s will. Is there ever a time we should put our kids in danger? This is a really hard question because as a dad my immediate thought is absolutely not. Not that we want to be foolish about our kid’s safety because we are their protectors, but I don’t remember following Jesus as being safe. Good, but not safe.
Later in Philippians 2 it shows that Jesus is our example. He gave up the comforts of Heaven to have his creation torture and murder him. Jesus agreed to be separated from the Father as our sin and shame was placed upon him. He agreed to feel the discomforts of being human and experience the heartache and loss we feel so we could relate to him. He was tempted and tired and broken. He gave up the riches of Heaven to live in poverty. He lived for others and certainly didn’t live a safe or comfortable life. I’m praying that as we become more like Him, we do the same.