Society Lie #3 - It's Selfish to Think about your Happiness
For this week's society lie, I will state it and then expand on it. The lie is that it is SELFISH to think about your own happiness.
Yes, indeed, it is a very common lie, and I have heard it from about a dozen different directions and associations. The story goes that it is CHRISTIAN to sacrifice your self for others, and thinking of your own happiness is a selfish thought. Yup....that was the reason I was wrong in the minds of many to leave a bad marriage to a selfish and manipulative B-tch. It wasn't HER fault for being that way...it was my selfishness in leaving. The same was said about my desire to stop associating with "family" that were not even friendly but were using me to their own ends without concern for me. Again, it wasn't THEIR fault for doing that...no, it was my FAULT for ending their permission to use me, which is exactly what could be said of the workplaces that attempted the same manipulation. To hear them put it, they were just being who they are, and it was my fault for not letting them use me to their own ends.
Of course, when it comes from church people, this takes on the "Christian" aspect that I mentioned, above. After all, Christ suffered on a cross, so they say we should suffer, as well. The logical failure in that argument that they don't want to consider is that Christ suffered FOR A REASON... as punishment of sins, while they would have you suffer so that abusers don't get their panties in a ruffle. I think that a good response to this, actually, comes from George Whitefield, the evangelist known for the Great Awakening in America and personal friend of Benjamin Franklin.... (yeah, that seminary education of mine does come in handy)...
"Sirs, what think you? Suppose I was to come and tell you that you must intercede with saints, for them to intercede with God for you; would you not say, I was justly reputed a papist missionary by some, and deservedly thrust out of thy synagogues by others? I suppose you would. And why? Because, you would say, the intercession of Jesus Christ was sufficient of itself, without the intercession of saints, and that it was blasphemous to join theirs with his, as though he was sufficient.
Suppose I went a little more round about, and told you that the death of Christ was not sufficient, without our death being added to it; that you must die as well as Christ, join your death with his, and then it would be sufficient. Might you not then, with a holy indignation, throw dust in the air, and justly call me a “setter forth of strange doctrines?” And how then, if it be not only absurd, but blasphemous to join the intercession of saints with the intercession of Christ, as though his intercession was not sufficient; or our death with the death of Christ, as though his death was not sufficient: judge ye, if it be not equally absurd, equally blasphemous, to join our obedience, either wholly or in part, with the obedience of Christ, as if that was not sufficient. And if so, what absurdities will follow the denying that the Lord, both as to his active and passive obedience, is our righteousness?"
Basically, he was mocking those that believed that Christ's death was not sufficient for our sins but that it must be joined by holiness, as well....sadly, this has resumed popularity since Whitefield put it in its place 200 years ago, and there are MANY church people that seem more fixed on the law of God than His grace. But, getting to the point.
The point is...Christ didn't die so that we could also die, as our deaths would accomplish nothing. In fact, he died SO THAT we would not have to, and to suggest that mankind must suffer as Christ is...in fact...to deny that Christ's death was a substitution for our own.
Imagine for a moment that your child was facing a bully at school...or...let's make it direct to the point. Your daughter calls you up and tells you that her new husband is beating her. What do you tell her is the "christian" thing to do... grin and bear it or leave? I can't imagine any parent suggesting the first choice if they love their child, and God...is...love.
So, then, would GOD rather you be happy, since he died for your happiness, or would he rather be wanting you to suffer? Indeed, a true test for ANYONE in your life is exactly this...
ARE THEY HAPPY FOR YOUR HAPPINESS? I mean....anyone that loves another wants that person to be happy, and they..themselves...draw happiness in seeing the smile of the one they love. Therefore, and to get to the point, finally, when you tell someone what you want to do or what would make you happy...whether that be a job or a location or ....indeed... a sexual choice told to a parent by a child, someone that LOVES that person will be happy that they have found something to make them happy, while someone whose love was only a mask for control will be upset at losing control.
So, no...it is not selfish to think about yourself. It is just SELF. And, you should think about your self. There is a whole litany of psychological terms reinforcing this... self-respect, self-love, self-worth, self-esteem, and none of it is contrary to the love of a God that made us and died so we can look happily in the mirror and smile.