Spiritually Speaking… Selfish Versus Selfless, Know the Difference

By James Washington
Publisher of the Dallas Weekly
NNPA Newswire Contributor

There a lot of things in our Christian belief system that require a leap of faith, including faith itself. The whole notion of blessings is like that. I think I’m beginning to understand blessings a little more clearly from a spiritual perspective.

Haven’t we all been taught at one time or another to give rather than receive?

Christian or not, kindness and goodwill are thought to be wonderful attributes of all people. Forgiveness and mercy are considered staples of the Christian diet. The result, we believe, in life now and in the next is God gives rewards for a life spent giving with no hidden expectation of receiving in return.

Now all that sounds good until, somewhere in your world, life happens.

Unfortunately, at a very early age we learn that life is cruel, unpredictable and the only religious factoid we experience is that our kindness is generally taken as weakness and our generosity viewed as foolish. Life and the people in it will use you if you allow it.

Pain often comes from an attempt to help somebody who doesn’t give a damn about you. It is the reason many a good person goes bad. People will protect themselves against this kind of personal anguish. We learn how to survive in spite of disappointment.

We all eventually learn how to navigate a world in which we’ve come to believe nice guys do finish last, takers succeed and cheaters, well, they cheat.

Now, here comes scripture with the edict that giving is always better than receiving. As a matter of fact, it is a Christian prerequisite. I thought about this and came to the following conclusions: You don’t know what kind of mother you’ll be until you have children. You don’t know what kind of friend you’ll be until you become one. You cannot know the depth of your ability to love someone until you are head over heels caught up in it.

The point is you can’t really know yourself as a human being until you share your life with others, without fear, without restrictions, without conditions. It’s that being a blessing thing.

For many, including me, this is tough duty because life is so cruel. However, only by being a friend can you know true friendship. Only by giving love unconditionally can you understand unconditional love. Only by being a blessing can you know being blessed. It doesn’t appear to work any other way.

If you go through life just existing with a self-imposed set of criteria, then guess what? That’s what you’ll get in return; love and friendship with strings attached.

You can’t expect your prayers to be answered if your prayer life starts and stops with “I.” I believe you block countless blessings if your prayers include no one but you and they echo the trials and tribulations of your life only.

This is evident by knowing the difference between praying in faith or praying out of fear. God really shouldn’t have to ask what you have done for Him lately; when He asks so little of you.

Just act like you know who He is and who you are in relation to Him. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” John 12:13.

Like I said, being a blessing is the only road to being blessed. Now take a look at the nonsense of this world. It should give you clarity.

May you be a blessing to someone, and may God bless and keep you always.

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