“Don’t make time for people who don’t make time for you.”
“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
But do these ideas fit in to the Christian worldview?
I want to say, ‘No, they do not.’
As Christians we look to Jesus as our model for how to carry out our lives on earth. When we examine his earthly ministry we do not see him “looking out for #1.” Rather, we discover that he was always making other people his priority, even to the point of death.
Early on in his ministry Jesus asked several individuals who he healed to remain silent about what he had done. While this was a form of self-preservation, his intention was a sacrificial one. Jesus was out to complete a task: it was his goal to demonstrate his divinity and ultimately to pay the price for humankind. There was much to do before his death on the cross; it’s believed that this is why he requested his work be kept on the down low.
While Jesus doesn’t want us to find ourselves in abusive relationships (we need to discern when certain one should be cut off or the dynamic shifted), he does want us to reject the Western ideology of me-ism. Me-ism or egotism, is a focus on, or obsession with oneself. It lends the idea that one should seek self-preservation above all else.
But in Scripture we see that most of the people Jesus fed and healed did not know him personally and they did not return the favors he gave. I would imagine, there were some who simply viewed him as a solution to their problem and not as their Savior to be served and loved.
Jesus’ life is the ultimate example for Christian living. The sacrificial love he calls us to is what makes the Christian worldview attractive.
It’s hard to be turned off by individuals who feed and clothe the poor and accept the outcasts. In fact, it’s when Christians begin to practice the me-ism our culture teaches that they start being called hypocrites. Non-believers want to know, where’s the sacrificial service, acceptance, and love that Christianity promotes?
We should remember, as Sheldon Vanauken pointed out, when Christians model Christ’s love, “the best argument for Christianity is Christians,” but, “the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians–when they are sombre and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive.”
Let’s love our neighbors as ourselves, and remember it is more blessed to give than to receive.