I finally began reading "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis this week. I was reminded by my pastor, Matt Nelson, in a sermon illustration how much I wanted to read it. I started Monday and I love it! Lewis' thoughts and insights into human thought and behavior are amazing. One concept that I came across yesterday just about blew my mind . . . the concept of unselfishness vs. charity in our relationships.
We believe that it is a virtue to be unselfish. Of course, it is. Much better to be unselfish than selfish. But have we considered the step above unselfishness? To be unselfish - with our spouse or kids or co-workers, whomever - is a good step, but to be unselfish at it's root is still . . . well, it's still kind of selfish. It's because a decision to be unselfish is still about me. I decide to suck it up and let someone off the hook or do for someone else because I should be unselfish. If I do that, it's still about me.
The higher level here is charity. The act in question may still be the same - ie. doing the dishes even though I'm tired, playing with my kids when all I want to do is have a minute to myself, whatever - but those acts done out of charity for that person takes all the focus off me and puts it all one them. I can do those dishes because I don't want to be a jerk (I call that unselfish, but it's still about me and thus still selfish) or I can do those dishes because I love my wife and it would bless her and free up a half-hour for her to take a walk outside and decompress from a long day with the kids on summer vacation. See the difference?
It's love. It's loving my neighbor as I love myself. It's a deep concept and I've only scratched the surface, but think about it today. Love to know what your take on it is.