Sometimes, this selfishness is manifested in them claiming “their” Legos. Sometimes it’s playing 4 Square at the after school programming, and insisting that they weren’t out. Sometimes it’s not getting to play the game or watch the movie they want.
It’s about a focus on and worship of self.
A few weeks ago, I read through the “Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:2-12) to my kids. We talked about this passage, and the entire Sermon on the Mount, and I explained that you could think of Jesus' words in a couple of wrong ways:
- A list of rules from Jesus.
- An admirable message from Jesus, with no challenging application. (See these thoughts about the Sermon on the Mount.)
Why is this a big deal? Because we have a choice of what reward we will have. My child can choose his short-term reward (getting his way), or he can choose to expect God’s eternal reward. Which reward they get is up to them, as we meditate on these challenging words from Jesus in this Sermon:
- verse 3: He can strive for his own meager "wealth," or focus on God's kingdom and glory
- verse 4: He can try to comfort himself when life goes bad, or seek the arms of Jesus
- verse 5: He can try to enforce his way and defend himself, or he can let others win and trust that God will give him an inheritance
- verse 6: He can be self-righteous and empty, or be satisfied with God's righteousness through Jesus
- verse 7: He can seek vengeance, or give mercy (just as God has been merciful with him)
- verse 8: He give in to sin and selfishness, or desire to see God
- verse 9: He can fight for his own "rights," or bring about peace among God's people
- verse 10-11: He can sulk when he is mistreated, or remember that God will make everything right in the end
For my kids, they need to learn to put others first, to be willing to lose out. They need to be more concerned about peace with others, instead of arguing about who is right, or who hit the ball out of bounds.
They need to remember the grace and love of Jesus, and let that motivate and empower them to show the same grace and love to others.
Even more, they don't need to do these things merely because "it's the right thing to do." They need to follow in the example of Jesus, that
"Though He was in the form of God, He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant . . . " (Philippians 2:6-7).
- Teaching Stewardship: Principles and the Gospel
- "It's Not Fair!"
- How Can I Teach My Child to Be Generous?
**image courtesy of Kimeone via sxc.hu