Is It Selfish?

Proverbs 6:1-5 (NIV)

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—
and give your neighbor no rest!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

Proverbs 6:1-5 (KJV)

My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

I have read these verses over and over again, and in every different biblical translation I could find. The first time I read it, I thought it ment not to help out a neighbor in need because than your neighbor will keep coming back for more and more, until eventually they drain you of your life. Comparing this to other Scripture verses, I thought there was no way that is what it ment, since Jesus tells us over and over again to help out a neighbor in need. I pushed further and then thought maybe it could mean, don’t spend what you don’t have. When we spend what we don’t have we become slaves to our borrower. That’s not what it could mean though, because the first verse talks about helping a neighbor out of their problems, not you getting out of your own debt. So what in the world can this mean?

It’s a paradox! They are both true!

I love paradoxes because they require us to dig deeper into the bible and they require us to call upon the Lord for His wisdom and understanding.

So what does this mean? (I pray I can explain this properly) The truth is, we can not give what we don’t have. The Lord wants us to help out our neighbor, we are required after all to show love to everyone, Jesus repeats that to us many times. My question to you is, how often do you help out a neighbor and that’s the last time you hear from them? Once you help someone once, they will come back to you again and again. Hey, that is great. You are doing your job showing christian love to one another. How much is to much though? What happens when your neighbor comes to you for help everyday? Can you handle it? If you can, great! But what about your family, what about your relationship with Christ? Does it get in the way with your own personal life? It’s great to give help, but what happens when they become attached to you? When they put their faith in you, instead of Christ? At this point we are held at an impossible role of being Christ? Who can be Christ but Christ?

The point is, yes we are called to show love to one another. But don’t let it come to the point that it traps you! Free yourself from it. From the trap you have set on yourself. When you are giving all of yourself to a neighbor, how will you have time to give yourself to Christ? To your family? To your relationships? Sometimes we have to do what seems selfish, to fully serve His kingdom.

Christ comes first, family comes second, and everything else follows.

(Not going to lie, this is probably one of my hardest posts to write. I have a hard time agreeing with it fully, but deep in my heart, I believe it to be right.)

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7 thoughts on “Is It Selfish?

  1. Joshua, I think you’ve nailed this one! I have been in a situation in which I became someone’s crutch, because it was the “Christian thing to do.” I didn’t realize at the time that it was actually a hindrance. This person is not a Christian, and, in fact speaks out against God. They don’t understand His love. I wanted to show them a glimpse of God’s love, but they began to rely on me and not God. Only God can reveal Himself to someone. We can witness for Him, but we cannot try to force things. That is reserved for God alone. Thankfully, with His help, I realized this and was able to step back. I find it amazing that God revealed this to you without your ever experiencing it. God is Awesome!

    May He bless you!
    Brian

    1. I hope so, as hard as it was, it makes sense! The question is, how far can we let someone lean on us before it becomes a hindrance instead of help. We all want to show Christ’s love to others by being there for others, but we must learn to draw the line. Not because we are cold hearted, but because they need to learn to rely on God instead of us. All we can do is point the way for them, but we can’t fill the desires of their heart that to so much yearn for from us.

      It actually came to me in perfect timing. I was receiving a gentle warning about not letting others become to attached to me while helping them out through their struggles. It was only two minutes after they warned me, I opened up to the next set of Proverbs passages and this was the message.

      Thanks for the comment as always! 🙂 God Bless!
      Joshua

  2. You are just the most kind and tender-hearted person pretty much on this planet, Joshua…that is why this was hard for you to write, I am wagering. BUT–as you said both are important and both are true. There is such a thing as “enabling” others by just continually being there for them no matter what. There is also a self-centered “ayn Rand” type attitude that is pervasive among Christians too. Both are unbalanced. God gives us that balance and you, young friend, are learning it early. Good for you. Good for all of us blessed enough to know you, even in a cyber-sort-of-way. Great post.

    1. Well thank you very much! 🙂 As a Christian I do not want to be enabling others. I do not want to let them replace Christ, with me in their life. I could never amount to that, and quite frankly neither is any of us. It’s very important to be there for others, and to show Christs love, but we must not replace Christ in others lives.

      I am not familiar but what you mean by an “ayn Rand” attitude, but it sounds as if you are speaking of a cold hearted attitude. If that is the case, I do agree.

      Learning it is one thing, the next step is applying it to my life (Wisdom). There is knowledge, and then there is wisdom. Wisdom is much harder.

      Well thank you very much! Means a lot! And same to you! God Bless!
      Joshua

      1. Ayn Rand was the woman who was a very nearly fanatical capitalist in the 50s and 60s, even 70s, and ironically was much of the inspiration for Paul Ryan and many of his ideas. Although she was brilliant she was quite heartless and atheistic. If someone failed she did not care for them any longer, basically it was “every person for themself” in her mind. I think she had some points but took them to the extreme. Cold hearted is the correct term. God rest her soul and have mercy.

          1. Amen my brother…I too am a “centrist” on so many issues. The problem with walking the middle of the road is that cars keep whizzing by and hit you from BOTH sides though. Just a warning to be prepared:)

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