Unselfishness Vs Love: The Wrong Gospel of Sacrifices, Pain and Cross!
The preacher of sacrifice and pain and carrying the cross believes that by inflicting pain on himself and living in lack, despair and harsh conditions, he is somehow paying God for his sins and buying His sympathy or forgiveness. That is the wrong message.
The self sacrifice and pain itself is a wastage if through it we don't become better or have good fruits. In other words, our God is not moved by the sacrifice, pain, fasting, or any kind of self lack per se but He is moved by what we become through such pain.
C. S Lewis had highlighted about this when he said that modern Christians may be tempted to put the word 'unselfishness' in the same box with the word 'love' but, as warned by Lewis, that would be a mistake.
The believer and preacher of unselfishness believes that his own lack (mark the words, "his own lack") is the one that proves his devotion to God. This is a very big mistake because his lack does not benefit anyone (not himself and not anybody else). But the preacher of love believes that his lack should be valuable only when it ends up in 'having of another'
In the above concept, the word unselfishness is actually negative and has no value but the word love is positive and carries a significant meaning and indeed changes lives.
Carry your cross and follow meWhen we look at the verses in the Bible that talk of sacrifice and carrying of the cross, Jesus does not ask us to just carry the cross, but He always adds something next, something like "carry your cross and follow me" (check Matthew 19:21). In other words, carrying the cross is not enough to convince Him (after all the Bible says His cross was the biggest of all ours) but following Him. In other words, "I want kindness more than I want your animal sacrifices" (Matthew 12:7).
Where does the above apply?While some people have gone extremes teaching happiness, pleasure, partying and all forms of excitement and pillow living as signs and guarantees of God's presence and blessings, others go extra miles preaching the value of sacrifices, pain, living in lack and painful situations, not partying or having fun, no pleasures or celebrations and all forms of unselfishness and self denial as true worship and signs that someone is with God. Wrong gospel too.
These are the people who force people into fasting for more days than their bodies can handle as a way of convincing God to answer prayers, ask people to give in their savings and risk going broke or staying with no cloth or any sort of pleasure as measures of their devotion to God or ask Christians to do the most hurtful and challenging tasks as challenges to God and the world to show how far they can go to reveal their devotion.
While the above sacrifices are not bad, they are not anything meaningful to God, unless through them or during them, we become something much better than we were before. In other words, God is pleased with the fruits we bear, the people we become through the pain and sacrifice and not necessarily the heaviness or greatness of the suffering or pain we have encountered.
Note: You Cannot understand this topic without visiting this great link; How Loving Your Wife Is A service To Self! Unselfishness Versus Love
For more on this topic, it shall be in the book, The Christian Quest Volume 2. God bless you.
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