June 8, 2012
We were all seated on the floor in the girls’ bedroom settling in for our evening devotions with the children before tucking them in for the night when Daddy said “I have something for the girls.” As he got up to walk out of the room a sourness came over our son. His arms crossed in front of his chest. The corners of his mouth turned down and his brow furrowed. “What about me? Why don’t I get something? Why do they get something?”
This is not the first time this “fairness” doctrine of his has reared its ugly head but it is the first time I purposed to disciple it instead of chastise it. I put fairness in quotes because much like its real world counterpart the fairness only runs one way; when it benefits him or punishes his sisters. “Son, why can’t you be happy for your sisters? Daddy has gotten them something special and we should share in their excitement.” My question was met with a look of utter confusion. What? Be happy that their getting something and I’m not? What kind of crazy world do you live in? Were all thoughts conveyed by the look in his eyes. He was working himself up to quit a snip and it was really starting to get on my nerves.
We have been struggling with his selfish, self-centered, greedy, demanding, controlling spirit for most of his life. Ok, who am I kidding, ALL his life. As a baby he had to be held all the time. I got virtually no sleep for two years. He screamed from the moment you put him in a car seat until the moment you took him out. As a toddler if he felt you were not paying adequate attention to him, he would interject himself into whatever you were doing. Driving became an exercise in guess-what-son-wants-now as he pointed out the window and grunted.
But I digress.
“Son, look at me.” Yes grudgingly meet mine. “This attitude of yours is not right. Christ wants us to put others before ourselves. He calls us to esteem others higher than ourselves. That includes your sisters. You should want your sisters to be happy and receive blessings. You should rejoice is their good fortune. You should share in their excitement. Why would you want to ruin this moment for them?”
Unfortunately, he was not able to respond because Daddy was back with bag in hand. As he pulled two pairs of swimming goggles from the bag you could see the joy enter my son. You see, he already had a pair of goggles and has been sharing them with his sisters for over a year. I wonder if his joy over their gift wasn’t motivated by his selfish desire to not share his stuff? I’m choosing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
The moment passed quickly but I pray the seed was planted and the next time either or both of his sisters receives a blessing he will genuinely be happy for them.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." – Luke 6:38
"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." – Romans 12:15
SELF'ISH, a. Regarding one's own interest chiefly or soley; influenced in actions by a view to private advantage.
UNSELF'ISH, a. Not selfish; not unduly attached to one's own interest.