Have you ever seen those t-shirts that say, “It’s all about me”? Or maybe you’ve heard the song by Chelsea Staub by the same title from the recent movie “Bratz”?
What thoughts or emotions come to mind when you hear those words?
Me? I cringe. It sends needles down my spin like fingers nails on a chalkboard. While the clothing apparel may be attractive and the song catchy, the message it conveys is a total lie. “How?” you ask. Well, read on because that is the question I hope to answer. Ready to get started? Great, let’s go!
Aaron came into my office looking a bit forlorn. I greeted him with a handshake and a smile and invited him to sit in the recliner. “What’s on your mind?” I asked easing into my chair across from him. That question began the unfolding of a long, heartbreaking story of his father’s infidelity. For months now Aaron had sensed that things between his mother and father were not going well. At home the atmosphere was frequently iced-over. But he had no idea as to the source of the marital strain. There had been other similar moments so this current situation was not uncommon. Aaron and his younger sister where unaware of the evidence—a separate email account, love notes, hotel receipts—slowly trickling in of a “secret” affair, which his mother carefully collected and guarded from her children.
It all came to a head one evening, however. His mother finally confronted the situation. Conflict ensued. Words exchanged. Doors slammed. To make a long story short, Aaron’s dad ended up moving off base where he rented a separate apartment. He finally admitted to having a sexual relationship with a co-worker at the office. She also was experiencing her own marital troubles. All this was the reason for Aaron’s visit to my office. He had no one else to talk to, to share his burden with.
Wow! Talk about a heavy load! No wonder he was looking so down when he came into my office. After that initial conversation, Aaron and I continued to visit regularly. As the weeks went by he remained in touch with his dad, but the broken trust obviously impacted Aaron’s relationship with his father. Their conversations were understandably awkward. Yet, Aaron handled the situation with maturity. He knew that the choices his father had made were unwise and opposed to God’s standard of purity. He even mustered the courage to boldly confront his dad with God’s truth. Rather than taking his son’s words to heart, his dad became defiant and defensive. Indeed, this was not the first time Aaron’s father found the embrace of another woman. It had happened many years earlier. But that time was only a one-night stand and his parents were able to work through their issues.
Even though Aaron’s dad probably never wore the “Its all about me” t-shirt or never listened to Chelsea Shaub’s song, his actions more than indicate that he had bought the lie. Did you know that, if you watch people long enough, they will tell you everything they believe? That’s right! Because actions speak louder than words. We could also put it this way: we cannot help but live our beliefs. This father’s actions loudly proclaimed that he believed life was all about him. It was HIS happiness, HIS pleasure, HIS emotional needs, HIS satisfaction that mattered most. Oh, how I wish he could have seen the emotional train-wreck he caused his wife and kids! It broke my heart. It really did. Like I said earlier: finger nails on a chalkboard. There is a word for choices like his. It’s called selfishness; it’s called sin, and sin always destroys.
Unfortunately, in military families this scenario is all too familiar, all too common. In fact, history is full of such tragedies. The Bible even records some of them. In the next section, we’re going to take a look at one man whose wondering eye and idleness led him into a heap of trouble. Through his poor example, like the one here, we will see the absurdity of living life with the “It’s all about me” motif.
This story is about King David, one of Israel’s greatest kings, and Bathsheba, the wife of one his Mighty Men. As you read, pay attention to all the times David’s choices reflect the “it’s all about me” mentality.
Scripture: 2 Samuel 11:1–27
- Going back to Aaron’s story above, do know of families who have had a similar experience? If so, how did it impact them? Were the immediate results helpful or hurtful?
- When you read the story of David and Bathsheba, which character in that passage do you find yourself identifying most with: David, Bathsheba, Uriah, or the man who tried to warn David. Why?
- In what ways have you bought into the idea that life is all about you?
- What do you think? Is this a good outlook to have in life? Why or why not?
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I am sorry for all the selfish choices I make. Help me, in your grace and mercy and by your Holy Spirit, to think of myself less and others more often.
In Jesus’ name,