As a born-again Christian and Pastor, I spend most of my time preparing Bible teachings for the
congregation. I was looking for a good topic to teach last Sunday, and the topic of selfishness
came to mind. Selfishness is prioritizing one’s self-interest over the well-being of others in
making decisions. The Bible teaches us the importance of loving and sharing what we have and
warns us against selfish behavior. After teaching this lesson in church, one of the members
asked me, “Is being selfish a sin?”
In this article, I will discuss what the Bible says about self-centeredness. Join me on this
exploration and learn whether God can forgive selfishness and the consequences of selfishness.
You will also discover the church’s take on selfishness. Continue reading to find out the answers
to these and other questions.
What does the Bible teach about selfishness?
Selfishness is condemned in the Bible, and selfish acts are considered a sin. The Bible teaches and demands that Christians practice love and sharing throughout their lives because acts of selfishness only bring about havoc and destruction. Philippians 2:3–4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your interests, but also the interests of others.
For the sake and interest of mankind, Jesus Christ faced judgment and sacrificed Himself by being crucified to save mankind and restore the good relationship between God and human beings. He leads by example, demonstrating the power of love and sacrifice, which He taught and claimed Christians should support, practice, and live as He lived.
Does God forgive selfishness?
The Bible implies that God can forgive selfishness if we ask Him humbly in prayer and repentance. Psalm 19:13 Keep cleansing me, God, and keep me from my secret, selfish sins; may they never rule over me! Only then will I be free of fault and remain innocent of rebellion. As the Bible implies, Christians must appropriately seek forgiveness from God for their sins to be forgiven. Selfishness is considered a sin because it violates God’s laws of being kind and sharing; thus, the verse above suggests that, like other sins, selfishness can be forgiven if we repent.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God will surely forgive those who confess their sins and repent. It is human nature to be selfish at times or in situations where self-interest is prioritized, but this does not make it right; selfishness is a sin that should be condemned. Christians should treat everyone with love and kindness, just as Christ did.
What are the consequences of being selfish?
The consequences of selfishness include losing one’s connection with God because selfishness involves only serving one’s interests, and as we all know, one cannot serve two masters at the same time, so man was created to serve only God.
This is implied in the Bible verse James 4:8. Furthermore, selfishness leads to vile practices such as theft and property destruction, as those with more gain more and those with little or nothing end up empty-handed; as a result, disorder and violence occur, bringing more chaos and destruction that negatively affect everyone. This is implied in the Bible verse James 3:16, which says that where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
Selfishness can also sever one’s bonds with those close to them. This means that selfish people are frequently left to their own devices. Nobody wants to be associated with them, which can harm their mental and emotional well-being.
However, it should be noted that there are two types of selfishness: beneficial and detrimental.
Beneficial selfishness protects you as a person so that you are not taken for granted or used by others. It entails prioritizing oneself and frequently setting boundaries. It also entails the ability to say no and decline requests from others if they cross your boundaries as an individual.
How does the church view selfishness?
As church views are based on the Bible, the Bible condemns selfish behavior, as stated in the bible verse. Philippians 2:3–4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your interests, but also the interests of others.
Selfishness has no place in the church. This is God’s house, where Christians can fellowship, pray, and learn more about their faith. The church operates based on universal love and kindness. To many Christians, the Bible is the word of God, and everything written in it speaks against selfishness.
The Bible is like a road map showing Christians how to conduct themselves and coexist. The Bible is the origin and source of all church views, as well as all Christians. The church and the Bible are synonymous in that the Bible is the source of guidelines to be followed, and the church is in charge of translating these guidelines for Christians.
How can Christians differentiate between loving themselves and being selfish?
Loving oneself does not imply putting one’s self-interest ahead of others; rather, loving oneself entails taking care of oneself and appreciating oneself as one is, for man is created in the image of God.
Love is a Christian virtue that is said to be the greatest commandment given by Jesus, as stated in the bible verse. Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[a] There is no commandment greater than these.”
However, to practice love, one must first love oneself to show and spread love to others. As Jesus instructed, Christians should practice and spread love to everyone, including themselves. Selfishness is a sin, and all Christians must avoid it because it only leads to destruction and confusion, which breeds hatred.
Christians should try to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and build on the foundation he laid for them, as a living example, and the Bible as reference material on Christian ways of living with love and spreading love to everyone, because with love comes peace and prosperity.
How can Christians overcome selfishness?
Christians can overcome selfishness by practicing and spreading love for themselves and others. This simple act of love brings nothing but happiness and prosperity, so Christians must spread love and live in love at all times, as God instructs in the Bible. Though no one is perfect, Christians must do their best to live like Jesus Christ.
Because man is prone to error, when one is guilty of being selfish or is tempted to be so, it is incumbent upon Christians to humbly seek God’s forgiveness and repent.
Bible verses about being selfish
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Apostle Paul, who wrote this passage, urged Christians to put other people’s needs ahead of their own and to recognize that others are superior to them. By doing so, one can develop humility.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
This verse expands on the characteristics of having true wisdom from God. It condemns selfish acts in which one is only concerned with themselves and constantly competes with others to prove a point, calling such behavior ungodly and unspiritual. It goes on to say that if one has complete faith in God, they will do selfless good works, put others first, and have good intentions with their every action.
It calls Christians to examine the motivations behind every action they take and strives to do only what pleases the Lord: to be selfless, gentle, and good. It encourages people to avoid jealousy and envy because they can lead to distracting behaviors.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.