There is one question that has the potential to bring more harm to our relationships than any other.
“What’s in it for me?” Without even thinking, our natural bent is so often apt to ask this question. We are constantly looking out for our own benefit. Perhaps you’ve experienced a conflict in your home or with a coworker or classmate; how would that conflict be different if nobody asked, “What’s in it for me?”
This question turns our God-give callings into an opportunity to meet our own needs. It turns people into objects as we strip away their dignity in order that we might get what we want. This question turns our relationships into a series of transactions that will hopefully lead us to be more profitable than our neighbor.
When Paul describes the Christian life, he describes our relationships a bit different than the typical inward-bent:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! - Phil 2:5-11
Jesus is the opposite of selfishness.
He doesn’t deserve the cross, he shouldn’t be a servant, and he has no need to be humble. But he is. The core of the human heart is selfishness, but central to the heart of Jesus is love. And it is precisely the heart of Jesus that curves our sinful hearts outward towards the heart of others. When we can’t give up asking, “What’s in it for me,” Jesus only asks, “What’s in it for you?” He gives up everything so that you might have everything.
He allows himself to be broken and poured out for the world around him. Instead of worrying about his own bruises and scars, his blood gets poured out for the criminals, the cowards, and the rebels. In humility his mission is never about self-preservation, but is always about self-sacrifice.
This is the kind of love that transforms.
@@Christ is so committed to us that we don’t need to be all about ourselves.@@ He has given us everything to the point that we don’t need the profit, the worth, or the value that we so often look for in the people around us. His body and blood is broken and poured out for us so that we might also be broken and poured out for the world around us.