“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
Haman is our Biblical character example of someone completely preoccupied with themselves. Remember Haman? He was the Persian government official in the book of Esther who plotted and schemed and was eventually hung on the gallows he himself had built. If you read through Esther you will see that “Haman boasted to [his friends and wife] about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials.” Esther 5:11
Throughout his whole life story, we never see him express an interest in anyone else. He is completely preoccupied with himself. (He also has some serious pride and boasting issues, but we addressed that on Day 7!)
I don’t think Haman would have been a good lunch date – he would have just talked on and on and on about himself. Tedious. Boring.
Self-absorption is about wanting to be the center of attention. It’s also a sign of some deep-seated heart issues – selfishness, insecurity, and wanting the approval of others.
Self-absorbed people present a relational challenge – others realize that their interaction with you is one-sided, there is no mutual sharing of needs or ideas. As our author said, “Trying to have a close relationship with a self-absorbed person is like trying to hug a porcupine.”
Are most of your conversations with others centered on you and your issues?
“Mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves… having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Timothy 3:1,5
Let’s make a conscious effort to become “others-absorbed”.
Pray that God to make you genuinely interested in other people.
When you walk away from a conversation with someone – ask yourself what percentage of the discussion was about you versus being about the other person. We used to make a game of it during dinners at our home… Could we spend most of the night learning about the other couple? Could we not get drawn into talking endlessly about ourselves?
My husband used to say that it was the mark of a mature pastor or a good friend – he didn’t need to talk about himself all the time. Despite whatever accomplishments he may have, he never needed to find a reason to tell you about them.
Being genuinely interested in others is a sign of spiritual growth. We are inherently selfish and self-absorbed and it takes work to overcome it.
Pray that God would show you how much you talk about yourself – and give you a desire to hear more about others.
Give people your full attention when they are talking. Focus on them.
“Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, a Bible study by Deborah Pegues