Wendell Winkler talked about counseling in our “Preacher And His Work” class, a course it is my privilege now to teach at the Bear Valley Bible Institute. Specifically, brother Winkler was speaking about marriage counseling. Discussing that the details would always be unique, he told us that the issue was almost always the same: “selfishness.” While it might not be a problem with both spouses when there is a problem, he contended that at least one of the two would have a fundamental difficulty with selfishness. He ran us through a simulated conversation. The preacher asks, “What seems to be the problem?” The wife would begin, “He doesn’t listen to me. I am unhappy. He never considers my feelings…” The husband would break in, “Preacher, she has it all wrong. I do everything I can for her, and she doesn’t appreciate me. She doesn’t care what this is doing to my happiness….”
It is so fundamental and simple that such an observation seems like profound brilliance. Our problems, more often than not, are that we find ourself “me deep” in self. What a terrible place in which to find ourselves stuck. The only way to be free is to think of others, putting them before ourselves. Most church problems, family problems, and individual sin problems would disappear if we could conquer that basic inclination to be self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-preserving.
I am amazed that some people can go an entire lifetime focused on self. They are inevitably miserable, and they too often succeed in contributing misery to others. Let us resolve to follow in Jesus’ steps, actively seeking the good will and happiness of others. Ironically, it is the surest path to our own happiness and success.