I think most of us underestimate our own selfishness. It’s so much easier to see it in other people, and I know I’m not always paying attention when people (family included) send me hints about my own.
Teenagers especially struggle with this. They are naturally pushing away from their parents. They are trying on masks to figure out who they are. They are trying to be their own person and not just get sucked into their parents’ identity. They crave independence. Their youthful energy makes their parents seem like old fools and their younger siblings like embarrassing baggage.
All of us are born with an attitude of “What’s in it for me?” and “What are you going to do for me?” Cain’s angry shout to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is still our native language. God has a better way: “Serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:13,14).
Our Servant-Savior, Jesus, provides both the healing forgiveness we all need as well as a role model to help those who feel themselves drifting away from their families. Realize that you are not quite as smart and slick as you think you are, nor are the other members of your family quite as dumb as you think they are. Your family is God’s gift; it is your team. Love your team.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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