The Root of Evil


Michael Smalley shares a cautionary tale about the evil of selfishness.

JAMES 3:16?“Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil.”

This verse couldn’t be truer, and I hate to admit it, but it’s what I struggle with the most in my own life. I wish I could blame this one on my parents, but I cannot. Even though I probably learned this from somewhere. It is my choice to serve myself instead of the ones I love.

This weekend we are attending the wedding of my wife’s niece, Ashley, in beautiful San Antonio. I’ve not been the biggest supporter of the wedding. I wish it was because of Ashley, but it isn’t. I wish it was because of her fiance, Brian, but it isn’t. Brian is incredibly loving and mature for a 21 year-old, and I couldn’t be happier for Ashley and her future marriage.

I’ve been unhappy every since I had to get fitted for a tux! I hate to wear suits, tuxes, or any kind of clothing that restricts even the slightest of movements. So my attitude has been less than wonderful. And last night, it hit the fan.

My first mistake was not eating anything since breakfast and then attending a wedding that started at 5:00 p.m. in the evening. My second mistake was being selfish and inconsiderate of the wedding party, which I was a part of. My attitude was fairly good during the wedding, I got to usher in the guests as they arrived and then the official wedding party to their seats.

But it was after the wedding that I made my poor choice. My hunger had escalated, I was getting a headache, and I used every excuse in the book to get out of the reception. When I arrived to the Weston Centre in downtown San Antonio, I had made up my mind; I was leaving and couldn’t care what anyone else thought about it. So I left. What a poor choice.

Even upon arriving back to our hotel room with my two excuses, I mean, sons – I knew I had made a poor choice. When my wife returned back to the room, I definitely knew I had made a poor choice. Amy, especially in this kind of circumstance, usually has a hard time not escalating and getting really angry. So when she approached me about leaving and was not escalating, my poor choice became even more horrible.

I can apologize to Ashley, her mother, and her father for ditching out of the reception. But I can’t take it back. The only thing I can do, or anyone who has acted selfishly, is make a change for the future and earn back any trust lost from my, or our, actions.

One of my favorite professors from WheatonCollege was Dr. Michael Mangis. He had a theory on sin, and he called it your “Signature Sin”. It’s your personal struggle, that one thing that keeps getting you in trouble throughout your lifetime. For example, one of my signature sins is selfishness. My wife does not struggle with this as much, hers might be escalation, and I don’t struggle with that one much at all.

We cannot get rid of the sin in our life, but we can learn to recognize it quicker and learn how to repair the hurt from our sins more effectively. Our goal isn’t to rid ourselves of sin, but rather repair the damage we create; at least until that wonderful day when all is restored and we get to live as God had first intended us to live.

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