On Being Self-Absorbed

The final episode of Seinfeld in 1998 remains one of most watched shows in television history. This show was billed as “a show about nothing,” but this final episode makes a point. The cast witnessed a carjacking, but they did nothing to help the victim. In fact, they make jokes about the victim... until the law shows up.

So Jerry and the gang are convicted and thrown into jail and the series ends. So maybe they are still there. The word that we would use to describe people like the Seinfeld characters is “self-absorbed.” They were so totally focused on themselves and had no compassion or feelings for others.

Surely none of us have any problems being self-absorbed? We don't have any trouble seeing the perspectives, the concerns and the needs of others. While have positions and ideas and preferences, we all are perfectly capable of understanding the people around us who disagree, and we love and respect them anyway.  People who are self-absorbed only show up on TV; they never show up in church!  That's why Paul wrote this part of today's Daily Bible Reading in Philippians 2--

Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:2-4, ESV)

If we are going to be the kind of family God is calling us to be, then we need to learn to be as concerned with the opinions, perspectives, ideas and preferences of others as we all with our own. To see only own own needs and desires is to be self-absorbed!  If we are self-absorbed, we might get in trouble with the Law!