Selfishness Is the Root of All Evil
Carlton Foster on 3 November 2015
The Bible said in 1-Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. “ From my observation of society, how they operate, I realized that the real root of all kinds of evil is selfishness.
Timothy also saw this evil in selfishness, and in particular, he saw it in the desire and love for more money. He said the selfishness of craving for more money brings all kinds of evil. Today, I have seen that not only money but the desire to please only self, brings with it many evil actions and thoughts.
Do you know that it was because of Eve’s selfish desire to be wiser, which caused her to disobey God’s commandment in the Garden of Eden? The very thought of her self-accomplishment to gain more power over the thought of being obedient to God and her husband Adam, created evil within her. That same selfish thought also came to Adam, and he too reaped the act of evil. James said, “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and entice. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15)”. Temptation comes from our selfish desires, which entice us and drag us away. These selfish desires give birth to sinful actions, and when these selfish desires get stronger, sin is allowed to grow and gives birth to death.
The origin of this selfish attitude was originated in Satan. The Bible, reports that Satan was perfect in his ways from the day he was created until iniquity was found in him (Ezekiel 28:15). This iniquity is selfishness, the root of all evil. The Word of God continues by saying that by the abundance of Satan’s trading he became filled with violence within, and he sinned; Therefore God cast him as a profane thing out of the mountain of God, and God destroyed him. God said Satan’s heart was lifted up because of his beauty; he corrupted his wisdom for the sake of his splendor. He defiled his sanctuaries by the multitude of his iniquities. From then until now, the root of evil tendencies – selfish desires, continue to reap havoc among society.
Likewise, a selfish individual formulate a single thought (about a scenario or an occurrence), and this thought becomes the only truth; therefore, any other thought is a lie and is not possible. This single-mindedness is the selfishness of the individual. No other thought is welcomed or could be a possibility. The selfish person’s information is supreme. This dominance of ideas, scenarios, and occurrences can and will lead to evil. By not accepting that there could be another side to the story, the selfish person shuts out other possibilities because it would dethrone their dominance.
When the Devil came to Jesus and said “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread”, he was trying to appeal to Jesus’ accomplishment of being anointed “Son of God” when John baptized him. Any thought, initiated by the Devil, which will allow you to think about what you can do of yourself, will lead to selfishness and to sin. If Jesus had turned the stones into bread to satisfy his hunger, he would have neglected his role as Savior for mankind. Jesus, instead of falling for that trick, he pointed the power and accomplishment to God and said, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Again the Devil tried to appeal to Jesus’ power and said “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Here again, the Devil is appealing to Jesus protecting himself alone and forget about the role of redeeming the sins of man. That selfish thought did not work either, so he tried again, he took Jesus to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said: “I will give it all to you if you will kneel down and worship me.” If Jesus had thought about himself alone, and what he would gain from this opportunity, then he would have fallen into the selfish trap of sin.
Satan tried the same thing with David (as reported in 1 Chronicles 21:1) and succeeded when he caused David to take a census of the people of Israel, to see how strong and mighty is the army David himself had put together, but it was not David who made the army strong, it was God. Again the power of selfish desires is at work to create sin. The love of money was not included in this action, but evil still resulted from it. Once you start thinking of what you can do or gain, if any attempt is made to please that selfish desire, the root of sin emerges.
To combat sinful desires, Jesus advises his disciples by saying, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me (Mat 16:24)”. In everything that we do, we must think of others and how to help them to see God. We must assess the situation to see if selfish desires are in the mixture, and if so, combat the situation with thoughts of benevolence and praises to God. Don’t fall for the Devil’s trick. Situations where you find quarreling, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behaviors all stem from the root of evil – Selfishness.
When we ask the Lord to forgive us of our sins but fail to forgive others, we are also exhibiting selfish behavior. Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Another example is Job. The Bible said Job was blessed and regained all that he had lost, but it only came after he took the thoughts away from himself and focused his prayers on his friends. In Job 42:10, “When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!”
The power of God’s answers to our prayers is mostly realized when we think of others instead of our selfish thoughts. King Solomon prayed for help on how to rule his people righteously, and God instead, gave him the power of knowledge and understanding. The story is told in 1 Kings 3:7-13, “I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies — I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for — riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!”
When Zacchaeus gave back the monies he had taken by over-taxing the people, God blessed him because of his consideration for others. In Luke 19:8-10, “Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.’”
The Bible said in Philippians 2:3-5, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Again in James 3: 14-16, it reads “But if you are bitterly envious and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For envy and selfishness are not God’s kinds of wisdom. Such things are earthly, worldly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there are envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind”.
In Summary, selfish thoughts and actions are the roots of all kinds of evil. Of such we must stay away. You must always think of benevolence and praises to God. We must sincerely forgive others and have a love to restore and help-up the faults of others. Relinquish selfish desires. Get rid of the “me-myself-first” attitude. We must overcome evil with good! Selfishness is the real root of evil (and the love of money is inclusive).