Strategies for Seeing Anew #14
…towards seeking the good of others
What does this mean?
Humanity is capable of extreme selfishness but we also display acts of selfless love. The Bible names the root of selfishness as humanity’s choice of self over God and others that leads to the sin that warps our world. However we interpret Genesis 3 and Adam and Eve’s decision to go their own way, the reality is that we have shifted the focus onto our wants and needs and we see ourselves in competition with others. Adam and Eve’s choice reflects humanity’s.
Selfishness is the making a man's self his own centre, the beginning and end of all he doeth. John Owen
Selfishness leads to other sins, for example, stealing is a way of one person demonstrating that they think their wants are more important than another person’s. Selfishness often arises from insecurity and viewing experiences such as love as finite commodities, as if there is only so much to go round. If you get love, praise, etc. will there be enough for me? In such a situation people look after number one. Jesus ranked loving others as second only to loving God (Mark 12:28-31) and told people to treat others as they wanted to be treated (Luke 6:31). This does not mean that Christians have to be doormats. Being treated with dignity is not the same as being selfish.
Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state. William Law
This section is about moving towards seeking the good of others. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from selfishness or apathy, or from a fear of others not responding in the same way?
What does this mean in school?
Teachers can help students see the devastation that selfishness causes in society past and present and encourage love of others.
- Highlight examples of selfless behaviour in different subjects – and of how sin has coloured human choices.
- Draw attention to the mindset that views life like a cake, where there is only so much to go round. Explore whether this is true of love.
- In personal development (PSHE) and drama alternative behaviours can be explored (but these should be realistic; the idea that selflessness comes without cost is fantasy).
- Examine role plays and examples used in different subjects; are they all about personal needs, feelings and opinions? Create alternatives that help students to move beyond self.
- When learning about the lives of others, attend to ways in which they put God's call and others' needs ahead of their own wants.
Think of a time when selfishness manifested itself in class. Locate a lesson where you could encourage students to be unselfish. You might encourage students to elicit other people’s opinions before contributing their own. You might start by changing a title from ‘Our World’ to ‘God’s World’ or use strategies where they see an issue from another person’s point of view.
This article is drawn on by:
- Example: God's World
- Example: Grammar and Giving
- Example: Loving a City
- Example: Serving the Community
- Example: Triumphs and Disasters
- Example: Sport and Restraint
- Example: Failure and Community
- Example: Transport and Service
- Example: Drama and Others
- Example: Teams and Individuals
- Example: Geography and Justice
- Example: Serving through Words
- Example: Design and Humility
- Example: Maps and Local Needs
- Example: Guests in God's World
- Example: Language and Community
- Example: Blessings and RE
- Example: Surgery and Gratitude
In this document:
1Jesus then told them this story: A farmer once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he let his vineyard and left the country. 2When it was harvest time, he sent a servant to get his share of the grapes. 3The tenants grabbed the servant. They beat him up and sent him away without a thing. 4The owner sent another servant, but the tenants beat him on the head and insulted him terribly. 5Then the man sent another servant, and they killed him. He kept sending servant after servant. They beat some of them and killed others. 6The owner had a son he loved very much. Finally, he sent his son to the tenants because he thought they would respect him. 7But they said to themselves, Some day he will own this vineyard. Let's kill him! That way we can have it all for ourselves. 8So they grabbed the owner's son and killed him. Then they threw his body out of the vineyard. 9Jesus asked, What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? He will come and kill those tenants and let someone else have his vineyard. 10Surely you know that the Scriptures say, The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important stone of all. 11This is something the Lord has done, and it is amazing to us. 12The leaders knew that Jesus was really talking about them, and they wanted to arrest him. But because they were afraid of the crowd, they let him alone and left. Paying taxes (Matthew 22.15-22; Luke 20.20-26) 13The Pharisees got together with Herod's followers. Then they sent some men to trick Jesus into saying something wrong. 14They went to him and said, Teacher, we know that you are honest. You treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. And you teach the truth about what God wants people to do. Tell us, should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not? 15Jesus knew what they were up to, and he said, Why are you trying to test me? Show me a coin! 16They brought him a silver coin, and he asked, Whose picture and name are on it? The Emperor's, they answered. 17Then Jesus told them, Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God. The men were amazed at Jesus. Life in the future world (Matthew 22.23-33; Luke 20.27-40) 18The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So some of them came to Jesus and said: 19Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother. 20There were once seven brothers. The first one married, but died without having any children. 21The second brother married his brother's widow, and he also died without having children. The same thing happened to the third brother, 22and finally to all seven brothers. At last the woman died. 23When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? After all, she had been married to all seven brothers. 24Jesus answered: You are completely wrong! You don't know what the Scriptures teach. And you don't know anything about the power of God. 25When God raises people to life, they won't marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. 26You know about people being raised to life. You know that in the story about Moses and the burning bush, God said, I am the God worshipped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 27He isn't the God of the dead, but of the living. You Sadducees are all wrong. The most important commandment (Matthew 22.34-40; Luke 10.25-28) 28One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, What is the most important commandment? 29Jesus answered, The most important one says: People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. 30You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 31The second most important commandment says: Love others as much as you love yourself. No other commandment is more important than these. 32The man replied, Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. 33It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make. 34When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, You are not far from God's kingdom. After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions. About David's son (Matthew 22.41-46; Luke 20.41-44) 35As Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, How can the teachers of the Law of Moses say that the Messiah will come from the family of King David? 36The Holy Spirit led David to say, The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right side until I make your enemies into a footstool for you. 37If David called the Messiah his Lord, how can the Messiah be his son? The large crowd enjoyed listening to Jesus teach. Jesus condemns the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses (Matthew 23.1-36; Luke 20.45-47) 38As Jesus was teaching, he said: Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all. A widow's offering (Luke 21.1-4) 41Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said: I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44Everyone else gave what they didn't need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn't have a penny to live on. The temple will be destroyed (Matthew 24.1,2; Luke 21.5,6)
1One Sabbath when Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields, the disciples picked some wheat. They rubbed the husks off with their hands and started eating the grain. 2Some Pharisees said, Why are you picking grain on the Sabbath? You're not supposed to do that! 3Jesus answered, Surely you have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. 4He went into the house of God and took the sacred loaves of bread that only priests were supposed to eat. He not only ate some himself, but even gave some to his followers. 5Jesus finished by saying, The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath. A man with a crippled hand (Matthew 12.9-14; Mark 3.1-6) 6On another Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, and a man with a crippled right hand was there. 7Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses kept watching Jesus to see if he would heal the man. They did this because they wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong. 8Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. And the man stood up. 9Then Jesus asked, On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it? 10After he had looked around at everyone, he told the man, Stretch out your hand. He did, and his bad hand became completely well. 11The teachers and the Pharisees were furious and started saying to each other, What can we do about Jesus? Jesus chooses his twelve apostles (Matthew 10.1-4; Mark 3.13-19) 12About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there. 13The next morning he called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his apostles. 14One was Simon, and Jesus named him Peter. Another was Andrew, Peter's brother. There were also James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus. The rest of the apostles were Simon, known as the Eager One, 16Jude, who was the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus. Jesus teaches, preaches, and heals (Matthew 4.23-25) 17Jesus and his apostles went down from the mountain and came to some flat, level ground. Many other disciples were there to meet him. Large crowds of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon were there too. 18These people had come to listen to Jesus and to be healed of their diseases. All who were troubled by evil spirits were also healed. 19Everyone was trying to touch Jesus, because power was going out from him and healing them all. Blessings and troubles (Matthew 5.1-12) 20Jesus looked at his disciples and said: God will bless you people who are poor. His kingdom belongs to you! 21God will bless you hungry people. You will have plenty to eat! God will bless you people who are crying. You will laugh! 22God will bless you when others hate you and won't have anything to do with you. God will bless you when people insult you and say cruel things about you, all because you are a follower of the Son of Man. 23Long ago your own people did these same things to the prophets. So when this happens to you, be happy and jump for joy! You will have a great reward in heaven. 24But you rich people are in for trouble. You have already had an easy life! 25You well-fed people are in for trouble. You will go hungry! You people who are laughing now are in for trouble. You are going to cry and weep! 26You are in for trouble when everyone says good things about you. That is what your own people said about those prophets who told lies. Love for enemies (Matthew 5.38-48; 7.12a) Jesus continued: 27This is what I say to all who will listen to me: Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. 28Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, don't stop that person from slapping you on the other cheek. If someone wants to take your coat, don't try to keep back your shirt. 30Give to everyone who asks and don't ask people to return what they have taken from you. 31Treat others just as you want to be treated. 32If you love only someone who loves you, will God praise you for that? Even sinners love people who love them. 33If you are kind only to someone who is kind to you, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners are kind to people who are kind to them. 34If you lend money only to someone you think will pay you back, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners lend to sinners because they think they will get it all back. 35But love your enemies and be good to them. Lend without expecting to be paid back. Then you will get a great reward, and you will be the true children of God in heaven. He is good even to people who are unthankful and cruel. 36Have pity on others, just as your Father has pity on you. Judging others (Matthew 7.1-5) 37Jesus said: Don't judge others, and God won't judge you. Don't be hard on others, and God won't be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated. 39Jesus also used some sayings as he spoke to the people. He said: Can one blind person lead another blind person? Won't they both fall into a ditch? 40Are students better than their teacher? But when they are fully trained, they will be like their teacher. 41You can see the speck in your friend's eye. But you don't notice the log in your own eye. 42How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? You show-offs! First, get the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. A tree and its fruit (Matthew 7.17-20; 12.34b,35) Jesus continued: 43A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 44You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. You cannot pick figs or grapes from thorn bushes. 45Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart. Two builders (Matthew 7.24-27) Jesus continued: 46Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say? 47Anyone who comes and listens to me and obeys me 48is like someone who dug down deep and built a house on solid rock. When the flood came and the river rushed against the house, it was built so well that it didn't even shake. 49But anyone who hears what I say and doesn't obey me is like someone whose house wasn't built on solid rock. As soon as the river rushed against that house, it was smashed to pieces! Jesus heals an army officer's servant (Matthew 8.5-13; John 4.43-54)