My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. – Galatians 5:16 MSG
To be selfish is to be concerned with your own benefit. It’s the attitude that focuses on how this will affect you and how that will affect what is yours. Choices are made and attitudes are adopted for the end result of personal gain. People tend to limit their examples and understanding of selfishness to the uglier side of being a human, but there is a vile side that is disguised as “good” and Christians do it all the time.
You ignore certain people in public because fraternizing with them will affect how others think of you. I’m not talking about the rougher sects of society. I’m talking about those who have messed up, who don’t believe like you do, or who are otherwise not approved by the group with which you associate yourself. The choice to avoid associating with a “marked” person has nothing to do with anything Godly. It is 100% using your own human capacity to maintain the appearance of godliness. Selfishness disguised as purity. A wolf disguised as a sheep.
For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a freespirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. – Galatians 5:17 MSG
We have been given the gift of freedom and we’re too scared to use it. Christianity is not a tight rope on which to balance. It’s not even a tight rope with a net. It’s wide open space where you can just be. If you’re in a room full of people who focus on their own self-importance and super holy agenda, then you’re in the wrong room.
These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. – Galatians 5:17 MSG
Would it make a difference for you to know that almost everybody sees that something is wrong with the selfish, exclusive, “thank God we’re Christians” behavior, but they are too afraid to speak up? It’s time to be a little unpopular. Being a follower of Jesus is not a members-only club with perks and free parking. It’s being a servant to Love and you don’t get to pick how liked you are for it. This isn’t your life anymore, remember. He rescued you from your life. It’s His now.
…It’s harder for people who don’t really know what they were rescued from. Maybe their awareness of being rescued is ahead of them.
Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? – Galatians 5:18 MSG
You’ve been set free from the “law-dominated existence”. You can’t mess this up. People don’t automatically assume that being “set free” means “let’s sin our pants off”. That’s ridiculous. It means you don’t have to be afraid of messing up and you don’t have to worry about what people think about you. There is not a single person on this planet who can deem you worthy or unworthy, good or not good enough, Christian or non-Christian and have it alter the eyes with which your Creator sees you.
Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.-Galatians 5:23-24 MSG
Don’t “mindlessly” do what you think people want or maintain group membership when it costs you to disown everything Jesus did on the Cross. Go free-agent and be a little unpopular. It’s incredibly freeing and the foundation is a whole lot stronger.