Selfishness and Addiction
Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days? 2 Kings 20:19
I can now look back at the disaster that I caused myself in my addiction and see that, even if I could, I wouldn’t change my past, as God used that misery to shape me. When I think of the pain I caused my loved ones however, that is a different story. In my addiction, I made profoundly selfish choices that impacted those around me without ever considering how it would hurt them.
As toxic as my drug use has been though, drugs are not my worst addiction. They are but a symptom of a deeper, more destructive disease: my addiction to self. It is my ingrained, natural tendency to simply do what I want, without thinking of how it impacts others. Many times, I’ve just done what I desired without considering the cost to those that I say I love the most.
This self-addiction is not unique to the drug addict. King Hezekiah, though he was considered a godly king, displayed similarly narcissistic traits. Today’s passage tells of a Babylonian envoy whom Hezekiah entertained by showing off his riches. The prophet Isaiah later chastised the king for this, informing him that the Babylonians would, in his son’s lifetime, carry off all of those riches.
This should have saddened Hezekiah, leading him to repentance, but instead, he dismissed the matter, saying, Oh well, that won’t affect me, only my sons. I’ll be fine.
Like Hezekiah, we often think first and last of how a thing affects us. How can I get what I want? How does this affect me? The problem with this disease of self-addiction, is that it is so natural to most of us, that we don’t even realize we’re afflicted by it until we rain down disaster all around us.
The treatment, as for all of the flaws of our flesh nature, is to make a daily choice to go to God, asking what it is that we must deny so that we may follow Him. Then, we must do what it takes daily to turn from ourselves, follow God and love those around us.