Lonely in our Selfishness

bible, cross and crown of thornsI know you’ve heard John 15:13. This oft-quoted verse says, “Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friends.” Sometimes it’s used in funerals or other memorial tributes.

The trouble is the translation of “life” is inaccurate. The original Greek term used here is psychē (pronounced sue-kay). Psychology comes from that root, meaning the study of the mind. And of course, the mind is an important part of the soul, since the soul comprises the mind, will, and emotions. Put another way, psychology defines the psyche as feelings, behavior, and personality.

From both perspectives, psychē means soul, not physical life. No one has greater love than if he lays down his soul for another.

Face it. It’s easier to lay down physical life than soul life. A one-and-done deal versus a lifetime of endeavor? No contest. And to top it off, the dead guy gets admired for his heroism spirit worldand sacrifice. The soul-submitter tends not to be recognized for the Godly attribute.

How do we lay down our souls for others? We “prefer one another in love” according to Romans 12:10. That doesn’t mean being wishy-washy or allowing someone to abuse you without consequence. It means allowing Jesus to take the slights, disappointments, or frustrations instead of holding on to them and letting them make you miserable. It means not allowing them to make you feel lonely.

We do not lay down our souls “to” one another. That would be idolatry. But to lay them down “for” one another is love.

Remember, this command is for men and women alike. Too often, women have been told to submit to husbands according to Ephesians 5:22, but without mention of the command for both parties to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21) in order to exemplify the relationship of Christ and the Church. This submission strengthens all types of adult relationships.

Laying down our souls for one another means that we surrender our desires, thoughts, feelings, and dreams, first to God and then for our loved ones for the good of the relationship and the ones we love. Selfishness has to go. Jesus is our provider, our husband, our friend. He wants to be everything to us—to be the great I AM.cross in hands

Our society is chock-full of people who want what they want, when they want it, and in precisely the way they want it. Road rage, assault, murder—these are evidence of selfishness gone amuck. These people are unwilling to prefer, or defer to, another in love.

It’s a tough concept, but an important one. And it’s one way to avoid a loneliness trigger.

this is part 5 of a series on loneliness

Part1|One is the Loneliest Number

Part 2|Alone Does Not Equal Lonely

Part 3|Lonely in a Crowd

Part 4|Unloved and Lonely

Part 5|Lonely in our Selfishness

Part 6|Love Fights Loneliness

Part 7|Love is Laying Down Your Soul

Part 8| Misunderstanding “Laying Down Your Soul”

Part 9| Unknown and Lonely

Part 10| Lonely in a Good Marriage

all illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net