I found out this morning that a co-worker and acquaintance had died last night. He was relatively young, mid-forties, but he had been fighting a relapse of melanoma since April.
Mark 12:28-31 (ESV)
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"
29 Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
31 The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
I remember when I heard he was sick in April that I felt I needed to call him and see if there was anything I could do. So I called him and asked how he was holding up, and let him know that I would be praying for him. What a nice thing to do. Brownie points for me somewhere, right?
I did pray for him, for a few days. Then he did not cross my mind again until I heard the news of his death this morning.
It occurs to me, if I was battling cancer, I would be praying everyday for myself. Why? Because I love myself and I know I need God just to get through a normal day without disease and sickness hovering over me.
Why did I not pray for this co-worker every day? Why did I completely forget about him and his struggles? The only thing I can come up with is I did not love him enough to keep him in my prayers. I did not love him as much as I love myself.
I want to love others like myself. Why can't I do it? Why does it always come back to being all about me?
Do you ever struggle with self-absorption? Do you ever find yourself so wrapped up in your own problems that loving God and loving others gets lost in the busyness.
Romans 7:15 (ESV)
15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Thankfully, God does not have this same struggle. He loves me in spite of me.
Romans 8:1 (ESV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.