When’s the last time your beat yourself up? Last week when you lost your temper at work? Yesterday when your teenager acted out and you felt like a rotten parent? This morning when you stepped on the scale?
Self-absorption entails far more than typical pride—it means anything that shifts your awareness away from Jesus (or the service of others) and onto yourself. Egocentricity has many “faces”—including the typical ones, such as putting your own needs above those of others or steering conversations so that they revolve around you and your accomplishments.
But here’s the clincher: self-absorption also includes indulging in self-condemnation. That’s right: self-condemnation is not a sign of humility; in fact, there’s nothing Christlike about it. I can’t beat myself up unless I’m obsessing about my own behavior rather than looking to Jesus. When I have eyes only for Him, I’m quick to extend grace and compassion to those He loves—including myself.
Some of us are willing to offer grace and forgiveness to everyone but ourselves. We’d never dream of attacking someone else the way you do ourselves: “Nothing you do is good enough; you are so stupid—what’s wrong with you? You’ll never measure up!”
The only way to steer clear of self-absorption is to stay tuned to Jesus’ presence and inclination at all times. Lord, help us to keep our eyes on You—and off ourselves.