It's human nature to start our being selfish. We naturally want to accumulate lots of toys, friends and victories over others. We have no concept of others at first. We're absorbed by plenty of our own desires, demands and needs to fill.
We may break out of these selfish circuits at young age by caring for a family member, best friend or pet. We may experience a very caring individual in our lives whom we then emulate. Later in life we may burnout on being so entirely self-centered. We may experience a shocking exposure to others who are much less fortunate than ourselves. We may sacrifice our comforts and risk our lives for the sake of our nation's security, freedom and future vitality. We may step into cycles of abuse where the prey needs protection from predators. We may become parents who put our offspring's needs ahead of our own. We may even fall in love and devote ourselves to our beloved's interests.
Each of these departures from self-interest involves a personal sacrifice. All our caring, nurturing and generosity amounts to a lose/win deal. We're showing the world how to compromise selfishness so that others' may win. We're coming from a place where our own interests cannot be satisfied without undoing what we're giving to others. We're thinking it's an either/or situation that cannot become a both/and deal with no sacrifice required. We're in the midst of rescuing others rather than redeeming our shared situation.
Rescuing does not work any better in our lives than being selfish. Both alternatives provide bad examples to others and negative emotions for ourselves. Both reinforce a chronic problem with losing when others are winning. Both send a message of unavoidable sacrifices when others are getting their way. Both make it seem like winners must take all and winning always occurs at others' expense.
When we switch from rescuing to redeeming, we become indifferent to the obvious situation. We're not coming from the endless drama of power struggles, control issues and self contempt. We see there's no solution at the level of the presenting problems and unmet needs. We come from a place where the personal sacrifice of self interest is inconceivable. We have discovered profound freedom from our former selfishness regardless of what others' are thinking and doing right now. We join those living without fear of what could happen, what did happen and what has not happened. It feels like we're sharing from a place of infinite supply and unlimited possibility. We are ministering to situations which have yet to find the place we're coming from. We redeem others from their dramas of fear, lack and misfortune. We show them how it's done without making a personal sacrifice. We seem amazing to those who've become discouraged, disheartened or defeated. They seem amazing to us when they get the message we've sent by our mere presence.