How to Remove Seeds of Selfishness {Wisdom from Murray}

Jun 20, 2012

“When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God…When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.” Genesis 5:1,3

“Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.” Genesis 4:8

Adam’s sin became Cain’s sin:

God made man in His image. As the Creator of life, in His image, men have the ability to create life. Children are made in the image of their parents.

From these verses in Genesis we get a glimpse into the first family of the Bible. It’s not a pretty family photo album.

God gave two commandments (Mark 12:30-31):

  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart…
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Adam, the first man on earth, broke the first commandment when he sinned. Choosing his way over his love for God. Cain, Adam’s son, broke the second when he hated and murdered his brother Abel.

My sin becomes my children’s sin:

I know our biological children physically look like us. As their sin patterns become more apparent I see they also are made in my likeness where sin is concerned. My pride. My Anger. My uncontrolled tongue. All reflected in my children.

Remembering my children’s sin was inherited from me (and back to Adam…original sin), should help me:

  • Be more patient and gentle
  • Be more earnest and wise (having struggle through the sin myself)
  • Lead them to seek grace and life from above.

Unfortunately, I often forget I’m a sinner. I expect perfection. Instead I need to remember, they not only share in my sin, they share God’s mercy as well!

Sin is rooted in selfishness:

Murray claims:

“The root of all sin is selfishness, separating first from God and then from man.”

We see selfishness in all children, no matter what home they come from, what country they live in, how much or how little they have been given. This was apparent to me when I watched the documentary “Babies” (available on Netflix).

The two toddlers in Africa sitting in dirt fighting over a piece of trash (their “toy”). The infant in Tokyo throwing a tantrum when she can’t figure out how a toy works. The preschooler in Mongolia hitting his baby brother while his mom was distracted. All babies, in all cultures, with all different kinds of parenting approaches demonstrated selfishness. 

If sin and selfishness is written in the hearts of all of us and all the members of our family, what can we do to avoid homes full of strife and conflict?

Love God, Love others:

Murray encourages parents to study “love” in the Bible. Since love is the greatest commandment, fulfilling the whole law, parents should seek: THE REIGN OF LOVE IN OUR HOMES.

To rid ourselves and our homes of any “seeds of selfishness” we need to model a “life marked by the love of God & others.“:

  1. Deal with our children with a holy love (time, attention, & patient perseverance)
  2. Let our children hear us speak well of others (Say it to her face)
  3. Show spouse mutual esteem & respect, considerateness, & selflessness
  4. Love God with all your heart, mind and strength.

(in picture form…)

Our children share in our sin nature, BUT they can also share in God’s grace. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can model a home with love for God & love for others. Those two commandments broken by Adam & Cain, can be redeemed in our homes.

**realize we will never completely remove selfishness and sin from ourselves or our children. However, in each moment we focus on loving God & others, in that moment we displace the attention from ourselves. Again…replace ‘me’ with ‘He’…relentlessly, constantly.**

Murray boldly states, “To make our homes a nursery and the type and the foretaste of heaven, ordinary half-hearted religion will not suffice.”

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  1. joyceandnorm

    I love the little picture with the 4 parts of How to Remove the Seeds of Selfishness. Keep it coming!

  2. Leah

    One of the hardest things to swallow as a mother is seeing my ugliness manifest in my children. Its like a punch to the gut. And yes the root of all ugly sin is selfishness. I like the phrase you used of “holy love”. I try to of course do those things, but maybe by attributing that title to it, it will help me to pursue it more…not just “well I really should”.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Oh it is sooo hard to see my yuckiness in my kids. Definitely a “punch in the gut”. Isn’t Andrew Murray so wise? He takes parenting kids for Christ and simplifies down to love. holy love. Thanks for commenting!


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