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Chapter 12 - Self - The Relationship Killer

There are some exploitive relationships where one person constructs a relationship building on the trust of another to gain some advantage and then move on. Con-men, manipulators, even sociopaths can all lie in order to use others for their own benefit. This sort of intentional use of people for selfish gain is contemptible. However, these sort of people more clearly show the damage caused by selfishness.

What is more common but less clear is the life lived less intentionally but just as effectively for self also has a limited ability to achieve any depth in a relationship. For example, a college upper class-man might target a freshman girl for seduction only to discard her when he was through. In contrast a freshman boy might start dating a freshman girl and after they take their relationship to the level of fornication, decide that he needs to move on. Both leave a girl exploited. However, the damage caused by the second boy seems less egregious because it was less well thought out (intentional).

Even in something as mundane as a business relationship, the person who seeks at every turn his own advantage may find that others are less comfortable doing business with him.

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth. - Proverbs 20:14

Even when people can moderate their selfishness and achieve working business, romantic, and even familial relationships, there is a limit as to the depth of relationship. This is because deeper relationship is only possible with love. Here we need to clarify that biblical love is not the same thing as the emotional sensations associated with sentiment, romance, or affection. These sensations, if pursued directly, often cause greater selfishness.

Biblical love is essentially selflessness. Love is basically giving of oneself. The less love we have, the more taking we do. In a relationship if both people are takers, things will not last. If only one person is a giver, resentment may build.

Those who follow Christ are supposed to be growing in Christ-likeness which includes love. This should result in deeper closer relationships because each person should be seeking to give more than take and thus seek the good of others.

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. - Galatians 6:10

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. - Philippians 2:3


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