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Zambians are becoming more selfish

Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
DEAR Pastor and Mrs Banda,
I have noticed that as Zambians, we are becoming more and more individualistic. We are less ready to lend a helping hand to our neighbours. We seem to be concerned more about ourselves. What can be the problem and how can we address this?
Dear Citizen,
Yours is a genuine concern which every Zambian should take seriously.
The Bible calls such behaviour as selfishness. A spirit of selfishness can infect individuals; families, work places and the nation as a whole. It needs to be quickly identified and eradicated if we are to have a better country.
What is selfishness? The dictionary defines it as being, ‘concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure at the expense of consideration for others’.
The Bible discourages selfishness in verses like Philippians 2:4 NIV. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Selfishness is starting with and stopping at our own interests.
Selfishness can manifest in many different ways. Let us sample a few of them.
• At personal level: Eating thoughtlessly, with no regard for others. Being opinionated, wanting only our opinions to be taken or regarded. A selfish person is a bad listener, preferring to voice their own opinion. Selfishness also involves; making decisions that might be detrimental to others; breaking promises, keeping people waiting, not returning borrowed money. Irresponsible behaviour like drinking instead of buying food at home. Amassing or hoarding food or wealth at the expense of the needy. Proverbs 11:26 says; “People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.” Amassing land or wealth at the expense of others. Isaiah 5:8 says; “Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.”
• Companies: In companies, it can be managers who object to increasing the salaries of their workers even when they can afford to do so. Or a worker having such an unhealthy desire to be promoted to the extent of hurting others in the process.
• Family: At family level, you have families who insist on the nuclei even when there are widows and orphans who need help.
• The community: At community level, it involves not thinking about the needs of the people around us. So, we have those whose children go to private clinics and schools with no regard for the plight of those who go to the public ones. Similarly, forgetting that there are many who do not have access to clean water.
• Country: When you have office bearers who have wrong reasons for holding public positions and they are ready to take bribes. When, as a country, we mistreat foreigners who are seeking refuge in our land.
• Church: Churches can equally be guilty of selfishness. When church leaders start to use the church to amass personal wealth instead of ministering to the needy. When the church is unmoved by the spiritual plight of the masses – those who are spiritually dead, those going astray, backsliders, lonely and the untaught.
• We need to understand God’s plan for us human beings. God created us to be social beings who can interact, complement and supplement each other; to be our brothers’ keepers.
• We must cultivate a way of thinking that does not revolve around self
• We must cultivate a spirit of sacrifice. This will manifest in standing up for the less fortunate. It will also involve looking around our communities and asking how we can influence others for the better. A spirit of sacrifice is prepared to suffer or be inconvenienced on behalf of others. It is selfish to keep quiet about the plight of the less privileged simply because we have had our fill.
• We must volunteer to serve others. Taking delight in serving them without seeking to be paid for the work done. We need to cultivate a spirit of volunteerism.
• We must come out from being loners, detached from other people and their predicaments. The African culture at this point is more Christian than the western one where you mind your own business to the extent of not being concerned with the welfare of your neighbour. People have been known to die and rot in their flats without their neighbours knowing.
• We must choose people at the expense of material things.
If each one of us begins to fight the spirit of selfishness creeping into our country, we will be a far much better community than we are now.
Everyone desires to be loved.
For comments or questions, please send to or pchilufya@daily-mail.