Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church is encouraging Christians to stop being selfish and instead try to focus on other people's needs and concerns before their own in order to find more meaning and fulfilment in life.
"Everything in our culture conditions us to think first of ourselves. We don't think about other people naturally. That's something we have to learn to do," he wrote on his website. "We naturally think about our needs, our desires, our goals, and our ambitions. As a result we have millions of people disconnected because they're only thinking of themselves and not anyone else's needs."
While he was watching television, Warren encountered three commercials with the same by-line: "You deserve it." People have been taught to consider themselves as the supreme value in life," but Warren said this is not what God wants.
"Let me teach you two very basic truths about life. First, the world does not revolve around you. You're very special in God's eyes, and you were created for a purpose—but the world does not revolve around you," he stressed.
As an analogy, Warren suggested that people stick their hand in a bucket of water and pull it out, and see what kind of hole they leave. "It fills back up pretty quick!" he said.
The second truth is that God has promised that whenever people focus on meeting the needs of other people instead of their own, then He will meet the needs of those caring people. Warren explained that God does so "because He wants you to learn to be unselfish. He wants you to learn to be loving and generous like Him."
Part of being considerate of other people's needs is making allowances for their faults and not expecting them to be perfect. No one is perfect anyway, he said, so why should people expect it from others?
"You don't have to be blind to that person's faults. You just choose to overlook them. Great friends are good forgetters. They don't rub it in; they rub it out! They are more concerned with the other person's needs," he said.