What do we do when we are faced with competing priorities? To do or not to? To stop or continue? To stay or leave? To try or give up? To stand up to something or back off? To fight or flee? To speak up or remain silent?
All of these alternatives are valid options in different situations or at various points in our lives. For example, some families may think that the best future for them is to emigrate while another family may decide that the best future for them is to stay. When we are young, we may keep changing jobs to find one that is best suited to us. When we grow older, for very practical reasons, we stay put.
None of these choices are right or wrong in themselves; if one is chosen over the other it would be because it was the better decision, all things considered. We make these decisions usually in the best interests of ourselves and our loved ones and community or organisation we represent or work for.
When, if ever, is putting personal interests first wrong? When it goes against doing what is right and true. It is a moral dilemma for most people because they are responsible for themselves, their families, communities and even the nation and argue that they have to make “hard choices” for the sake of the “greater good”, even if it means compromising and doing wrong.
When we compromise, we become beholden to those values we choose over others. In the process, “personal interests” become more important than doing the right thing, and, clearly, we don’t see doing the “right thing” as God’s righteousness and justice. Unable to “see”, we continue putting “personal interests” before what is right and true in God’s eyes. In doing so, we aid and abet in the continuation of wrong-doing.
In seeking to safeguard our “personal interests”, we may also be playing into the hands of dark forces operating behind the scenes. Christians must recognise these forces and exercise faith to remove ourselves from any association that brings us under their protection and security. The way to do this is get out of that association!
When we remove ourselves from their sphere of influence, we render these dark forces powerless over our lives although we lose their protection and security. But, we get God’s — even if it means some difficulties in facing the consequences of our actions. Our action to free ourselves from their clutches would also undermine and limit their powers. They would be unable to use us for their purposes, which means they lose ground and eventually will be defeated. God knows how to honor those who honor Him. And, all will see it.
It is really in the hands of Christians to render these forces powerless — if we will detach ourselves from their hold on us. We need faith to do that — to sacrifice personal interests for God’s righteousness and justice.