Interests of others and own interests


This kind of goes with my other post, “do you ever have thoughts like that”. But is its own question. And I am feeling desperate right now.

How far do we have to take this, with taking others’ interests more seriously than ours?
I am thinking again of visiting somebody at the hospital. What if you do that a lot? How responsible should you feel for every single one?

Can we still go our way?

This old lady I am visiting… am I responsible for her now because I started visiting her? Do I have to give up all other life dreams?

I read the Bible and asked God to help me with the passage I was reading. And right then came the passage about regarding others’ interests higher than others. Does that mean now I have to concentrate fully on that lady and give up all plans of going to another country as long as she is alive??? This is so weird, I am so confused now. Or could it mean something else? What if I feel my way leads me somewhere else? But why did it say that exactly there in the Bible?

I am scared now.



Maybe I have to view the Bible passage more generally.

I am sooo scrupulous. And I try to help a lot of people. Then my thoughts get focussed on just one person sometimes and I am afraid there may start too much of a dependancy. And I am not sure am I just being selfish because I don’t want to change my whole life around for somebody I encounter on the way, or am I actually exaggerating and feeling TOO responsible.

Maybe I have to just trust God that He will lead me.

Maybe I don’t have to give up all my dreams.

Is it ok to have dreams?

I am so confused right now,


Dear Kathrin.

It’s not wholesome to live in guilt or to give to others because you feel guity if you don’t.
No, you don’t have to give up your dream to go overseas. That makes you a prisoner instead of a generous giver. You have to trust God to give to and take care of this woman, not bind yourself to her till she dies. What if you decided to go visit every sick person in the hospltal, or every nursing home, and give up your whole life. What would happen is that you might miss doing what God hoped for you, God’s dream for you.

“Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, ‘for God loves a cheerful giver.’” [Proverbs 28:2]

Your dreams are part of His gift to you, not to bury but to create something unique out of them. God gave you your self, your life and gifts. He did so that you could grow into a beautul unique person.
Yes you must love and serve others but that wasn’t all Jesus said to you when he commanded you to love others as yourself.

‘Love others…as yourself’

Jesus when You command us to love others as ourselves, You require something more challenging than simply to “love others.” The embedded touchstone in that command is “love your self.”

Many people lack proper self-esteem, making it difficult for them to genuinely value others. However, Scripture exhorts, “value yourself at your proper worth. Who can justify a man who runs himself down, or respect a man who despises himself.” [Ecclesiasticus 10:28-29]

If we do fail to love ourselves correctly, we cannot accept God’s lovef or ourselves and even for others. Let us never imagine ourselves hidden from Your mercy: ‘“Can anyone hide in a dark corner without my seeing him?’ asks the Lord.” [Jeremiah 23-24]

**The concept of rightly loving oneself in order to love others as God’s precious children may be confused with the selfishness that ruins unselfish self-love. It requires us to reject negative self-talk and responses. “If a man is mean to himself, to whom will he be good?” **[Ecclesiasticus 14:3].

Growth in Christian self-love is facilitated by “filling your mind with everything that is true, everything that is noble, and everything that is pure and good” [Philippians 4:8] and serving “in works of love.” It is allowing the Spirit to direct your life and then “you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence. What the Spirit brings is…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.” [Galatians 5:13, 16, 26, 22-23]

Jesus, help us to fittingly love ourselves. You do not wish us to disparage or neglect ourselves but to see ourselves as loved, forgiven children of God. A poor self-image may compare to our perception of ‘clouds’. To observers, clouds appear to be impressive, substantial and tangible. However, within themselves the clouds seem damp, insubstantial and misty.

Jesus, let us not belittle ourselves in comparison to others because of our personal uncertainties and inadequacies. Let us live in sincere acceptance of self, that unique gift of Your creative love. help us to see ourselves as loved children of God. Jesus, help me to know that You really love me. Help me to love myself so that I can love You and others love others truly.


Confidence in God’s merciful love

God, You command that I forgive and rightly cherish myself. Like many people in human history, I often find it difficult to sincerely and consistently love the ‘self’ that I find mirrored in my consciousness. I know that You can bring me to appreciate the miracle and privilege of my existence!

How can I refuse to love what God loves! You treasure me, as You love and treasure each unique, human person that You create. Yet I need much grace to love this betrayer of my true being and purpose, myself! I betray Your loving creation of me by failing to be fully ‘the person I am created to be’.

You love each person so much that it led to the incarnation of Your divine Son, and to His redemption of humankind. Jesus is Your response to my betrayal of my destiny and me. Yet frequently I am unconvinced or indifferent before these astounding gifts of divine love for me and for every person!

Please give me grace to value myself and each person as Your beloved and eternal gift. Inspire me with faith and gratitude for the gift of myself, for the lives of dear ones and of all people. Grant that these human gifts are shaped by Your love to become everlasting gifts to You, and through You, eternal gifts to each other person.

Through Jesus, You taught us that cheerful, loving mutual service of others leads to fulfilment of Your creative will. Therefore, give me grace to faithfully say ‘yes’ to Your loving purpose by active respect and charity to others and me. Delight Yourself in me by forming me into the unselfish, joyful, helpful and prayerful person You dreamed me to be for You and others’ souls for time and eternity. 1999


thank you Trishie

In general, I wonder: Is it ok to walk through life and help people wherever I am?
(Didn’t Jesus do that too?)

Is it ok to follow my dreams and help people at the same time?

But then, when I do encounter somebody, is it ok to help for a while and then let go again?
In this concrete case - is it ok to visit this lady every week or so now and STILL have the dream of maybe living in another country again? To go my way and hope she will understand, because there may be more people to help out there too?

And then of course, also: What does it mean that this Bible passage about the interests of others came up exactly now???


That’s right, Love.
Jesus healed and comforted and advised people, but He didn’t stay bound to them. He trusted them to God’s grace and mercy, and moved on. Yes, visit her sometimes, and while away, perhaps send her a postcard! How exciting that would be for her!

You are such a good-hearted person and I pray God helps you through all your struggles with conscience and understanding.
Your new post shows you are growing in wisdom.
God bless you Kathrin Love. :slight_smile:


Thank you for all your prayers and kind words.

I want to do things out of love, not out of guilt. I want to let God lead me. I LOVE doing things like that when I do them out of love. When my scrupulosity kicks in I start getting full of fear. Did you read my other post, “do you ever have thoughts like that”? It was so scary, I suddenly felt so afraid of obligation that I had the thought that maybe it would be a relief if she didn’t live that long anymore. And how guilty I felt then!!

See, this lady used to live at a group home, one of the places I have worked at. I didn’t even know her all that well. I started visiting her because the hospital where she is is close to where i live. She doesn’t hardly speak anymore. I am not sure how much she still registers of what is going on around her. I bought her a stuffed animal once, and the people at the hospital had put it on her chest or in her arm the next time I saw it. That was cute. I played some songs on my guitar for her. Sometimes I am not sure if she sleeps or if she is awake. I wonder why her children don’t visit her anymore. Maybe I could ask where I work if some other people might stop by sometimes too, but most live much further away.

I know I am a person who does a lot of charitable things like that, and if I felt obligated toward every person I start helping out I don’t think that would be good? Still sometimes I wonder.

Anyway. It is almost 1.40 am and I have to get up early for work tomorrow morning. I was just so hoping somebody would still reply tonight, this was so much on my mind. I still feel some guilt now because it is just so difficult sometimes. I will try to pray about it and let God lead me. Hope He will help me do the right thing and go the way that is supposed for me to go. I feel very strong things sometimes, being led in a certain way. It fills me full of joy. But then I get unsure again and wonder, is this just me being selfish, dreaming a dream just for me? Or is it really God leading me?

I know people in different places and I know I can’t be anywhere,
Ummm… yes, I can, in prayer :-).



Dear Lord please give your good-hearted daughter freedom of her scruples.
St Therese of Lisieux, you succussfully overcame scruples. Please pray for Kathrin to be healed as you were.


I had a really good conversation with a woman from my church today about this, somebody who works there as a spiritual advisor.:slight_smile:


((((Kathrin)))))…bless your heart for wanting to be there for others…but it should bring you comfort and peace as well to do so…there is no need to put yourself through this-where is your Faith-trust that God has you there for her when you can be- and will have someone else there when you can’t…it is a gift you are giving-and one you should give freely-and one that by example will motivate others around you to “step up” and do the same…if you truly love doing these things for others-then do so- if it is a burden on you-then don’t…God knows your heart and it’s the joy and love in it that helps and heals others…you can’t do that if you feel burdened and resentful or fearful…live in the moment and enjoy each one…and you can do that wherever God places you-lose the guilt and the fear…whatever time and comfort you bring to those you visit is a blessing to both of you…if you feel a need to do more then talk to others about visiting too-or call the families to tell them how you feel more frequent visits on their part would help this individual…then put it in God’s hands and live your life…hope this helps…God Bless


God asks us of nothing beyond our ability, because He created us and our abilities.


This goes along very much with what the woman from church told me. Or what she made ME tell MYSELF. She asked me what advice I would give her if she was in my situation. The two important things that came up were a) don’t worry about it when you really can’t know how things are going to be, that is, as you imply too: Have faith! You don’t know now how things will go on. And b) maybe try to get in touch with the relatives, and/or have the visitor service of the church send somebody once a week.

I went to a mass last night too and the priest there talked about how we have to treat others as we would have them treat us. And I felt in my heart that if I was that woman I would not want ME to worry like that or to feel I have to stay here all the time etc.

One of the main worries I had also was that if I even think about or make plans about going away from here, maybe for longer, that would be wrong in some way because it implies thinking that the woman might die soon. Of course with somebody so sick that is a real possibility, but I asked myself, am I allowed to even think like that? Like her death might be a relief???

The woman at church said my thinking came across to her not as selfish, but as scrupulous.
Plus, we agreed on that too: Something else could change in the woman’s situation as well, another door might open for her, if I hope that I can go away that does NOT mean that I hope she will die.

Those thoughts can get out of control in me. This is very typical for me.

About loving what I am doing: I do!!! I want to do these things. The fear thoughts start when I start feeling too (?) obligated. I could just continue what I am doing without feeling the fear. Do good things wherever I am. Without feeling that if I visit somebody somewhere that means I will have to stay by their side until they die.

I want to feel love. Love.

And I hope it’s ok to have my own dreams too. If I feel drawn to move somewhere else again maybe. I have been having that feeling, like I am being drawn somewhere. But hey, God only knows, right!!:slight_smile: What is meant to be will be anyway.

I guess it was mostly that I started feeling so obligated again, sometimes my thoughts pick up one specific thing and try to make a fear out of it. For lack of better words. Especially if something is involved that gives me joy. I am good at finding things that make me feel guilty about what gives me joy. If I have a dream, a way I feel may be there for me to go… then suddenly the thought: No maybe I have to stay here anyway and am not even allowed to dream about going away because that might be the same as hoping that woman might die… !!!:shrug: I think those are obsessively scrupulous thoughts? I want to just love the woman, and still think about the other things I feel drawn or led to do.




My dear friend

Love your neighbour.
Everyone is your neighbour.
Neighbours are everywhere.
You choose which neighbours to help, but think and pray before leaving one. Perhaps seek spiritual direction as you seem a bit scrupulous here.

God bless you:thumbsup::slight_smile:


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