David C Cook COVID-19 Response

High School

It’s All about Me

Lesson 7 


Spring 2022


By: RLD Editorial Team 


May 01, 2022

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Lesson Focus:

Selfishness destroys relationships.

Bible Basis:

Genesis 25:24-34; 27:1-45

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access
  • Whiteboard and markers (or screenshared document)

Summary & Links:

Your teens will consider selfishness and then examine personal behavior in light of their conclusions.

Memory Verse:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
—Philippians 2:3

Step 1:

Your teens will consider selfishness and then examine personal behavior in light of their conclusions.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Whiteboard and markers (or screenshared document)

As your teens enter the classroom, have them write a response to this question on the whiteboard: What is the most selfish act you have ever witnessed? (If your class is meeting online, invite students to share their thoughts as you record them on the screenshared document.) Be sure your students don’t include names in their responses. Their answers might include something like someone brake-checking them on the highway or cutting in line when they’ve been standing there a really long time. Once everyone has had a chance to respond, read through a few non-relational responses (save responses about relationships for later). 

We can be pretty selfish people sometimes, can’t we? So many things in our society—from an “I-want-it-the-way-I-want-it” cup of coffee, to choices that impact the environment come to mind. Here’s one disgusting example:

Share this video with your teens [3:18]:
Miami-Dade Sewer System Being Clogged Up By Flushable Wipes

The waste management spokesperson agreed that while throwing wipes away rather than flushing them may not feel as convenient. However, throwing these items away creates less work for waste management workers who, after a lot of extra time and money, are throwing away your wipes for you. While it may feel like a more convenient choice at the time, selfishness in the way people dispose of wipes and similar items can cost other people a lot of extra time, money, and labor.

  • What are some other examples of decisions that may feel convenient but end up harming or inconveniencing other people? Why do you think it’s so easy to make choices without considering how those decisions will affect other people? (Allow teens to share their thoughts without using names. Accept all reasonable responses.)

Draw your students’ attention back to the whiteboard (or screenshared document). Now take note of responses that involved relationships; read some of those. Answers might range from someone’s little brother always taking the biggest piece of cake for himself to a boyfriend/girlfriend always choosing the movie they want to see without letting the other person choose occasionally, etc. If there aren’t a lot of relational examples on the board, ask for some now.

  • How do you think relationships are affected by this kind of behavior? (Answers will vary but may include: Relationships affected by selfishness are going to leave one or both parties angry; there is no love in that relationship, because love isn’t selfish; hurtful words will come sooner or later when someone acts selfishly; the relationship may actually be destroyed if selfish behaviors prevail.)

Selfishness—a desire to have things go your own way—in any form is destructive to relationships.

  • Can you think of a time when selfishness destroyed or greatly hindered a relationship? Tell us about it. (Allow students to share without mentioning names or too many details. Answers might include a divorce, situations where siblings end up not speaking to each other all of their adult lives for something that occurred in childhood, or friends who wouldn’t reconcile. Be prepared to share your own experience.)

In this “it’s-all-about-me” society we live in, selfishness is commonplace.  But selfishness is nothing new. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about a seriously troubled relationship between twin brothers where selfishness tore a family apart.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Index cards
  • Pens/pencils

If your class is meeting online, invite students to bring index cards and pens/pencils to class.

Today we learned that selfishness destroys every relationship it touches. In Isaac and Rebekah’s family, every member was affected by the selfish actions that took place. Esau, who had selfishly chosen not to build a relationship with Jacob, ended up deceived and saddened. Rebekah lost her favorite son when he had to run away from Esau. Esau lost his birthright to his selfish demands for food and lost his peace of mind to the agony of bitterness. Jacob lost his home, his relationship with his mom, the respect of his father, and gained the threats and anger of his brother. We can only imagine the strain all of this put on elderly Isaac who was lied to and manipulated by the people who were supposed to love him the most.

Hand out index cards and pens/pencils to your students (or invite students to have them ready at home). Ask them to find a spot in the room where they can think and write undisturbed. Ask them to spend some time thinking about ways they have acted selfishly in relationships with others. This could be as simple as always wanting to be the first in line for something to more complicated manipulations or lies to promote themselves over someone else. How have these selfish actions affected others? Ask them to make a note of anything that comes to mind.

Challenge your students to take a good, hard look at their list this week and select at least one act of selfishness they can try to redeem by acting selflessly toward that person. Explain to your students that this could be easier said than done as a truly selfless act will not involve anything that will promote them in any way. Be sure they know that a “look at me, I’m acting selflessly” attitude will negate the purpose of the exercise. Instead, encourage them to pray, asking God for strength to live selflessly. Be sure to ask next week if anyone would like to share about their experience. Close in prayer.

Spread the word

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