A Meme is an amazing tool. You can use it to inform (though not very thoroughly), incite, encourage, or crack funny. Seriously, some Memes are just belly laughers. They’re fun and they’re funny. They are not, however, a great source for philosophy, theology, or personal improvement. You can say a lot with a Meme. Maybe not enough, but a lot.
You can also get some very poor advice vis a vis the Meme, especially in the category of relationships.
The statement I am about to make is not scientific. I do not have data to support it; just experience and observation from my itty bitty place in the universe. Here goes: Memes I have encountered regarding relationship advice tend toward advising you to put yourself and your needs first.
Put the monkey on the back of the other person to put you first, too.
That is crap advice. It is not how any of this actually works. It is, however, how we frail, selfish, and sinful humans have worked it out…with the help of the father of this world.
Slithery Advisory AHEAD
“Put yourself first” was the first bad advice any human ever received and when she took that counsel, it ruined everything for everyone.
Here is the official record:
I get that many do not take this story literally. They prefer to see it as an allegory or even a fable. I am not here to debate that point (I am a literalist), but in either case, the conclusion is the same.
We gather from comparative Scriptures that Satan is the Serpent in Genesis 3.
If you boil it down, the Serpent told Eve that she was in a toxic relationship. God was making it all about Himself. He did not have her best interest at heart. What she needed to do was do what was right for her…put her aspirations, ambitions, perceived needs, interests above anyone else’s. If she would do that and eat the fruit God said was poison, then she would be empowered. She would be in a relationship of equality.
Just do you. Just focus on what you need or want. That is the ticket. If the other person has a problem with that, then they aren’t right for you anyway. God included.
“Me first” is a popular Meme theme, an ancient philosophy, and absolutely detrimental to any relationship.
Jesus to the Pharisees ( a religious group that had twisted the faith to make it about themselves):
Satan knew it from the beginning. Imagine that the sworn enemy of God and good is preparing the first nuke he plans to hit mankind with. He is going to blow this Eden thing, this tranquility, and peace, this weedless garden, this deathless life to smithereens. He knows he has to swing for the fences. His first play has to be one with catastrophic consequences.
What is his play?
He twists God’s words to suit his own theology. He appeals to the same latent urge that got him kicked out of Heaven. Pride!
You got to take care of you, Eve! God is just all about Himself. He doesn’t want you to be the best you can be. Think of yourself first.
That was his strategy. It worked then and it is the most pervasive and poisonous lie to this day, the one that destroys marriages, dissolves friendships, derails partnerships, and damages every kind of relationship it touches.
Has the father of lies become the father of bad relationship advice Memes? Is there any doubt?
Satan wants you to believe that love is all about what you get from it when it is actually about what you give to it.
God’s formula is the antithesis of the Serpent’s. He says that each should put the other’s needs and interests above their own. I have never seen or heard of this approach failing in a marriage, a partnership, a friendship, or any other relationship. The trouble always begins with “me first.” How does infidelity work? By a partner putting himself/herself and their “needs” first. How does an argument begin and evolve into a nuclear situation? By each person going “me first” on the other.
“For God so loved the world that he gave…” John 3:16
Someone said, and I believe it is true, “You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.”
Put THAT in a Meme