Unfortunately in most churches selfishness is quite overrated. This may seem like a bold statement but it will make sense as I explain. In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus said, “‘30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” We are to love others as much as we love ourselves. Obviously we must love ourselves. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself. Nothing is wrong with wanting good things for yourselves. In fact Jesus even motivates us to work hard because we know that we will receive a reward [Colossians 3:23-24]! This is often what churches label selfishness: wanting good things for yourself. But if you think about it, this view doesn’t really make sense.
Sinful selfishness is when you are selfish to the point of being unloving. This is evident in the commandment Jesus quoted, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sinful selfishness is when you love yourself more than your neighbor to the point of doing something or taking something in an unloving way. Sinful selfishness is when I take the last cookie and consciously know that others have not had a cookie. ‘Righteous’ selfishness is when I take the last cookie after making sure every one who wanted one got one.