Many of us were taught the rules for using these first person pronouns in a place called grammar school.
If I recall correctly:
- Me is used with an adverb, as in “Please come with me.”
- I is the subject of the sentence, as “I am going to the store.”
- Use myself to speak of something done to or for ones self or when emphasizing your own role in the sentence, as “Well, speaking for myself, I’d rather go alone. I like to do it by myself.”
In the world of Twitter and IM speak, only a few old-fashioned sticklers even notice the misuse and random interchange of these words.
Unfortunately for me, I am one of those dinosaurs who hears “myself” or “I” used in place of the correct “me,” as if it were the sound of fingernails on a blackboard.
I’m trying to loosen up and go with the flow, but it’s hard. I was mentally talking myself down off my grammatical high horse recently when my mind wandered and it occurred to me that dwelling overmuch on me, myself and I is a metaphor for the “me first” culture we live in. The overuse, if not misuse, of first person references might be a symptom of self-absorption.
When I think of the best example of self-denial in the Bible, I think of the Apostle Paul. From the Demascus road on, Paul had only one first person: Jesus. Paul’s life was poured out to bring the saving knowledge of Christ’s resurrection to others.
Paul was not conscious of himself. Oswald Chambers described him as being “recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose— to proclaim the gospel.”
If I am only interested in me, myself and I, God cannot deliver me … nor can I serve him while my interest is merely in my own character.
For myself, rather than worrying about other folks’ use of language rules, I will pray to become recklessly abandoned enough to bring the Gospel with me.