25 November 2008

End of the Satire (Finally): Selfishness

I have finally arrived at the final stanza:
Yes, I am suffering.
Remind me of Hebrews 12:4

And it makes me happy,

Since I don't have it too bad.

Cause only Jesus had it worse than me.

If you remember, the whole main idea of this satire thing is to take any woeful feelings and exaggerate them to suffering, thereby exposing how ridiculous such feelings are. Along the way I have attempted to weave in concepts of simple living, because at the heart of both feeling sorry for yourself and of simple living is the issue of selfishness. I have argued that to seek simple living is to embrace love for God and love for neighbor, as one whose mind is focused on God and others (not self) will naturally have no desire to gather up earthly stuff or live luxuriously.

Now I come to another aspect of the problem, but at the heart the culprit remains selfishness. In this stanza I am talking about a tendency I have had. It's a tendency I believe many Christians fall for far too often. In our sad times, when life is difficult, we find comfort in the life of Christ; that our Savior is one "who in every respect has been tempted as we are" (Heb 4:15). God became man, and so identifies with the struggles of humans. Mainly this refers to our temptation to sin, but it goes further. I believe it is proper to find comfort when camping in a tent with a dew-frosted sweatshirt for a pillow to remember that my Lord had no place to lay his head. And so when I am sad and remember that Jesus shed his blood for me, I realize I have suffered no where near what he did, as Hebrews 12:4 suggests. Again, I think this is proper.

So where am I going with this? That final satirical line, "Cause only Jesus had it worse than me." You see, the tendency I refer to is to find comfort in Jesus' suffering and then end there. Feeling better about myself is not the end goal. This is where the selfishness creeps in. I must remember that there are in fact other human beings right at this very moment who literally have no place to lay their heads. So, yes, Jesus had it worse than me. But I have it far better than most people.

By no means do I wish to belittle the issues in your life. But for myself, I'd rather not request your prayer over my tight-scheduled, long-hour work week as I think it's selfish to feel that such a situation is all that bad. My attitude ought to be of extreme gratitude for even having a job. And it must be more than lip-service. Are there any in my community of believers without a job? If I am truly grateful, how will I reach out to them?

I will, Lord willing, continue to address these topics, just without the framework of the satire from now on.

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