February 23, 2004 @ 4:16 pm by sean
I’ve become more aware lately of how selfish we are in this country. I’d assume other countries and cultures are as well, but I don’t live in them and am not as easily able to observe them. I’m not sure where this came from, but I think it might be from a conversation Ryan and I had I think last Monday evening. We were talking about people on islands or places where the Gospel has not yet been heard, and how it is fair that they will go to Hell. I didn’t agree at first that they should, but then Ryan told me something I had been told before but never applied it to the situation; that it isn’t fair that we have been shown mercy. If we say it isn’t fair they go to Hell because they never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel, then fair is what we get and God takes away the mercy He has shown us. It isn’t fair that He shows us mercy. The law is written on all our hearts and since we have ignored that, we deserve Hell. I know it’s the same thing that has been preached for my whole life, I never thought about it in a non-selfish way. I only though, “Well, He showed me mercy, thanks! Maybe I’ll go to a country or two and tell them too.” But when I looked at it non-selfishly, I realized those people on remote islands and such are going to Hell because I am too lazy or comfotable or unmotivated or selfish or selfrightous to get off my ass and tell them.
I’ve been aware of the selfish-ness of our society before. I think everyone knows it by the label we have as a ‘country of excess’ while knowing full well not everyone is in excess. But it is more than material things. A few weeks ago Ryan came into my room while I was on the computer and he sat down and fell asleep. Then someone came in, knew he was sleeping, but woke him up because he needed to vaccuum. It wasn’t room check day, and I can’t think of anything that important that one would need to wake someone else, just so they can vaccuum. Why are we so concerned about ourselves? Obviously Ryan needed a nap, that is why he was sleeping, what is so important that he would need to be awaken? I think we can all find examples in our lives of seeing how selfishly people have acted, and maybe how we have acted just as selfishly ourselves. Do we stop to think if our music is too loud for someone else, if we are talking too much, if we are ignoring others needs, if our whistling is too loud, if we aren’t taking time to love other people? We do we think we should be loved when we love no one but ourselves?
It didn’t make sense to me that I have put myself in a spot where I am not able to go preach the Gospel to people before they have heard the Gospel. I can’t go to another country, I’m thousands of dollars in the hole because of school loans, and will be until I graduate and will be until I pay them off. For the majority of that time, I am unable to reach those people. Similarily, there are people driving cars that cost 50,000+ dollars, when if they had given the 1,800 dollars they paid for their navagation screen to someone who can’t keep their car running, they would have helped someone out immensly. I can’t afford the car I have, that is why I am so fortunate that my parents are. Almost every time something needs to be fixed on it, I almost run out of money. But how selfish are the people of this country that they want more for themselves and wish to live more comfortably, then to help someone who is suffering due to fiscal instability? A lot of it comes from selfrightous capitalism. We think that we have earned our money and other people obviously didn’t work hard enough to earn theirs. But when I see someone driving a brand new Mercedes-Benz, I don’t see them as someone who deserves that car or someone of higher society; I see them as a selfish, selfrightous hole of an ass. How can someone drive a nice car in good conscious when someone is starving to death not only in other countries, but in their own! How can someone not want to give a big ‘Fuck you!’ to them?
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a time when we are to reflect upon ourselves. The Bible talks about people repenting by wearing sackcloth and sprinkling ashes on their heads. The ashes in a cross signifies inner repentance or mourning, and a change of behavior. It is hypocritical to wear the ashes and then not follow the corrosponding behavior. “We are to fast from our self-justifications, complaints, blame and accusation of others and take a good, hard, honest look at ourselves”(from an article on Ash Wendesday). But we are to do this not only on an individual basis, but as a community as well. And I think we can look at how as a community, even as a Christian community and individual, how increadibly selfish we are with what God has blessed us with. God has definately blessed some with much more than others, but why not bless others with what God has blessed us with? How can we live in clean conscious in our good cars, comfortable, houses nice luxuries and concern only for ourselves and those immeadiately around us when people are starving and hardly getting by? We are then no better than people we see as evil. As Jesus says, “don’t ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners'”? Don’t ‘sinners’ care for those they love? “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Your attitude should be the SAME as that of Christ Jesus…”
Read Sarah’s comment too. And Elise’s.