Friday, February 17, 2012
P4E.233 Love = Self Sacrifice Part 10
I am the last person who should be writing about self sacrificial love, because I have so little experience. What will follow, then, are humble suggestions; a few from my poor experience and some from my imagination.
Continuing with the idea of letting others go first, there is a lot of precedence for this in Scripture. This idea enmeshes the actions in the world with the spiritual consequences of those actions. So, when Jesus responds to the rich young ruler's inquiry about how he can enter the kingdom of heaven by telling him to sell his earthly goods, give the proceeds to the poor and follow Him, He's really giving the rich young ruler a path to Spiritual belief. A path to expressing love. What Jesus is saying is: put others first in a worldly sense to express love and believe that by doing so, you will gain Spiritual benefits. You will be on the path to the kingdom of heaven.
Don't feel bad if this strikes you as counter-intuitive. In spite of being directly under Jesus' influence, His Disciples found it hard to embrace self-sacrifice, as well. They bickered over who would be greatest in Christ's kingdom. They wanted to be seated one on the right and one on the left of Jesus' throne. These were positions of great honor and they wanted to occupy them with Jesus. Jesus consistently counselled against these aspirations. He said that we should resist the urge to put ourselves in a position of honor, because we risked the disgrace of being asked to move out of the way for someone more deserving of that honor. Instead, He suggested that we take a humble position, which would allow for the opportunity to be moved to a position of higher honor. That could not be the motive for taking the humble position, but only as a gesture of true humility.
We have had our shining examples of selflessness. Mother Theresa. Ghandi. Dr. Rick Hodes (if you've never heard of him, check out Making the Crooked Straight). Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Jesus, Himself. But, when we idolize or immortalize these, we make them inaccessible. We set them apart from ourselves and believe that we could never approach their selflessness. But, we shouldn't excuse ourselves from making the effort to emulate these examples. We can't just throw up our hands and say, "Well, I could never be like that, so I'm not even going to try." I use them as encouragement to go forth and sacrifice my Self. To pursue humility. To crucify my ego. To consider others more important than myself. To put others first. Especially my wife.