Our Basic Problem - Being Bound By Self-Pride and/or Fear and/or Selfishness...


"There is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend..."

(John 15:13)

Examples from the physical realm: Asking a physically blind person to look at a sunset and appreciate its beauty is irrational - they don’t have the capacity to do that.  Asking a crippled person who cannot walk to please walk to the store and get some milk, is irrational - they don’t have the capacity to do that. 

An example from the metaphysical intellectual realm: To ask a five year old child to read and understand Einstein’s advanced works on the theory of relatively, is irrational - they don’t have the capacity to do that.

An example from the metaphysical moral realm:  Asking a person - who is bound up in bitterness towards another person who they believe has wronged them and is the source of their bitterness – to immediately forgive the offender, is irrational - they don’t have the capacity to do that.

An example from the metaphysical spiritual realm:  Asking a person to seriously and sincerely listen to Joshua/Jesus of Nazareth when they have not placed their faith in him, is irrational – they don’t have the capacity to do that.  Oh, they can play a game in the intellectual realm and learn many things about Joshua in their mind, but they will not listen to him, nor believe him nor do what he says because they don’t have the capacity - faith.  Unlike the physical limitation examples above, in this case, the capacity can be chosen or rejected by our free will…we have a choice.

We, as human beings, have limitations.  More importantly, we have aspects to our nature that ‘cripple’ us or ‘blind’ us or make us far less than what we were intended to be.  The three aspects to our normal human nature that bind us and blind us and seek to control us are self-pride, fear and selfishness.  I challenge the reader to look at the conflict and human-caused wrongness in the world – including the conflict and wrongness that is occurring in your life with those you interact with or have relationships with – and find the root cause of the conflict or wrongness.  If you do this well, you will arrive - in the vast majority of the cases - at self-pride, and fear and selfishness as the root causes of the wrongness or conflict or hurt.

If we cannot find a way to overcome those three things, we will be part of humanity’s problem rather than part of the solution no matter how much our self-pride will spur us to object to the contrary.  Said another way, if we are guided by self-pride or fear or selfishness, we simply are not good people as Joshua defines a good person.  Ironically and sadly, self-pride will usually prevent us from admitting this simple truth!

What is self-pride?  It is believing at the person level, that I am more valuable, more important, more ‘enlightened’, more worthy or better than other people.  Or, that I am a person who has most important things about life figured out better than most people, which results in an unwillingness to learn or consider new beliefs.  Or that I deserve more good things than other people.  Or that I am more worthy to get this thing – material thing, power, authority, etc. – than others.  Here are some examples of how people - who are making decisions or treating others based upon self-pride - think or express themselves.

  • ‘I am not going to listen to you because I believe I already have a better understanding of the topics you would like to discuss’.
  • ‘You can’t be part of this team/group because you are not worthy or don’t have anything significantly valuable to contribute.’
  • ‘I am just better than you – a have such and such a degree or I scored this on this test, etc. - and thus you ought to so what I say.’
  • ‘I’ve already looked into that and I believe I have the answers or the answers cannot be known so I don’t want to waste my time talking about that.’ (this could also be fear)
  • ‘Are you going to tell me you know more than that famous subject matter expert?  Who are you?’
  • ‘We are just better than you and thus you ought to submit to us or do what we think is good and right.’
  • ‘You ought to just give us that (land, material things) because we deserve it for these reasons and you don’t, and if you don’t we are justified in taking it from you forcefully.
  • ‘Why am I a leader - manager / executive / minister / senator / bishop / captain, etc.?  Because I deserve it and am more worthy than you.’
  • ‘Why would I want to do that…that is beneath me.’
  • ‘You want me to consider befriending that person?  You must be kidding.’
  • ‘You believe what about God?  I have been through seminary and thus I am better equipped to know what is true…’
  • ‘The people elected me and thus it proves I am more worthy than you to be a leader.’
  • ‘I’ve got a bachelor’s degree (or masters or doctorate) in that area so who are you to question my knowledge in that area?’
  • ‘You didn’t even attend college…what makes you think you can make a significant contribution to this discussion or work?’
  • ‘Oh, I would never do or say that to someone…’
  • ‘I am popular, you are not, thus you don’t deserve the things I get due to my popularity’.
  • ‘Don’t you know that people with my skin color are just naturally more beautiful people?’.
  • ‘You have not been to college?  Oh well, I guess you won’t do much with your life’.
  • ‘Our church is the largest, most successful church in the city so we are receiving God’s blessings more than others’.
  • ‘My pastor graduated at the top of his class at Ivory Tower Seminary so you really ought to listen to him about God – I mean who are you to question him?’.
  • ‘Don’t you know that I am from the United States, and we have the best nation on the planet?’
  • ‘Oh, my child(ren) did this or that…they accomplished this or that…they are the president of this or that…they are a doctor or a lawyer…’ (women often express this vicarious self-pride, and the unstated thought is, ‘because I am such a wonderful parent’)
  • ‘Oh, I need to post that I went to the bathroom on Facebook because I am so important and all my ‘friends’ need to know about all the important things I did today.’
  • ‘Oh, that poor soul…he has so few material things’.
  • ‘God has blessed us with all this money, and so we must be doing things right in his sight’.

Of course, there are clever ways to soften or sugar coat the above utterances, but that cleverness or political correctness does not change the fact, no matter how ‘humbly’ those things might be stated.

 

What is fear?  It is a perception that something I value is at risk of being lost, damaged or destroyed.  Here are some examples of how people who are making decisions based upon fear think or express themselves.

  • ‘I can’t leave him – I know he treats me badly, but I am afraid of the unknown…at least I know where I stand here.’
  • ‘But if I give that away, I might not have enough…’
  • ‘I can’t walk away from that job…I might end up on the street…’
  • ‘I am not going to make that decision because I am afraid I might lose this or that…’
  • ‘If I say that true thing, then I am afraid people will not like me any more…’
  • ‘I can’t believe that because I am afraid I will be rejected from the comfortable social circles I am part of…’
  • ‘I can’t do (or say that, or believe that) because these people whose approval I value will no longer accept me…’
  • ‘But if I don’t treat that person this way, I am afraid I will not get what I want from them…’ (also selfishness)
  • ‘I’m not going to give up control of those people because I am afraid I will be worthless without it…’
  • ‘If I change in that way, I don’t know what my life will be like and I am afraid of change or what it might bring…’
  • ‘I simply do not want to consider that because I fear what it might mean…’
  • ‘I’m just not going to go there…’
  • ‘I am not generous because I must save up for retirement or else I won’t have adequate funds for the last years of my life.’
  • ‘There is no way I am going to believe that, because if I believe that, that means all these people I love or respect are wrong and I can’t face that possibility and what that would mean.’
  • ‘I need the material security that my parent’s provide so I can’t believe or do that even though it is right because they will punish or reject me…’
  • ‘Jesus can’t mean that…that would mean I need to….’
  • ‘I am afraid to change because I don’t know what that will mean for the way I want to live my life.’
  • ‘All those people can’t be wrong…I am afraid to consider that possibility and its implications.’
  • ‘I’m afraid if I don’t look like that, I will not be attractive to others.’
  • ‘Jesus can’t mean that…that would mean these people I esteem would be wrong and that would mean…’
  • ‘If I don’t please that person, they will reject me and then what?’
  • ‘If I don’t get that job, I’ll be out on the street.’
  • ‘There is just no way I will consider that.’

 

What is selfishness?  It is believing that my wants are more important than others…or stated another way, I am not going to take actions that cause me to lose something I consider valuable…my decisions are going to be based on what I gain or get out of it.  Here are some examples of how people who are making decisions or treating others based upon selfishness think or express themselves.

  • ‘I know you think that is a good idea, but what do I get out of it?’
  • ‘If there is nothing in it for me/us, then it just doesn’t make sense to pursue it…’
  • ‘Why should I give that away, are you crazy?’
  • ‘If I don’t take care of myself, who will?’
  • ‘I need my personal space, for that is only good and right and you ought to respect that…’
  • ‘I only have one life to live, and I am going to live it to its fullest and that means having fun and spending money on myself’
  • ‘Hey, we deserve this…’
  • ‘That seems like the right thing to do - look at what we lose if we don’t do that…’
  • ‘I have to look after number one…’
  • ‘I just have to do what it takes in order to get what I want…I cannot be concerned about its impact on others…’
  • ‘I deserve some personal time…that other person is going to have to take care of themselves…’
  • ‘I know it seems selfish, but if you really look at it, it is for the greater good…’
  • ‘I worked hard for that and so I have no obligation to share it with others…’
  • ‘It’s a dog-eat-dog world – you need to take care of yourself…’
  • ‘Sometimes, we just have to take care of ourselves and trust God to take care of the other person…’
  • ‘Don’t call me selfish – I am just living out survival of the fittest…’
  • ‘At the end of the day, if I don’t take care of myself, no one else will…’
  • ‘It all depends upon your perspective…maybe taking from others is what will be best for them in the end…’

These examples are merely a small sampling of statements and justifications that are thought and uttered billions – perhaps trillions - of times each day in various forms by the people of the earth.  Perhaps you have made statements like these or have thought them? 

Here are some examples of the Christian or biblians response to the disciple of Joshua repeating Joshua’s truths that the Christian does not agree with…

Example 1:

  • ‘You think you know more than leader /pastor /bishop /scholar /author so-and-so?  Who do you think you are?’

This is an example of the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.  It is a pride based objection not based on reason.  The proper reaction to hearing something different would be, “Oh, that is a real and interesting difference…I need to check that out”.

Example 2:

  • ‘I’ve read the bible many times, studied it for many years, and I know what it says and you are wrong.’

This is an example of the logical fallacy of appeal to expert opinion.  It is a pride based objection not based on reason.  The proper reaction would be to take one of the “truths” the disciple is stating, and provide reasons why it is wrong.

Example 3:

  • ‘Are you saying that all the leaders of Christian religion are wrong.’

This is an example of the logical fallacy of argument from incredulity.  It is a pride based objection not based on reason.  The proper reaction would be to consider what Joshua of Nazareth said, find the quote to validate it is accurate and in context, and research the claim to see if it is true.

Self-pride and fear and selfishness oftentimes work together to keep us blind, in darkness and unable to advance on becoming a better human being.  For example, if I am afraid to go on a boat due to my fear of drowning, I might say to the person who is offering to take me on a boat, ‘well, I really don’t care for that type of boat’.  Self-pride prevents me from admitting my fear, and causes me to provide an excuse rather than admit the simple truth that I am afraid of drowning.  The person might have a good reason to take me on the boat – perhaps to transfer me to an island where I could help people – but my fear causes my pride to provide an excuse for my selfishness!

Self-pride and fear and selfishness are ‘enemies’ of two very important aspects to human life – love and reason.  All three work against our ability to love other people.  And all three work against reason to determine what is true and right.  And without practicing love, knowing truth and acting rightly, we are truly falling short of being what we were intended to be as human beings…we are failing at life itself!

The simple truth is that people who live according to their natural nature of self-pride or fear or selfishness are the reason and cause for most of the suffering, coldness, injustice, pain, neglect, discord, conflict, abuse and violence – in short, loveless-ness - that occurs in the world each day.  I challenge the reader to think this through and consider the possibility that you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution…and then ask, ‘how can I overcome and be free of my nature of self-pride and fear and selfishness and the hurt that causes other people?’

Can you really experience this world and watch the news and say, “Oh, people are doing well”?  Is your standard so low (or in reality you have no standard to judge such things), or are you in such a self-made bubble of self-pride and/or fear and/or selfishness that you refuse to see things how they really are?  Perhaps your standard to judge how YOUR life is going is, “If I am comfortable, well fed and entertained, all is well in the world”.  That kind of thinking is the epitome of a selfish life…a life with no consideration for others…a life lived in the darkness of self-pride and fear and selfishness…a life without any or very little true love…a ‘life’ that will lead to self-condemnation and destruction…a ‘life’ that forfeits Life everlasting.

Is that the kind of life you want to live?  Do you really want to miss the most important aspect to human life?  Are you really sure there is no one who will hold us accountable for how we live the life we are given?  Are you certain that by ignoring and denying the Standard we were given you will be excused from being accountable?  Do you really want to reject reason and thus deny the simple truths in this section?  I urge you not to do that and instead have a truly open mind, meaning you are not afraid to consider new things…meaning that you are not afraid to look at the Light…

Please, enter into his Life and come, join the Peaceful Revolution!

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