Friday, January 23, 2009

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Talking to a friend the other day I said something that I had never even thought about before. But upon reflection, it turns out to be very true. Everything in this life is against you. Everyone you know (and even those that you don't) are working to bring you down.

This is a sad statement, but unfortunately I am afraid that history, and my own experience, bear this out. To begin with, the historic foundation of the Christian faith asserts that all people are essentially sinners. People are evil. People sin. And not only that, they want to sin. (There are many passages that support this. Begin with Romans 3.10, 23; 6.23.) The normal spiritual state of people is that they sin.

In the most basic terms we can see this in our desire for self-preservation. Generally speaking, humans are selfish. We want to look out for ourselves, take care of ourselves and protect ourselves. This selfishness flies in the face of the teachings of Jesus who said that we should think of ourselves last. We are to put the needs and interests of others above our own. Whenever we do not think of others first, we sin.

We see this self-interest at work every day. It is easy to point it out in others, but honesty compels us to confess to our own selfishness as well. We are more concerned with us, than with them.

And all of that brings us to our premise. Everyone is more concerned about themselves and their needs than they are about you. It is a harsh reality, but one we must consider. But this causes us a great amount of confusion. Taking it seriously will cause us conflict. For if I am to survive in this world, I must look out for myself. After all, no one else is looking out for me. But when I look out for my own needs I only exacerbate the problem.

So here is a simple solution for beginning the process of making the world a nicer place.
  1. Care about other people. Whether they care for you or not, you should care for them.
  2. Be careful to not get yourself run-over. Take care of your own needs because no one else will.
  3. Encourage others to think about making things better.
  4. Consciously make decisions based on more criteria than your own needs.
  5. Help others who are hurting or down-trodden.

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