Age of the Self-Absorbed
The spiritual and emotional vacuum we see in the world today reminds me of a 1994 film THE NEW AGE. Katherine and Peter Witner, once very successful as a graphics designer and talent agent, suddenly experience economic downturn. Scene by scene we watch them rise on their skills and talents, fall over their pride, succumb to self-centered rage, distract themselves and others from discovering their emptiness, and unwilling or unable to recognize the needs and feelings of others. They use charm to hide their lack of empathy and conscience, exploit others to advance themselves, and boost their flagging and inflated self-image with good-looking clothes, attractive friends and lovers and other self- aggrandizing mirrors. This film was a relentless but powerful story about greed, shallowness and emotional and moral bankruptcy. It left viewers shaken, unwilling to believe that what they saw was as real and common as they knew it was.
Personality disorders, such as, narcissism, megalomania, and sociopathology, trigger wars. Why? Because power hunger is one of the fruits of these disorders. Violent power systems are built into our world on many levels. Yet, trying to overthrow violence with violence will perpetrate more violence.Our government and political leaders will not bring peace as they are all an inherent part of these violent systems.
There is only one way to establish a peaceful world and that is on an individual level. We do not need to reconcile the Iraq war and Easter because Easter is the answer. We must consciously and purposefully choose to establish peace within ourselves. Our greatest need is to be reconciled with God.
First, we need to stop looking to the world as our power source and become a more compassionate people. The Bible describes God's empathy in Phillippians 2: "Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had." Next, Easter is not about self- aggrandizement but dying to self. It is a time of reflection, a time to let go of destructive thoughts and relationships, a time to lift ourselves into the Christ consciousness and start anew. Easter is about following the example of Jesus so we can get to where he was.
The Gift of Empathy
"Many of our problems are created by ourselves based on divisions due to ideology, religion, race, economic status, or other factors. The time has come for us to think on a deeper level, on a human level and appreciate and respect our sameness as human beings." ---His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The cross is a sign of love. Jesus could have said, "Father, I changed my mind." He didn't. He loved us that much. All that was done on the cross was done for us. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son;that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
It is an Easter of love every time we remember that we are called only to love. Celebrating God and the powerful model Jesus gave must go far beyond Sunday worship. It must become a way of life. "With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all." (Acts 4:33).
Lloyd Ogilvie in LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS said that the most powerful proof of the resurrection is the change in the disciples. "Dull, defeated people became fearless, adventuresome leaders. Cowards became courageous, the timid became triumphant; the inept did the impossible."