We all know that language is constantly evolving. Here is my understanding of the new definition for several familiar English words in prevalent use today:
Liar: Someone who does not assent to my understanding of reality
Cheater: Someone who appears to have circumstances more favorable than mine who has not yet assented to yield their advantage to me
Truth: The understanding of circumstances that best suits my needs at the time
Justice: 1) Seeing all the cheaters suffer; 2) Getting the opportunity to make someone else’s circumstances worse than mine
What do all these new definitions have in common? They are all egocentric. These concepts are no longer defined by an absolute standard, but instead are defined by comparison with the speaker’s condition.
Narcissism is a related psychological concept. I’ve done almost zero research on this, but I propose that US society (collectively and individually) is suffering from some form of egocentricity or narcissism.
Check this list of narcissistic traits:
*An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
*Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
*A lack of psychological awareness
*Difficulty with empathy
*Problems distinguishing the self from others
*Hypersensitivity to any sleights or imagined insults
*Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt (if you’re having trouble envisioning this one, picture the response of any recently arrested public figure)
*Flattery towards people who admire and affirm him or her
*Detesting those who do not admire him or her
*Using other people without considering the cost to them of his or her doing so
*Pretending to be more important than he or she is
*Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating his or her achievements
*Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
See our culture in these descriptions? See your friends, co-workers, neighbors?
If you don’t, you’re probably wasting your time reading this.
If you have this really heavy feeling in your gut right now, welcome to my reality.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus says: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Deny yourself–no wonder Jesus is having trouble finding people who want to be his disciple in America today.
In the Garden, the Serpent tempted Eve by telling her that eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would make her eyes opened, and that she would be “like God, knowing good and evil.” I don’t believe this means she would be able to recognize good and evil. Rather, I believe she would be able to define good and evil. Eve didn’t get in trouble for breaking God’s rule, she tried to take his throne! She was tempted (and responded to the temptation) to define good and evil from her perspective, rather than accepting and submitting to God’s definition. And no, I’m not just beating up Eve; Adam was right there, and joined right in. And so have I.
A lot of people in our country today are fed up with “those other guys”. Some are actually mad enough to do something about it.
I’m fed up with me. I pray that Jesus will do something about it.