Posts Tagged 'Self-Righteousness'

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The Worst Is My Being Alone


 

Freedom and acceptance can’t be found by diving to the depths of self.


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It’s All Sound and Fury Until You Find Your True Self in Jesus


 


“Give your life to Jesus.”

That one sentence was a major hangup for me to becoming a Christian. Though I had “prayed the prayer” in a youth group, in my heart I had said, “I don’t want to give my life to Jesus. My life is mine!” In truth, I was afraid of losing my identity.

From Shakespeare’s words, “To thine own self be true,” to Oprah Winfrey, espousing how to stay true to ourselves, we are surrounded by this notion of discovering and keeping our true identity. Therein lies the challenge: Who am I, really? And what does it really mean to be true to myself?

One popular interpretation seems to be to just say whatever we want to say. In essence, just take the filter off. At least one presidential candidate believes this, touting the fact that he is just “telling it like it is.” But is that really the case? Does simply saying whatever is on my mind mean that I am being authentic — being true to myself?

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Self-absorbed Meritocracy: How Do You Solve This Problem with Maria?


 


“I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it.”

With these words, tennis superstar and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova announced to the world that she had tested positive for a substance recently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Like many of her competitors, I was impressed that Sharapova owned her mistake. The path of denial and shifting blame is well-worn, and Maria took the road less traveled.

On first glance, that made all the difference. On second glance, cynicism shaded my view. I became suspicious of any noble motives in Sharapova’s confession. I concluded it was a brilliant strategy to get ahead of the narrative and preserve her endorsements. Maybe it was. Today, honestly, I don’t care. It’s just refreshing that she confessed. For a moment, Maria was countercultural. Maybe it’s good to stop analyzing the whys and wherefores and simply celebrate that.

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The Mark of Cain: The Power of Empathy in a Self-focused World


 


I was at home with my kids one day while they were watching an episode of PBS’ Daniel Tiger. For those unacquainted, Daniel Tiger has taken over where Mr. Fred Rogers left off. He has great friends like O the Owl, Katerina Kittycat, Prince Wednesday and others that help him learn how to be a great neighbor and friend. And he wears an awesome red sweater just like ol’ Mr. Rogers. Won’t you be his neighbor?

Anyway, as I was watching an episode with my kids, this song came on:

I loved the song and hated the song all at once. I loved it because it helped me get my kids to share their trains and dinosaurs with each other. It gets to the heart of Cain’s question to God: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). The first non-Garden sin was the sin of not caring about God’s agenda and, therefore, other’s well-being. Cain brushed off God’s question about where his brother was with the retort, “Don’t know, don’t care.” This attitude often pops up in our home.

But I also hated it because thinking about other’s feelings takes up roughly .04 percent of my mind’s daily activity. It’s laughable to think that I could faithfully model this behavior for my kids. If I’m honest, thinking about others and empathizing with them is usually hounded and silenced by other louder voices.

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Brian Williams Eaten by the 'Me Monster,' Film at 11


 


Last week, Brian Williams was suspended for six months without pay because of "embellishments" and "exaggerations" that he made while anchoring NBC’s “Nightly News.” Williams admitted that he lied about what happened while traveling with a helicopter convoy in Iraq in 2003. He claimed that the helicopter he was in had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, when, in fact, a different helicopter in the convoy had been hit. This incident has prompted others in the media to question the truthfulness of other claims made by Williams.

And so the life of a man whose job was to report news became the news.

Williams’ predecessor at NBC, Tom Brokaw, “thought he was a skilled broadcaster but that he was inclined toward self-aggrandizement.” This is the natural, fallen state of humanity. We tirelessly promote ourselves because we think more highly of ourselves than we ought. In our fallen humanity, we see ourselves as the center of the universe, and all conversations must somehow loop back to us. This is the “Me Monster” that Brian Regan brilliantly portrays in a comedic sketch.

There is an irony in undertaking a job where all you do is talk about other people and the news they’re making. For Williams, how can you talk about others for years and not want to squeeze yourself into your work? Talking about others is tiresome to our natural self; we want to be at the center of worship, not others (let alone God). We want the news to be about us. So, we get stuck casting ourselves as the lead news story, even when we’re not.

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