Sunday, June 10, 2012

Self-Service: A Basic Human Failing

We moved to Vancouver in 1979 as I registered in Regent College for the MDiv program. We found a low rental apartment in False Creek, a beautifully designed waterfront development along the shoreline. Alex was five years old and started school while we lived there, starting in the False Creek Elementary School.

As elementary schools go, it was charmingly designed in the local waterfront style, but otherwise was as little known as are thousands of other elementary schools in Canada. That is, until Luka Magnotta made it a target of his horrific cannibalism.

As outrageous as his actions are, they are perhaps less loathsome when set against the defiant rage of dictators determined to hang on to power. Modern examples like Libya’s Ghadafi, Egypt’s Mubarak, and currently, Syria’s Bashar Assad come to mind.

But in each of these dictator’s reign, there were, and still are, surprisingly many that support each of these dictators. The violence and slaughter they cause is less of a concern to their adherents than their personal interests—often better preserved by the dictator. 

Which makes me wonder if our own attitude to life is much different. Certainly better than the extremes Magnotta and cruel dictators go to; but the difference is in the extent, not in the nature of the offence. How far are our selections of politicians or associations, or our daily routine dictated by our desired interests, with little or no regard for those less fortunate?

The Christian virtue of preferring others above ourselves may need examination. Where does our journey for personal comfort blind us to others’ basic human needs? But Jesus’ affirmation that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many," is our watchword, (Matthew 20:28).

If we cross the line to serving ourselves, we may be keeping company with those we detest the most!

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