Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dalai Lama on Google+

One of the "trending items" on Google+ was this blurb from the Dalai Lama:

"Human beings are not intrinsically selfish, which isolates us from others. We are essentially social animals who depend on others to meet our needs. We achieve happiness, prosperity and progress through social interaction. Therefore, having a kind and helpful attitude contributes to our own and others' happiness."
 Not selfish?  I first thought of original sin, and began to dismiss his blurb as just another sappy, idealistic sentiment.   But he's not talking about that, really.  When he says "selfish", he means, "to one's self".  And I think he's onto something.  Is it possible for false teachers, even non-Christians, to tap into truth?  Sure! 

Christians would affirm that Man was created to be in relationships.  It is "not good for man to be alone", God says in Genesis.  So he created woman, and so he places us in families, communities, etc.  Jesus Christ, true God and perfect man, demonstrated this himself with his many heartfelt and personal social interactions.  "The disciple whom Jesus loved", for instance, or the calling of the 12 disciples and the special place of the 3 - all these give us clues to the nature of human social relationships as God intends them.

Jesus goes on to teach about love for the neighbor, "Do unto others" and "Love one another as I have loved you"  and "Greater love has no one than that he lay down his life for his friend".  And here is the clue toward what the Dalai Lama is missing.

Just as we are not "intrinsically selfish", or isolated from other humans, we are not "intrinsically selfish" and isolated from our God.  We are not created to be apart from him, but with him.  We are meant to be together.  We are, after all, made in his image.  But sin breaks this connection, separates us from God, and shatters His image in us.  If we are "social animals" we are first and foremost "social" when it comes to the almighty.

In Jesus Christ, all this is made whole again.  Jesus restores the broken relationship to a right one.  He makes us, once more, who we were meant to be.  Children of the Heavenly Father.  And only Jesus can do it.

And He calls us into a "social network" known as the church.  In Christ, we join the communion of all the saints, in faith toward God and in love toward one another.  We receive his gifts together.  We bear one another's burdens.  We submit to one another out of love.
To the extent that a Christian has the right "attitude" toward others, is kind, loving or helpful to others - it is in response to the exceedingly great love God first had for us in Christ.  It is the working of God's Spirit within us that drives us to fulfill the law of love.  But we don't do it for our own benefit or happiness.  Indeed, sometimes we even die for one another - figuratively or literally.  But it's because Christ died for us first.  His love forms us, and reforms us.

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