As I discussed two posts ago, the Christian life differs from the ‘normal’ one in that the characteristics Jesus showed are unlike what we normally find in our society. Instead of trying to outdo everyone else and be the best, we’re called to humble ourselves and treat others as more important. I know I’m nowhere near as good at all this as I should be, which makes it all the more inspiring (and quite often demoralising!) when I see others who do appear to have made this kind of self-sacrificing love the centre of their personality.
At the same time, I do worry that as we start acting like this more and more of the time, we might forget the real reasons behind it. Whenever something becomes deeply ingrained in us, it becomes easy to take it for granted or lose excitement for it. Familiarity breeds contempt, as the saying goes. So could it be that, as we align ourselves more with the example set by Christ, we’ll forget exactly why it is we’re doing this?
It’s not because it’s how we’ve always done things. It’s not because we have to. And it’s certainly not because we get any sort of reward from it. It’s because this is the way of living that allows society and its members to truly thrive. The more we keep this in mind, the less likely we are to forget the point of it all and move back to our old, self-centred ways.