Sunday, November 6, 2016

Self-Preservation vs. Concern for Others

The thought comes to me this morning that individuals and nations have from time immemorial lived by the principal that “self preservation is the first law of life.”  Living by that principal has often plunged us into some of the worst catastrophes the world has known.  This seems to be the principal that dominates our current political atmosphere.  The slogans, “Make America Great Again,” and "Make America First,” suggest that this principal remains for many a most important priority.  But this is a false assumption.  The first law of life is to care for others (individuals and nations).  The self, person or nation, cannot preserve its own “self” without being concerned about preserving other selves.

The universe is so structured, and history tends to support this, that things break down if we are not concerned about the others who exist around us.  “I” cannot reach my fulfillment without “thou.”  America cannot reach its fulfillment without having concern for other peoples and nations.  The self, whether person or nation, cannot even be a self without other selves.  Self preservation  without concern for others is like a swamp with no outlet—it is stagnant.

All life is interrelated.  “We are,” someone has suggested, “inevitably our brother’s keeper [our sister’s keeper] because we are our brother’s brother [sister’s sister].  Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

I saw a placard the other day which read, “Christians for Trump,” and I wondered just how that could be.  How can Christians accept “Make America First?”  How can Christians support what has been said about how America would be made great and first?  It will happen, we have been told over and over again, by keeping “others” out, by focusing only on ourselves.  This isn’t Christianity!  But this is what some do to Christianity. 

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