Rugged Individualism Imposes Oppressive Standards of Worth on the Needy, But Those Aren't God's
With the Iowa caucus on Monday and the presidential election in nine months, let's examine some cultural values. This week is the Republican concept of rugged individualism. People always say that I am worthless because I cannot give anything, but only take because I need so much care. This perspective always makes me feel worthless because I feel evil since I cannot accomplish the one goal God has for me – to be a servant. Yesterday, I realized that society’s definition of servitude favors the elite. Although being a servant is doing things for people, servitude means showing people God’s love by being compassionate and forgiving.
My mom got mad at me again. She accused me of controlling her because I tell her what I need. I thought of my relationship with Giovanni; I wanted my mom to be as happy to help me as I am to do everything Giovanni tells me to do.
But I realized that these relationships are different. When Giovanni tells me to do something, he wants me to be a certain way. When I tell someone what I need, I do not want them to be a certain person; I just need help doing something I cannot do myself. I do not want to take people’s freedom and make them my servant.
Servitude is not changing who someone is; servitude is grace, forgiveness, and honesty. In Matthew 6:14-15, God says that we must forgive so that He can forgive us and not be like the hypocrites, which do not enter Heaven (Matthew 23:13). Forgiveness is a part of love because Matthew 23:3-4 calls these hypocrites (the Scribes and Pharisees) sinners because they act better than everyone and did not “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39) by forgiving and helping people lighten their burden (Matthew 23:4) like Jesus does (Matthew 11:30).
Rather, God wants us to be gracious to each other like the father was to the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and of course, Jesus was when He died on the cross (Romans 5:8). We do not deserve life because we are sinners, and the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23). However, God gives us life through Jesus, which is more than we deserve (Romans 5:7). Grace is giving someone more than they deserve.
At the same time, God still wants us to be honest with each other. Honesty requires truth, and Ephesians 4:25 says to speak truth. Speaking truth means telling people with humility when they do something against God (Galatians 6:1). Again, humility is not acting like you are better than someone (Matthew 23:12), but kindness as compassion and understanding.
Compassion and understanding does not necessarily mean one must physically do something for someone, but it just means giving people more than they deserve. Giving could even come as being gentle with someone who is cruel. In the end, someone with no strength like myself can still give and have value even though society says that we have nothing.
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