Good Friday: Inner liberation from selfishness
Apr 6, 2011

Why do bad things happen to good people? If we look around carefully and read any daily newspaper, this is a question that would naturally spring to mind. Innocent people become the hapless victims of crafty, diabolical predators, masquerading as paragons of virtue, mouthing high flown moral principles while acting insidiously to selfishly have their own way and feather their own nests. It has become normal to expect most people to speak with authority taking moral high ground, while behaving selfishly and cruelly towards others.

Today we remember a uniquely different person on this Good Friday. It is a day when billions of Christians the world over commemorate the death of their founder, who was nailed to a cross and was subject to a brutal death. Normally the founder of any religion is respected in his lifetime and venerated after his demise. In the case of Jesus Christ, he healed sick people, did miracles for the helpless and the poor, led sinners back to a righteous way of living. This kind of service should normally have evoked gratitude, instead of which, it provoked jealousy and hatred in the hearts of those who had selfish self-interest and hunger for power as their hidden motives.

Even today we see this principle at work in most spheres of life. When persons begin to feel that money is the real answer to every need in their lives and the way to happiness and security, then money becomes their religion, philosophy and god. While paying lip service to the religion they belong to and demonstrating outward acts of religious observances, the ruthless pursuit of money and wealth becomes the hidden driving force of their lives.

It is in that state of mind that anything or anyone seen as an obstacle to the achievement of one’s objective is seen as a nuisance, an obstacle or worst still an enemy. Then if the addiction or greed is deep enough, harming another or even killing and eliminating another who poses a threat to ones gains or security becomes acceptable, then justifiable and finally even necessary. The value of another human life, the sorrow and pain caused to another tends to mean little or nothing when compared with the power that this addiction holds over you. Sadly this is true not only of money but of many other things such as political power, sexual desire, board room battles, ego battles etc. The list can go on endlessly.

How do we live in a world such as this with people such as this without falling into the temptation of becoming one of them? That is what Jesus Christ teaches everyone on Good Friday. He held on to his beliefs and principles when threatened with death, knowing that compromising his principles to save his own life would mean spiritual death to all he had believed in and lived for. So he remained silent before his crazed accusers. They led him to a cruel death, mocked and flogged all the way. Yet hanging on that cross he refuses to curse or condemn them but offers them the gift of forgiveness, the balm that would heal and dowse the fires that burnt so fiercely within them.

This death inspired his immediate disciples and countless others throughout the last 2,000 years to rise above their hidden selfishness. Let it inspire us as well to discover these hidden flames within ourselves and then rise above them to a better way of living.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka