Today we’ll tackle three more negative cultural traits that can undermine your sense of connection to other people.
Remember the list of traits? Here are all nine:
- Consumerism — getting stuff and using it up
- Materialism — choosing things over people
- Pleasure-dependency — gotta be entertained
- Pain-avoidance — don’t want to hurt
- Image-sensitivity — looks are everything
- Information addiction — craving to know it all now
- Productivity-driven — accomplishments matter most
- Utilitarian attitude — using people
- Attitude of entitlement — I deserve my rights
What’s the first thing you do when you get a headache? Reflect on sources of stress? Pray? Or reach for the Advil?
Our culture tells us it is possible to live pain-free. In fact, we feel it is our right not to suffer.
Pain killers are big, big business in our society. We don’t want to hurt, and we’ve figured out some ways to avoid it.
This creates a problem. It’s bad enough that we avoid physical pain, ignoring messages our bodies are trying to give us which might lead to better health. We also want pain-free emotional lives.
Yet we live in a pain-filled world.
Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
For the Christian especially, pain-avoidance is not an option. We let pain connect us to others in empathy, sympathy, patience. We don’t run away from it. Rather, we let Jesus absorb it.
This may be a big duh, but in case you forgot: Americans are spoiled. We have been given a silver platter of rights and freedoms which we take for granted. We’ve become a litigious society, quick to defend our rights at the expense of others.
Entitlement says, “It’s all about me. I deserve something special.”
Entitlement is ungrateful, self-centered, and immature.
Philippians 2:3-7 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
Jesus wouldn’t have made a very good typical American — and I don’t want to, either. I want to be humble, grateful, and other-centered.
In truth, I don’t deserve a thing. Everything I have is an undeserved gift from God. (Thanksgiving is a great time to remember this.)
This one could easily be a series of blogs in itself. We are absolutely fixated on the human body.
Our culture tells us that outward looks are everything.
We obsess on sculpting, bronzing, and toning our bodies. We endlessly, ruthlessly compare ourselves to each other, especially women. The media’s standard of beauty doesn’t exactly tell us it’s okay to look our age or be ten pounds overweight or wear last year’s fashions.
That would be against our religion of body worship.
1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
God is much more concerned with your character than with what you see in the mirror. Character is where your real beauty is — and that beauty will last forever.
How has avoiding pain, feeling entitled, or focusing on outward appearance undermined your ability to connect to other people?
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