Thursday, September 30, 2010

Killing ourselves gently (1)

My grandfather had a story, an experience, that I think many share. He suffered from gout and took it off to the doctor. The doctor explained that the food that he ate determined the severity of the gout. For this reason he gave him a prescribed diet - I think it might have been a list of acceptable foods. At the the next few visits to the doctor it was noticed that while the gout was improving, my grandfather was becoming thinner and weaker. Eventually, the doctor asked him what he was eating and my grandfather showed him the diet that he had been given. "Are you keeping strictly to this?"
"Absolutely."
"No man! No wonder you are so weak. When we give you a diet, we expect you to cheat on it. You are going to kill yourself."
My grandfather was understandably peeved.
In the Christian life, we have the words of Jesus, "Love your neighbour as you love yourself."
Yet advice in many leadership and lifestyle books is, "Don't worry so much about pleasing others/ what other people think about you."
Somehow we have turned Jesus' words to love each other into a thing that destroys us. We try to please others and . . .
Abandon our principles
Abandon our self-interest and self-worth
And probably other things.
How do we reinterpret those words into our society today?

2 comments:

markpenrith said...

Great analogy.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Thanks - not perfect though!