From a Creighton Student's Perspective
January 23, 2012
Sophomore, Social Work Major
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is responding to the scribes who have accused him of being possessed by the devil. He asks them, “How can Satan drive out Satan?” For me, Jesus seems to be saying, “How can this be true? How could I fight against evil if I am being controlled by it?”
This reading is very applicable to our world today. Jesus’s questions speak directly to communities: how can a community divided against itself stand? Too often we tear each other down in order to build ourselves up rather than build others up to better our communities as a whole. There’s a lot of pressure in our world today to climb to the top of the ladder: to be the best at everything. As a result, we sometimes make decisions without truly thinking about others; we gossip, cheat, lie, and bring others down in order to “better” ourselves, when in actuality we are weakening our human community. Jesus’ teaching challenges us all to come together as humans. If we are separated, if we are divided from one another, then we cannot grow and improve.
At first, I only saw today’s teaching in the light of community, but then I began to think about how applicable these questions are for individuals. Not only do we as a community have to build each other up, but we need to begin building ourselves up. Too often I find that we tear ourselves down - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many people have this idea in their mind that they just aren’t good enough. How often have you heard friends, family members or acquaintances cut themselves down? “I just need to lose 10 pounds.” “I’m not muscular enough.” “I’m terrible at school.” “I’ll never be a good parent.” “I’m not as good of a person as I should be.”“I make too many mistakes.” “I’m a failure.” It’s scary to think that these ideas run through many of our minds on a pretty frequent basis. Personally, I saw myself as not quite perfect enough for far too long, and then I began to ask myself: who am I not quite perfect enough for? Yes, there are characteristics of myself that I don’t love, but I am still a beloved daughter of God. If we truly want to be the best versions of ourselves, we must learn to accept ourselves as we are. Just as a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, a human who constantly brings him or herself down simply cannot grow. Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest famous for his books on spirituality, encouraged people to ignore the constant pressure to change placed on us by society. Instead, he said:
“Don’t change…Leave ourselves alone. The only growth-promoting change is that which comes from self-acceptance.” – Anthony de Mello.
We must first love ourselves in order to allow ourselves to grow.
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