12/24/2014

The Deceptiveness of Sacrifice

Jesus sacrificed himself for us. So we Christians often think that we ourselves should sacrifice, and that others better sacrifice like us! But such thoughts, as well intentioned as they may be, block our path to truly seeing the way to life because of the deceptiveness of our own selves (Jer 17:9). The following quotes are by Richard Rohr in his excellent book, Immortal Diamond, from chapter 2, What is the "False Self"?:

"Sacrifice" usually leads to a well-hidden sense of entitlement and perpetuates the vicious circle of merit, a mind-set that leads most of us to assume that we are more deserving than others because of what we have given or done.

When you sacrifice, you always "deserve." Sacrifice, much more than we care to admit, creates entitlement, a "you-owe-me" attitude, and a well-hidden sense of superiority.

Jesus knew that most notions of sacrifice ... are almost always manipulated and misused by people, most institutions, and warring nations.

Jesus was criticized because he was not ascetic like John the Baptist (Mk 2:18)... Ascetic practices (and various forms of self-sacrifice) have far too much social and ego payoff, which is why Jesus advised against anything pious or generous being done publicly (Mt 6:1-4, 16-18): "Don't even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing," he says. External religion is also dangerous religion.

Jesus, along with Buddha, had a much more foundational death to walk us through than mere personal heroics or public grandstanding. They point to an eventual and essential "renouncing" of the False Self, which will always be the essential death. It is at the heart of the spiritual journey.