One of our most basic survival mechanisms is the need for safety.
Our physiological needs take priority-health, food, and sleep. Next comes our need for safety-finding shelter and removing danger. The need for belonging-experiencing love, affection and being part of a community-only comes into play our physiological and safety needs are met. It’s interesting to note in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, our primary instinct is to look after our body. Controlling our immediate environment comes next. Only then do we consider other folks.
With so much focus on ourselves, it’s no wonder we find it difficult to consider other people. Many people choose to be selfish-though few would admit it. Ironic as it may sound, most closed-minded people are closed to the idea that they’re closed-minded. Similarly, a selfish person will explain their ‘me first’ stance as being wise and studious.
It’s convenient to say, “Well, unfortunately, that’s the human condition. It is what it is.” It clears you from having to do anything because it’s in our DNA. But you have a choice. While we may be evil by nature, it’s still a choice whether you accept or combat that nature. To overcome our passive acceptance of the status quo-the nature of things-we must activate a higher need. The need to belong. The need to give and receive love and affection.
Would it not be far easier to accept that we’re all evil by nature and be done with it? Expect to be treated badly and simply treat people that way before they do it to you? That choice seems less scary than the alternative. Being vulnerable, uncomfortable, unsafe, even exposing yourself to danger.
The central theme of the Bible is to love God, love yourself, and love your neighbour. Our purpose is to love, to restore, to repair and to be a blessing. But the mission is risky. The mission of spreading love is filled with danger and fear. You are choosing sacrifice and suffering, not comfort and safety. Life becomes complicated and messy. Love cannot be lived at an arms-length or in a platonic fashion, you must immerse yourself in it. You can shy away because it’s not the easy way… but it’s the best way.
We choose to be sheep among the wolves. The probability of getting hurt is high and fear is a constant companion. Amid all the threats and all the danger, is this not the best way to live?
Open yourself up to being uncomfortable, to feeling unsafe, even of being scared. We have a choice everywhere we are, and in whatever we are doing, to do it with love. In your daily business of sending emails, reading the news, drawing up contracts, having negotiations, sitting in classrooms and boardrooms-you’re faced with a choice. You can either accept the status quo-division, hatred, greed, and selfishness-or accept the dangerous mission to love.
We can choose to be life-affirming and life-giving, to spread kindness and good things. The world may be broken, we don’t need to add to the brokenness.
Live well each day. Live dangerously.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on March 26, 2021.