2. Self-Centered vs. God-Centered Point of View
Points to Ponder:
Last week we explored how when we experience our value from God’s view point we experience joy, meaning, and fulfillment in our lives. On the contrary, when we lose hold of that value, we feel unfulfilled, like something is missing.
Our value system is largely affected based on whether it comes from a God-centered viewpoint or a self-centered viewpoint. Self-centeredness originates in our fallen nature; it centers everything on myself, causing my value system to also be distorted and self-centered. We live in a culture where an individual’s value comes from an external and superficial perspective, rather than from something greater than the self. Even though we aspire to connect to our value from God’s viewpoint, we can easily get snagged by a secular, external viewpoint, and be swayed by other people’s opinions or attitudes. We might find ourselves doubting or questioning our intrinsic value as God’s son or daughter when we start to compare ourselves to others, and be swayed by a more materialistic or humanistic view of value.
We make decisions in our lives based on our perceptions of our value; be it self-centered or God-centered. When we connect to a God-centered viewpoint, there is a peace, harmony, and confidence that comes from knowing I am created in God’s image, that I am loved, and that I have a unique and eternal value that doesn’t change and is not defined by what I do or don’t do.
If our value is defined from a self-centered viewpoint, we often experience a cycle of doubting the value we have inside of us, and trying to fill that void in many different kinds of ways. This often results in low self-esteem as we underestimate ourselves and feel unworthy of love. We might feel a constant self-judgment, sense of failure, or find ourselves chasing after value in a conditional setting. This can increase our own insecurity and leaves us feeling more unhappy. As a parent, the saddest thing for God i when we don’t know how much He loves us.
Ie. “My friend landed a better job and makes more money than me. What I’m doing is nothing in comparison.” “My friend attends an Ivy League and has a 4.0 and she has tons of friends. I have to work really hard for every step, plus have a job, and I have no time for a social life…. What’s wrong with me?” “My friend is skinny and really pretty. She’ll have no problem getting matched, but what about me?” “My friend can bench 170, makes bank, and all the girls like him. He won’t have any problem finding a match. How can I compete?!” “My friends do and say things I don’t agree with. I feel they won’t like me if I don’t join them. I want to be accepted, that’s why I support them, but what if standing up for what I believe in, means I’ll lose them as friends?”
In order to develop and strengthen our original value, we need to intentionally make the effort to change our perspective; it won’t change unless we make that effort. In whatever situation I find myself, it is my responsibility to seek and rely on God’s viewpoint, a process that requires humility and perseverance. True Parents have shown us the way to change our understanding and experience of our value from external to internal, from superficial indicators to our profound inner nature, and from temporary to eternal and everlasting. When I connect to this point of view, the confidence in my value as God’s son/daughter is strengthened.
Discussion questions for before/after the reading:
- Can you think of examples in your own life where you allowed society’s perspective of your value to define your view of your own value?
- Can you think of an example where you connected to your unique value as God’s son/daughter?
“Centered on whom are we seeking our true self? We cannot search with a self-centered focus. Unless we focus on God as we search for our true self, we cannot return to the original position. This is why so many religions seek God. The religious path allows us to understand our relationship with God and how we should lead our life.” – TF, CSG Book 8 (088-064, 1976.07.18)
“If you stand upon the Principle then your actions have quality and value.” –The Way of Tradition II, 218
“God is absolute, unique, unchanging and eternal; these are His attributes. Therefore, His love is absolute, unique, unchanging and eternal. If you are seeking the path of love while leading a self-centered life, you will come to a dead end… We are born resembling the eternal God so that we may attain eternal life; hence, we ought to live our lives based on eternal true love. True love is not two, but one; it is unique. But no matter how unique and absolute love is, there would be serious problems if it were changeable. Therefore love also must be eternally unchanging.” (400-067, 2002.12.27)
“Nowadays people tend to be self-centered, thinking, “As long as I’m fine, everything is okay.” But now is the time to discard egoism and share our love with everyone around us.” – TF CSG, Book 3 (29-114, 1970.02.25)
“The Fall changed our lineage. It destroyed the family and the nation that God had envisioned. Therefore our lineage must be changed back. However, when you are in a given situation, if you do not understand the motivation of the actions that led up to it and their end result, you cannot make straight your own motivation, actions and result. Likewise, unless you know Satan’s secrets, it will be difficult for you to set straight what went wrong. … Eve saw everything centered on herself. She took that viewpoint and acted upon it while she was still in the realm of imperfection. Hence she ended up turning heaven and earth upside down. It is for this reason that you must change your self-centered consciousness and become new people.” -TF, CSG Book 3(439-083, 2004.02.19)
“Because God created everything with the tradition of absolute faith, absolute love and absolute obedience, if we remain self-centered, we cannot return to God.” -TF, CSG Book 6 (467-180, 2004.09.04)
”What kind of faith should it be? It cannot be self-centered faith that is pleasing only to you. Even if you accomplish the Will with such faith, God will not like it. The more you insist on doing things your own way, the more you distance yourself from God and from me. It is not right to say, “I will do what I like and not what I dislike.” God has to like what you do. That is where the real issue lies. The same applies to me. This is why I exhort you to have faith…” – TF, CSG Book 8 (033-100, 1970.08.09)
“From now on, we begin with a God-centered concept. We do not begin with human-centered thoughts and concepts. When we have people at the center, there is no way forward. The only path of hope is the one where God sets out toward the final destination for the realization of His ideal.” – CSG, Book 10 (215-205, 1991.02.17)
This week we invite you to think of a situation where you feel conflicted about seeing yourself/this situation from God’s view point vs. a self-centered viewpoint. Ask a close friend what they think God’s perspective is on this situation and the perspective you’re taking. How would that impact your proactive approach to the situation?
We invite you to share your reflections and experiences below!