Lies We Believe About Ourselves and Others
Day Four – The Survival of Safety
It’s good that this feels unnatural. It’s remarkable, really, that you’re able to go through with it at all. For centuries, millennia even, everything has developed towards survival.
Adapt. Evolve. Live.
Or, if you don’t, die.
Fight or flight is supposed to kick in. Both options exist for you. You can rip your arms down, never mind the nails. Your skin will heal over. You can call down the lightning and strike all of them dead.
It’s good that this feels unnatural. Humans are afraid to die.
I have some ugly truth. No matter how much money you save or how many walls you build or how many democracies you found, you will die.
What’s supposed to happen next, if you believe in God anyway, is some myriad of something eternal. An afterlife. If you believe in reincarnation, you come back as something new, but with something old as well. If you don’t believe in anything at all, you fall into an endless blackness. You cease.
What all of this fear ultimately boils down to, what the Idolatry of Safety ultimately seeks to avoid, is death and demise. You, I, we, are just afraid of dying. But shouldn’t we not be? Shouldn’t our belief in what’s next trump our fear of the end? You can’t use the excuse that an immigrant might harm you as justification for why we shouldn’t let them in. You are immortal, child. What is murder but an early homecoming? You can’t use the excuse that you might starve to horde your possessions and your finances. What is starvation but an early invitation to the Feast of your ancestors? You can’t justify any of it with the fear of death.
But it doesn’t quite make it disappear does it?
I don’t know if it’s possible in this human shell to live a life so untethered to this plane of existence that we can genuinely risk it all, stare death in the face each day and challenge it to overtake our capacity to love and win the challenge. But I know I worship an idol if I don’t at least try.
Life is beautiful and a gift. It is meant to be enjoyed and is an act of worship. Living is not a sin. Wanting to live so much that you’re willing to hate those who threaten you, kick those out who pose you harm, that’s sin. Wanting to stay alive at the cost of another’s humanity is idolatry.
The first step in shattering the idol of safety is recognizing safety does not exist. No matter how you worship it, it will not save you in the end.
Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
It’s good that it feels unnatural; It’s better that you push through it. For if you hung on that cross and blinked against the devil of death, if you put too much thought into what we deserved, if you fought back instead of turning the cheek, we would have something to fear. If you prioritized the clean, if you cared about zip codes and skin colors, if you let the fields wither and the land go barren, we would not be here. But you knew safety was idolatry. So you died that you may live. You died that we might, one day, live unafraid. We live. We die. We live again.
Leave a Reply