Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. -Proverbs 25:28
Dear members & friends of the Swedenborgian Church,
The heart of Christian belief is that humans were created in the image and likeness of God, which essentially is good, and that divinity and humanity are compatible. Therefore, as a Christian it might be quite natural to believe that humans are made to be like God, to be true recipients of the divine essence: love and wisdom. The question has always been, “why are we not being God-like?” If we were to live as God has enabled and nurtured us, we would all be living the life of agape love, and be fully satisfied and filled with joy. Yet, that is not what we see around us, and more importantly that is not how we are. What went wrong?
We certainly could build up a list of who we might blame for our misery and pains. Yet, the truth is very simple: the predicament of our mind depends greatly on how we view our reality. If you have a pessimistic outlook of your life and the people around you, you will see plenty of darkness. Yet, if you have a optimistic outlook, you will see plenty of light. Taking only a pessimistic viewpoint is very unhealthy, but so is being blindly optimistic. The position we want to take is in the middle to balance to two, but the troubling fact is that we often find ourselves at one extreme or the other.
According to Swedenborg, one of the most fundamental laws of the divine is that a human being has absolute freedom to choose in which reality to belong. This is as much a matter of choice as a matter of creating one’s own reality. In other words, our life on Earth is all about creating the reality in which we belong. The matter to consider is whether we able to properly and objectively assess the quality of our own reality. And, the first step toward an objective assessment of one’s own reality is to have self-control. Self-control is certainly very helpful for our spiritual cultivation, but it’s especially helpful in building healthy relationships with each other! With self-control, we are not only more likely to take proper actions in relationships, but also have greater control of the emotional and psychological reactions of our minds. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, self-control is defined as “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.” Perhaps easier said than done!
My prayers and blessing for us all to have little more of self-control in this Advent season.
Blessings, Rev. Juchol Lee