Mysteries of Christianity: A Tale of Two Selves

Author of the poignant, 'Tale of Two Cities,' Charles Dickens at his desk in 1858.
Author of the poignant, 'Tale of Two Cities,' Charles Dickens at his desk in 1858. | Source

Within you, there are two of you. One is awake and active; the other is asleep, and has remained that way for countless eons. One is mortal, vulnerable and temporary; the other is immortal and a child of God.

We sometimes feel the presence of this second, immortal self when we are inspired, or when we have an epiphany. Very rarely does this second self awaken, even if only for a moment. But this can happen in moments of danger and stress—when we give up and give in to God, placing our lives in His loving hands.

This seems to have happened when a parachutist fell out of his airplane, but his chute would not open. On the way down to the ground, he gave up any chance of survival and turned to God in what he thought would be the last moments of his life. And yet moments later, he walked away with only a few scratches. On another day, full of pride, he rode in an airplane vowing to duplicate his death-defying feat. This time he did not make it. The difference between the two events proved to be as great as night and day—the difference between the vulnerable cog of physical reality, ego, and the invulnerable and immortal child of God, within. In this case, pride indeed came before a very great fall.

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The Bible's Hidden Wisdom: God's Reason for Noah's Flood (Volume 1)
The Bible's Hidden Wisdom: God's Reason for Noah's Flood (Volume 1)

This book is from years of my own research into a biblical timeline compatible with those of mainstream science. I wasn't surprised that God's holy book would match his own creation (reality), but there were many surprises, including discovering through science the target of Noah's Flood -- a species which went extinct at that time.

 

We feel this second self when we admire a hero. We feel the awkward difference between these two selves when a hero is found to be tarnished with some imperfection, such as that of taking drugs, theft, dishonesty, cruelty or infidelity. And yet, paradoxically, we frequently (though not always) feel the first, mortal self (ego), when we want to be like the hero. It depends on our motivation for wanting to be like the hero. And this is where the difference between the two selves becomes difficult for many to tell.

We feel this second self when we exercise true forgiveness. Saying that we forgive does not automatically make it so. True forgiveness breaks with the bonds that tie us to past, perceived injustices—breaks them cleanly and completely.

A friend of mine once told me all about her alcoholic mother and how that alcoholism had created hardship for herself and her siblings. She said that she forgave her mother, but could not forget. And she repeated her complaint over a period of several years. That is not forgiveness. She was still tied-down by the ball-and-chain of resentment.

Forgiveness releases all ties. With forgiveness, one is never bothered by resentment on that subject ever again.

If a monster rapes and kills your child, forgiveness seems very difficult. The last thing on one's mind is gratitude. And yet, we need to be grateful—not to the monster and their evil state of mind, or even to the horrific act itself, but to God and all the challenges we receive in life by his grace. Being victim (or perpetrator) is not heroic. Being able to forgive completely is every bit heroic.

Illustration for 'Tale of Two Cities' by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz), "The sea rises," from the 1894 edition of "The Writings of Charles Dickens," volume 20.
Illustration for 'Tale of Two Cities' by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz), "The sea rises," from the 1894 edition of "The Writings of Charles Dickens," volume 20. | Source

The Nature of Heroism

The hero is humble (not arrogant), generous (unselfish), and responsible.

One of the things we admire about them is their humility. Any hero who starts bragging about their deeds and how good they are, suddenly loses the shine on their badge of courage.

We also admire their generosity. Any hero who takes great riches for their deeds and spends it lavishly on themselves is instantly suspected. Did they have a hidden motive in what they did? Are they really a hero?

And we admire that they take responsibility. Without such an attitude, the supposed hero would not put his compassion into action. In fact, one could say that compassion is action, for without implementation compassion looks too much like deadly sympathy.

Why does admiration of heroes seem so natural? Perhaps we recognize in heroism the lessening of ego. Pride has the opposite effect. Conceit goes even further to burst the love affair bubble.

Charles Dickens gives us an example of such superlative heroism in his bestselling book, Tale of Two Cities. Sydney Carton, who had lived a selfish and shallow life until now, takes the place of his look-alike, Darnay, under the guillotine. The story ends with Carton’s last thoughts, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known." Would you do such a thing—perform such self-sacrifice for another? Carton's actions provoke from the reader either bewilderment or deep admiration. His was an act of profound heroism.

Jesus of Nazareth told his disciples, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). This is the ultimate self-sacrifice, and that is exactly what Jesus did when he knowingly walked into his own crucifixion.

In Christianity, a more important war is being waged within each of us. Crusades: "Siege of Antioch," an engraving by Jean Colombe, 1490.
In Christianity, a more important war is being waged within each of us. Crusades: "Siege of Antioch," an engraving by Jean Colombe, 1490. | Source

The War Within

A very ancient war has been fought. The aim has been to recapture the kingdom from the forces of evil. Sound like a Hollywood movie? It could be, but it isn't.

I'm talking about the immortal children of God who, in a moment of curiosity and weakness, decided to see what it was like to know the dichotomies of continuity-based physical existence. What the heck does that mean? Let me explain.

Perhaps you have heard of the Garden of Eden. In that Garden, according to Genesis (first book of the Bible), stood a tree of knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of that tree killed Adam and Eve instantly—not physically, but spiritually.

Good and evil give us one of the most talked-about dichotomies, and there are others—wisdom-stupidity, compassion-indifference, generosity-selfishness, victim-perpetrator and many more. These are the fibers and poison of that Forbidden Fruit. These are the forces which lock the non-physical, spiritual and immortal children of God into this mortal realm.

Ego wants us to think that we are ego. It seduces us with the lure of being right and the satisfaction of making others wrong. Ego takes credit for being good and justifies being evil. Ego is self-important.

The only way for the immortal child of God to escape—to awaken from their perpetual nightmare—is to perfect the art of humility and fearless confidence.

Confidence with humility awakens the true self, within. Confidence with self-importance drives the true self deeper into its catatonic state. Humility is the antidote to ego.

So many Christians I've talked with simply don't get it. Their view of Christianity is the right way, and damned be those who disagree. One popular Hubber from New York has one such tainted idea of Christianity. It seems full of ego, arrogance and judgment. She said that the Bible gave her license to judge others for their evil. How many forgotten passages did she exclude from that line of reasoning?

I gave her my love, and stated my reasoning. She returned only venom and disdain. I turned and left.

I should not judge her—not even Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot. Resenting what they do solves nothing. Trying to save the incorrigible egotist is a waste of time, but we can still have compassion and love for them. One day, they may see the light of love and harmony.

One day, they may forego the darker, master of the physical realm, ego, and find the true self—the immortal child of God, within.

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Comments 14 comments

rafken profile image

rafken 5 years ago from The worlds my oyster

Interesting


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks for reading, rafken.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Very well explained.

I can't wait to get to Manila some time for a good discussion and fellowship!

John


Betty Johansen profile image

Betty Johansen 5 years ago

God is certainly our model. When Adam and Eve slapped Him in the face (figuratively), He made it His responsibility to cover their sin and win them back. In Genesis 3:15, He promised them He would do so. Jesus, of course, was the solution to their sin. And Jesus Himself modeled Godly heroism when He prayed, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

You certainly have a gift, lone77star, for crafting fascinating discussions. Reading this one, I thought of your hub about victims and how you're now presenting the opposite side: heroes. A great read - thank you!


ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

Some interesting ideas.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

John, sometimes I surprise myself. I love it when the article seems to write itself.

And my wife is looking forward to a Manila trip, too. I too look forward to a good discussion and fellowship!


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Betty. I agree that Jesus was the solution. I have a feeling that our salvation has been a work in progress for a very, very long time. Perhaps the Old Testament was one of those attempts. Then, learning from the early attempts and raising humanity to a sufficient level of civilization, the time was right for the perfect lesson in humility and love.

And thanks for the compliments. Writing is becoming easier and easier. If I could only purge my own ego. I still have so much of it. And I keep asking for guidance to lead me out of the darkness.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Welcome, Ruffridyer. Thanks for reading.


Carolyn Moe profile image

Carolyn Moe 5 years ago

very thoughtful and well written... also very forgiving and kind... christian virtues indeed!


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Carolyn, I appreciate your kind words. I'm still trying to find out more. The journey is long; thanks for sharing it with me.


Sonyaki 5 years ago

Namaste Lonestar

Beautiful article. "One day, they may forego the darker, master of the physical realm, ego, and find the true self—the immortal child of God, within."

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Lots of Prema

sonya ki


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thank you, Sonya. I appreciate your enthusiasm.


ananceleste profile image

ananceleste 4 years ago from California

Blessed are those that can overcome hate and resentment. Freeing themselves of the hell that is not forgiving. I thought I knew how to forgive, until I found out that I was still carrying that heavy load of bricks without knowing. It was until I set them down, that I could breathe again.

Great hub. Great wisdom.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thank you, @ananceleste. I am so happy to have you share this, to help remind me of what I forget and need to remind myself of on a daily basis.

My most profound experience with forgiveness is in Anatomy of a Miracle. And I know exactly what you mean. Letting go is the answer to so many things ... so that nothing becomes important. But what is precious remains precious.

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