This morning, as I lacked for motivation, I decided to catch up on my DVRed episodes of NCIS. Toward the end of the most recent episode, there was a line that caught my attention. It’s content is common in our culture, but it germinated some thoughts this morning. So much for the lack of motivation.
As two of the characters prepared to go their separate ways, one gives the following advice to the other:
Don’t look to others for happiness, look within yourself, that’s where you will find it.
That sounds so wise and independent and confident. But it is a half truth. Following that path is a recipe for disaster.
If we look within ourselves do we find happiness? What are we going to unlock when we peer into our hearts?
Since the very first couple were placed in a beautiful garden we have seen the content of the human heart. A focus on self. Searching for comfort, security and significance. A desire to be like God, yet apart from God.
Satisfying pride may indeed produce pockets of happiness. But there are consequences to biting this apple. The false self is never satisfied. What creates happiness today will not be enough for tomorrow. Looking within for happiness results in captivity; slavery to desire and expectations.
Lost in all the striving to satisfy the pride of self is that the cost is not just paid by us. We also enslave others. What makes us happy comes at the expense of others. Greed takes from another who has need. Lust is pleasure without focus on the other. Building ourselves up requires tearing others down.
Pride broke the image of God within us in the garden.
Pride hardens our hearts and keeps us from God.
Pride treads upon the image of God in others. Objectifying them as means to achieve our own temporary pleasure.
Happiness is not found within, selfishness is.
Does this seem true of your own heart?