If you are not true to yourself you’ll remain untrue to others, starving their needs and catering only to their desires. But if you are true to yourself you will also be true to others, serving only those desires that truly satisfy their needs.
Imagine that you have not eaten in at least two days. Your practical mind tells you that you need to eat a meal, but for some reason you don’t attribute your hunger to a severe lack of nutrients, only to the insatiable desire to fill your empty stomach. You immediately drive to the nearest donut shop and eat a dozen of your favorite sweet rolls. You then drive to the nearest well-stocked party store and purchase your favorite potato chips and dip, beef jerky, flavored crackers, bread sticks with cheese sauce, and a case of soda pop. You drive home and begin filling yourself to your heart’s desire. Strangely, only after a few hours, you begin to crave food as though you had not eaten – even though your stomach tells you it is full. You immediately leave the house and proceed to repeat the entire process all over again, never guessing that you are trying to fill a real need with something that is pleasurable but cannot possibly satisfy your body’s severe lack of life-giving nutrients. Interestingly, the craving to eat temporarily subsides each time you fill your stomach, but returns as a ravenous desire for increasingly more food with each successive time that you deny your body of the food it needs – even though your stomach tells you it is full. To make matters worse, when your children come home from summer camp and announce that they too are very hungry, you fill the table with all their favorite foods and cannot understand why each of them, one by one over time, fall ill and must go to the hospital because of malnutrition – even though they each are delighted with the meal.
We go through this same routine in our personal lives as well. If I indulge myself beyond my financial means and consequently cannot support myself, I will first try to increase my income to eliminate the financial restriction. I won’t immediately recognize or admit that my lack of self-discipline and discernment allowed the financial breakdown. Instead of replacing my indulgence with only those things that will make my life better, I try to feed my increasing financial hunger only through those things that continually deprive me of financial stability. Inevitably, I will cross paths with someone who has the same problem, but instead of teaching that person to recognize those things that truly satisfy I will try to point out a better income, thus leaving his or her personal indulgence in tact just like mine. We do this in matters of love, ways of thinking, personal pleasure, and our pursuit of God. In every facet of life, we try at all cost to satisfy our desires with only those things that make us forget our real need. If we are not true to our self, we always take the most immediate, pleasurable path and become the blind that leads the blind, following each other into the swamp of privation. If we are true to our self, we will fill our personal hunger with only those things that truly build us up. In turn, we will desire to help others build their life up also; and when you and I decide to build each other up, together we will flourish as brothers and sisters of humanity.