Christ set the ultimate example of selflessness by dying on the cross for humanity. There has been no greater example of selflessness in history than that of Jesus Christ. Selflessness is very interesting when one considers the effect that it has on the person exhibiting it. Selflessness has the power to change a person’s life for the better by reversing destructive thinking and replacing it with healthy thinking. Interestingly, studies have shown that people are more mentally and physically healthy when they live in productive harmony with their community and their support systems. This means living selflessly – not focused on what is good for themselves but focused on what is good for their group. It would seem that we were intended to live this way.
Consider addiction for what it is: pure selfishness. Addiction happens when someone discovers something that makes them feel good, and the person begins to pursue that thing and obsess over it so relentlessly that they stop caring about everything else in their life, including their relationships. Addiction isolates a person with something they are idolizing, making it impossible to be selfless. Knowing that people were meant to exist in healthy community with one another, one can see that it is impossible to be addicted and to be healthy because selflessness is not an option.
Now think of what happens when selflessness is allowed to conquer addiction. Acts of selflessness defeat addiction by reversing its effects. Selflessness makes you available to your friends, family and acquaintances, taking you out of the isolation that addiction locks you in. Being selfless reminds you that the contributions you make to the lives of others should be your top priority, and that means you need to continue being responsible in order to properly care for yourself and for those around you. Whether you are a parent, child, sibling or simply a friend, your presence, heart and mind are required to help others along. If you are struggling with addiction, remember that you are needed by others and let selflessness change you for the better.
The power of Christ’s love is transforming, so much so that a person’s life will not resemble what it used to be when they fully accept Christ’s love. Sinners repent, wrongdoers ask those they have wronged for forgiveness and selfish people become charitable. This sphere of influence extends to addicts as well. Addiction takes a powerful hold on people, but not as powerful as Christ’s love. There are many who believe that Christ’s love is, in fact, the only force powerful enough to conquer addiction. What happens when an addict fully accepts the love of Christ without inhibition is beautiful. There are many accounts of addicts making the most overwhelming progress they have ever made in their recovery when they accept the love of Christ.
Jesus Christ walked the earth 2,000 years ago. It can be difficult for some to relate to events that happened this long ago, so putting Christ’s love into a modern context and making it personal can truly drive it home. Jesus was the son of God, and was therefore perfect in how he loved and cared for people. Everyone who has ever lived must be held accountable for what kind of person they are. God sent Jesus to live among us and ultimately die for us in order to save us from ourselves. In dying, he took on the burden of our judgment so that we could have eternal salvation. If we were to translate this kind of love into a personal metaphor, it would be like our own parent or guardian dying for us. Picture an alcoholic, selfishly addicted to something that will eventually kill them. Say the parent of that alcoholic knew that the only way to save them from their alcoholism was to drink all of the alcohol they would ever have access to in one event, giving themselves alcohol poisoning and dying. If you insert your own parent or guardian into this metaphor, you can begin to understand what God’s love is like.
This metaphor is heartbreaking, of course, but the story of Christ does not end in heartbreak. The son of God experienced death as a man, but three days later, he reversed death and lived again. He proved that natural death is not the end of life. He demonstrated his power over death by conquering the grave. He gave us a glimpse of the eternal life that can be ours if we choose to follow him.