• There’s Definitely a Putin/Easter Connection … and It Has Lots to Say to Everyone Else

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    Surge Summary: The meaning behind the Christian observance of Easter speaks directly to Vladimir Putin – and to everyone else.

    By Robert Knight

    If pride goeth before a fall, Vladimir Putin is a prime candidate to take a dive.

    The Russian dictator does not apparently care that the world now sees him as a brutal, murderous thug who has invaded a peaceful neighbor, causing the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians and Russian soldiers.

    He seems not to mind at all that his name, fairly or not, has been added to the pantheon of famous names like Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot, who are shorthand for unspeakable evil.

    Pride is the universal sin. Lots of people like to boast that they could not care less how people regard them. They think this is a sort of virtue, proof of independent thinking. Up to a point, they’re right. We should not be driven by others’ opinions of us. Independent thinking is in short supply these days, with “woke” culture suppressing so much.

    Vanity, on the other hand, is abundant. But not to care at all about what other people think is a different mistake from vanity and a more egregious sin.

    Writing about vanity and pride, C.S. Lewis made a crucial distinction:

    “The vain person wants praise, applause, admiration, too much and is always angling for it. It is a fault, but a childlike and even (in an odd way) a humble fault. It shows that you are not yet completely contented with your own admiration. You value other people enough to want them to look at you. You are, in fact, still human. The real black, diabolical Pride comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you.”

    Lewis didn’t say so, but this is a pretty good, non-diagnostic definition of a sociopath, or at least one major identifier. Others include a lack of empathy, little or no remorse, manipulation, lying, a sense of superiority, little regard for right and wrong or rules of any kind, and aggression or hostility.

    People can have lots of these traits and still not be certifiably sociopathic. After all, some of these qualities apply to toddlers and everyday bullies. All of us have the capacity to fall into some very unpleasant, even sociopathic behavior, some more than others.

    Pride is at the center of all sins to which we humans are prone. At the dawn of humanity, Satan whispered the false promise that we could achieve divinity, something still being whispered. That would mean reducing God to a myth, an afterthought or an advisor at best. When we do that, we put our immortal souls in peril and make those around us miserable.

    Jesus came to save us from ourselves. The Easter chronicle of His death and resurrection is the story of salvation as big as the whole world and as personal as the human heart. Because of our inherently prideful nature, we simply cannot save ourselves, no matter how “good” we try to be. Heaven does not grade on a curve. Nobody is perfect enough to merit entrance without a Savior covering our sins.

    We’re only human, a phrase often abused as an excuse. But our human nature does not compare to God’s benevolence. How, for example, can we forgive others who have done terrible things? Or even, as Jesus admonished, to “love our enemies?”

    The good news is that we don’t have to indulge in unrealistic expectations. As Lewis writes, “loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice …. That is an enormous relief. For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are.”

    Good. I am not having warm thoughts about Mr. Putin these days.

    Reduced to its essence, loving your enemies means hating the sin but loving the sinner. This is foolishness to those steeped in worldly “wisdom” and pridefulness.

    Unlike pride, healthy self-esteem is a good thing. Hardcore criminals were once thought of as lacking in self-esteem. But the opposite is true. They are prideful and contemptuous of those who follow the law. Like Mr. Putin, criminals think the rules don’t apply to them.

    Years ago, California created a commission to promote self-esteem. In a report, most of the contributors emphasized worldly achievement.

    Conversely, the entry by James Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family, said that true self esteem comes not from our own accomplishments but from knowing that we are creations of a God who loves us so much that He descended to our level, sacrificed Himself for our sins, and conquered death for all who believe.

    That’s the Easter message being observed around the world, including in Mr. Putin’s Russia. Pray that its brilliant simplicity will illuminate what looks to be a darkening heart.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge

    Originally posted here.

    Image: Adapted from: https://pixabay.com/photos/putin-politics-kremlin-russia-2847423/

    Robert Knight is a columnist for The Washington Times. His website is http://www.roberthknight.com.

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