What is the Meaning of Life
Our Personality is Like Mr. Hyde
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 112 Our Personality is Like Mr. Hyde by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about a very simple phenomenon that most of us have experienced at some time in our lives. We’re going to a party and we determine that we are not going to draw attention to ourselves; we’re not going to make ourselves the center of all the excitement and interest. We are going to concentrate on making our wife, and our friends, and the others at the party feel important.
We are going to give them a sense of enjoyment by listening to their jokes, by laughing at their jokes, and by taking an interest in their experiences — instead of, as usual, drawing attention to our own selves with our own jokes and by our own stories. So, we go to the party with that determination. Lo and behold, a matter of half an hour after we have been at the party, we suddenly find that we are at it again.
We are suddenly talking like mad, telling the jokes, drawing attention to our experiences, drawing the conversation subtly and shrewdly around to the things that we’re good at, and before we know it, we can begin to see that glazed look in the eyes of our hearers as they listen again to yet another one of our jokes and they listen yet again to one of our experiences, and we begin to see that nobody else is as important as us in the midst of the party.
Why does that happen? That’s what we are discussing. What we have been saying is it happens because of a real twist and perversion that has taken place in our own personalities. We were meant, by our Creator, to live in dependence on His good opinion of us. That’s why we were made. You were created by your Maker to love Him and to trust Him. You were made for His approval. That’s it! He really thinks a lot of you.
He has numbered even the hairs of your head. That’s what His Son told us, “Even the hairs of your head are numbered.” Even your mother has not counted the hairs of your head, and certainly your dad hasn’t, and your husband or wife hasn’t. But your Creator who made you has counted even the hairs of your head. He knows your name! You are very dear to him! There is nobody like you in the whole universe. There never has been anybody like you, and there never will be anybody like you. You are unique!
You are an individual! You are one of a kind. You are the only one! You’re a “Limited Edition” that the Maker has made. To Him you are very special and very dear. You are meant to get your sense of self-worth and self-esteem from that love that He has for you. That’s the way He intended you to live. (cid:9)But, of course, what we men and women have done is throw all that stuff over as old-fashioned religion. We have said, “There is no God! There is no Creator! There is nobody who really cares for me besides myself.”
So we have ended up with a great gap or vacuum in our lives, caused by the absence of the Creator’s love. We find that somehow we have to fill that gap and that vacuum. It was made to be filled by the love of an infinite Person. But, of course, we have given up belief in that infinite Person, and so we have a great need for love and attention.
That, in its turn, has forced us to try to get that attention from the other people in the world, to try to get their approval, to get their attention, to get their acknowledgement, to get their praise. And in so doing, to create a sense of self-worth and self-esteem in ourselves. As a result of this, we have over the years, forced our personalities into all kinds of hideous contortions. Our little eyes dart out, looking for the smile from our boss.
Our little ears are perked all the time listening for some word of praise. Have you ever noticed how as someone is talking about you, you’re listening all the time for the moment when they will say something in praise of you, or something that shows they think a lot of you. It’s because of our personalities, down through the years of our lives, as we’ve looked out continually for other people’s praise in order to make up for the lack of praise that we no longer have from our Maker.
We have twisted and perverted the way our emotions work, the way our intellects work, the way our body even works, the way our eyes and our ears work, so that together with the perversion of our personality, we have added, actually, the perversion that has taken place down through the centuries and centuries. For the amazing thing is that our whole race has been doing this for centuries.
So there has been bred into our racial personality a desire for the praise of men and for the approval of women that has perverted our own emotional and intellectual and physical natures so that now we can now no longer live above this desperate need to get everybody to give us attention. That is why we end up at a party doing the very thing we swore we wouldn’t do.
We swore that we wouldn’t draw everybody’s attention to us, but we end up doing it, because our very personal natures are a Jekyll and Hyde nature. That is, on the outside of us there is a Dr. Jekyll who wants to be generous to other people, who want to give other people attention. Inside there is a Mr. Hyde nature, a monster, that wants everybody to give attention to it. In fact, it’s a side of us that actually wants to be God. That’s it. We really want to be worshipped.
We really want everybody to give the worship to us that they would want to give to themselves or they’d want to give to their Maker. That’s why we end up with this impossible nature inside us that can never be satisfied. In fact, that’s what we find, don’t we! We’re gluttons. We just cannot do without more praise and more praise and more praise.
It doesn’t matter how much attention we get at one party — we find ourselves playing the “old comedian act” again at the next party to get attention. It doesn’t matter much how we determine to go home and give attention and praise to our wives, we end up dragging and drawing and sucking praise into ourselves as hard as we can, before we realize what we are doing.
Now, that has taken place, because we were meant to look to our Creator, but instead of doing that we looked to other human beings here on this earth for the praise and attention and sense of value and self-worth that only He can give us. The tragedy of this whole thing is that it has become part of us. So that you know you try to change the habits of a lifetime, but it seems just impossible. It seems that your very nature has become perverted.
Here’s the way one man put it in that old book that we call the Bible. It really takes its name from “Ta Biblia”, the Greek word, meaning The Books. It’s the Books, of course, that tell of that remarkable man, Jesus, who lived in the first century. One of his followers is called Paul. He wrote a letter to people who lived at Rome. In Chapter 7, verse 15, he writes like this. He says, “I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now, if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. So I find it to be a law, that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” Then he says an interesting thing. “For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at work with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.”
It’s interesting, isn’t it!? Most of us find that. We find that we approve of the things that people say God approves of. We think we should be unselfish. We think we should be loving. We think we should be free from envy and pride. We think we should give attention to other people, and make them feel good. But we find almost a law inside of us that makes us operate the other way, so that we end up giving attention to ourselves and drawing praise to ourselves.
It’s as if there is one part of us that wants to live the way our Maker made us to live, dependent on His love. There’s another part that has developed over the years and the centuries that wants to depend on people and what they think of us. So we find that our nature, the very nature that we have (the Bible happens to call it our “old nature”) prevents us living the way we were meant to live.
There is an escape from this. That’s what I would like to share with you and talk about. So let’s talk a little more tomorrow about this nature and how it is like us ourselves. It is as if we ourselves are that nature. We’re not. We’re really another nature. But let’s talk about that tomorrow.