Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Pride that Destroys Life

The recent suicide of an apartment security guard broke our heart, begins the column of the Catholic Times' Eyes of the Believer, by a parish priest. An apartment resident constantly assaulted a security guard making violent threats that were too much for the guard, and he ended his life.

There was an appeal in his suicide note; he had no way to solve the oppression, this is a good example of classism— class discrimination and exclusion based on social class which is to benefit the upper class at the expense of what is considered the lower class. It is rooted in society and emerges at times as violence against human life and dignity.

Not long ago, in the United States, an African American, George Floyd, was choked on the knees of a white police officer for about eight minutes before he died. He said he couldn't breathe repeatedly but no response from the officer. The officer was immediately arrested for murder, and protests have intensified throughout the United States, leading to the deployment of soldiers.

Even though the States are dealing with the Corona 19, the riots in response to the death of George Floyd
has complicated the situation due to this extreme case of racism. A white police officer in a 'Gap' position dealing with the 'Eul' offender who was African American. Would the police have the same attitude towards a white man?

'Gap-Eul relations' in Korean society comes from business language where two people are in contractual situations. 'Gap' or (A) is in the dominant position and 'Eul' ( B), is in the subordinate relationship. This is a hot issue in Korean society.

The above two incidents have in common that the perpetrator, 'Gap', was using threatening anti-life behavior against the victim, 'Eul', and the violence led to death. The difference, however, is that the apartment security guard's death was self-inflicted due to the culture of dominance and subordination, while the death of the African American was a direct killing.

The root of Gap's actions lies in mistaking the relationship between 'Gap' and 'Eul' as a vertical power structure. The tenant did not see the security guard as a person but treated him as an object, screaming and threatening him. The white police officer ignored the other person's personality, dignity, and treated him as a disposable object. The most extreme act towards another is violence and killing— a culture of anti-life, death.

Gap behavior belongs to the culture of death and is rooted in the pride that others can be controlled. Human pride is the absolutization of oneself.

Really, can one absolutize oneself? Then you become like God. So pride leads to sin and evil, and sin leads to death. God is the only absolute human being. The arrogant person depersonalizes the other person. As a believer, aren't we committing this? Our original sin itself is attributed to Adam and Eve's desire to become like God through the temptation of a serpent in the Garden of Eden. The Tower of Babel shown in Genesis also originated from the pride of humans who wanted to become like God, and as a result of committing the absolutization of themselves, life was devastated and chaos, division, confrontation, and conflict in language resulted. Therefore, mankind has been describing the history of sin as the history of the human desire to become like God. We must take this lesson of history and take the wise path to love and life, not the foolish path to sin and death.

Being a service to others like Jesus is the way Christians go about shaping the world. There is no desire to be a 'Gap' rather, the 'Eul'. which should be our default position as Christians. You must practice the love of giving yourself like the Master Jesus, who kneels, washes, and wipes the disciples' feet. Sugar and salt are definitely different. The sugar melts and gives its taste, but the salt melts and makes everything taste better. Let's be the person who plays the role of salt!

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