March 11, 2011 must have started out as a usual day for Japan. Midway thru the day, things turned upside down for most people. The earthquake that rattled Japan was unlike any other that they experienced. The Tsunami that followed wreaked havoc and damaged property all along its path. Terrible disaster! Lives lost, property damage and economy collapse are but few of the many ways in which Japan, the world’s third largest economy, was affected.
It is a very sad situation for the victims and the families who were affected by these disasters. To top it all, failing nuclear reactors have increased radioactivity in the country. Oh! How scared the residents must be! How much pain and agony they must be facing! People in the entire world are extending whatever support they can through whatever means. Our prayers and best wishes for speedy recovery are with them.
On the other hand, I would like to explore Biblical similarities and allow you to come to your own conclusions.
Let me start by talking about ego and egoism. These words are related. Below are some definitions of these words.
Egoism: Excessive preoccupation with one’s own well-being and interests, usually accompanied by an inflated sense of self-importance.
Ego: an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others
Here are some meanings from the thesaurus.
Egoism: arrogance, assurance, boastfulness, boasting, bragging, conceit, conceitedness, egocentricity, egomania, egotism, gasconade, haughtiness, insolence, megalomania, narcissism, ostentation, overconfidence, presumption, pride, self-absorption, self-admiration, self-confidence, self-importance, self-interest, self-love, self-possession, self-regard, self-centeredness, self-worship, selfishness, superiority, swell headedness, vainglory, vanity, vaunting
That’s a lot to think about!
Were the Japanese egoistic?
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, on Monday, March 14, 2011, told reporters, “Japanese politics is tainted with egoism and populism. We need to use tsunami to wipe out egoism, which has rusted onto the mentality of Japanese over a long period of time.”
“I think (the disaster) is tembatsu (divine punishment), although I feel sorry for disaster victims,” he said. (Read more at: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9LVGSV01&show_article=1)
Though the governor recanted this comment, it made me ponder if there was more to this than meets the eye.
“The identity of the Japanese people is selfishness. The Japanese people must take advantage of this tsunami as means of washing away their selfish greed. I really do think this is divine punishment.” (Complete article http://www.japanprobe.com/2011/03/15/tokyo-governor-earthquake-was-divine-punishment-ishihara_damare/)
Going only by these statements, I’m concluding that the Japanese had this psychological characteristic – egoism.
Does the Bible have such experiences recorded for us?
Yes, of course! It is a book for all times. I will pick 2 examples from the scores available.
1. The Shinarites and Their Tower
After the flood, all that people could think of, was safety, was it? The people migrated to the land of Shinar and thought of building a tower reaching the heavens! What could the motive be? They wanted to make a name for themselves in the earth; thinking, if there be a flood again, they wouldn’t need to build a boat; as they would be safe high above the waters. I’m not sure if all these thoughts went thru their minds, but we can speculate these based on the consequent results.
Soon, God allowed confusion to prevail, and the building work stopped. Fortunately, the incident ended only with separation and not destruction. But, I guess you got the point. At the height of man’s ego, God cut it down to size to show where man belongs.
2. Nebuchadnezzar and His Seven Years
King Nebuchadnezzar goes into history as one of the most powerful kings ever, and one of the most humiliated too. You see, after all his invasions and conquering, he was filled with insurmountable pride.
The Babylonian kingdom was magnificent (I wish I was there to have seen it). It was the kingdom of Gold, the head of all nations, the ruler. Wow! Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of it all. Impressive!
So, as he stood on his balcony, perhaps, and saw his kingdom, he exclaimed something of this sort “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” At that very moment, he became as a beast of the field. Talk about predicted curses and punishments! You can read all about it in Daniel 4.
Don’t you think it is true, my dear readers, that “Pride precedes a disaster, and an arrogant attitude precedes a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 (GOD’S WORD® Translation)
While I deeply sympathize with the people of Japan, I believe that the political stand must rethink on the lines of Ishihara’s words and make changes before anything else happens.
God bless you!