As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. (Proverbs 27:19 NIV)
The sentence “know thyself” is a quote imputed to the Greek Philosopher Socrates, which guided a philosophical thought since the V Century B.C. until a change on the philosophical analysis introduced by Freudians concepts, on the XIX Century. To the Occidental philosophy from Socrates, human happiness is based on full self-understanding only reached through rationality. After Freud, another approach about self-understanding became popular. Emotions started to be recognized as an essential part in this process. So, there is no way of being happy without self-understanding, and the only way to understand ourselves is through emotional transparency. Therefore, only freedom of emotions suffocated by consciousness can bring us human happiness. Humanity has always been in a frenetic search for happiness. Our Lord Jesus lived and taught the Gospel that restored human happiness, in a world full of Socrates racism. In this rationalist world, the search for happiness was based only on full understanding of truth. Moreover, truth was based on absolute self-understanding, trough-exercising rationality.
Because of that, Jesus was questioned several times about “what is the truth”. In the flow of such questions Jesus had taught us the way for real human happiness, which is not based on self understanding through of the rationality paths of Socrates, or even less on the self understanding by release of the pleasure, through overcoming of superego, of Freud. Jesus presents the truth as an understanding of ourselves, through the Creator’s revelation. God, only God as the creator of human kind, is capable of knowing you completely and deeply. Only through a perfect understanding of who we are, through God’s revelation can ensure us genuine happiness.
Having 31 years old and suffering of an agonizing depression, C.S Lewis gave up atheism and hold on to the Christian faith, becoming a huge defense of self understanding through God’s revelation as the only and not replaced way to true happiness.
After becoming Christian, he started to state that happiness would become the main history in his life. This way, he discovered happiness that is born from restoration of our relationship with the Creator. It is the miracle of God’ salvation in Christ making our heart as God’s home that reveals who we are in fact. Because of that Solomon said: “… So one’s life reflects the heart”. In Matthew 12:33 and 34, Jesus compares us to a tree, and in such metaphor He shows perfect harmony as a fruit of self understanding through God’s revelation.
First of all, He states that we are what we produce. “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” For several times we use this verse to explain who are our brothers and sisters and other people. But, that is not Jesus emphasis. If we return to the beginning of the chapter, we will notice that Jesus was dealing with hypocrisy from Pharisees. So that, what Jesus was trying to say here was: Know yourself. Through our fruits we know who we are. Our identity is based on what we produce or leave as legacy. Wherever we go, we sow a little bit of who we are. If we sow peace and happiness, we are from the kingdom of life and fellowship; if we sow hate and fray, we are from the kingdom of darkness and death. Who we are? Our fruits will reveal it.
Secondly, He shows us that each person’s integrity is defined by coherence between what is in fact and what seems to be. “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?“ Hypocrisy is to live peacefully with the incoherence of being bad showing good things. True happiness in Christ lays on an authentic life, recognizing our weaknesses and showing ourselves without fear or hypocrisy. There is only one-way to beat our weaknesses: To recognize them! Reputation is what everyone shows to others; character is what is shown through the omniscient power of God. There is no way to happiness living a lie to yourself. Knowing yourself is to do not accept the incoherence between “to be and what seems to be”. Authenticity is a way that leads us to freedom and brings us peace and abundant life. The lightness of an authentic life with no masks is the most precious pearl that adorns a Christian’ life.
In third place, Jesus teaches us that we are the result of what we feed ourselves. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” We are a result of what we feed ourselves with. If we feed ourselves with good and healthy things, in return we will have health and wellness. So, that we are also a result of what we hear. If we hear mumbles, complaints and pessimism, from our hearts we will pull bitterness, sadness and defeat. We take from our heart what we allow to fall in it. And, goes into our hearts, things that come through our ears.
My experienced father always taught us that: “a heart becomes pregnant through the ears. So that, be very selective to what you allow your ears to hear”. All Christian virtues ensue from perfect self-understanding. There is no possibility to be happy without knowing the truth about ourselves. The word of God is the mirror that shows who we are. Without such understanding, we will never reach happiness. Therefore, Jesus said: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. May God bless us and make us know who we really are. Only this way, we will reach genuine happiness in our Christian life.