In college, I skimmed through the book by Victor Frankl entitled “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Recently I decided to read it again and spend a little more time digesting the concepts.
For those unfamiliar with this book, it is a book written by Victor Frankl about his experiences in a concentration camp. What is so impressive with this man is that before he was sent to the concentration camp he was a doctor of psychology. He had been working on some essays and a book that defined man’s search for meaning and happiness and what motivates man to keep trying. In his book, he describes how he was offered a position at a college in the United States before the Nazis came into Austria, where he lived. Had he taken this position, he would have been safe and would have never entered into the concentration camp. However, one day when he found out his parents were going to more than likely be sent to the camps he felt torn because he felt responsibilty to care for them. He describes how one day he read in the Bible (Frankl was Jewish) to honor your father and your mother. He took this as an answer from God and sacrificed his trip to America. A few months later, he was caring for his father in a concentration camp as his father passed away.
Going back to the concentration camp experience, Frankl describes what happened when he arrived. First, they took all of his belongings, which only consisted of a suitcase, coat, etc. and disposed of them. Next, they stripped the prisoners down to nothing and then shaved them completely naked. Very humiliating.
As I was reading this I had a thought about who we as human beings really are. How would I view myself if I had a similar situation? If everything was taken from me…my house, money, job, clothes…hair (that’s actually on it’s way out right now: )…how would I view myself? Would I still view myself with dignity knowing that I am a child of God? Would I still act and think thoughts about myself as a divine being with unlimited potential?
Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of someone who went through this when he was stripped down to nothing and whipped, beaten, and hung on the cross. Jesus taught to love in spite of all hell coming at you and he lived the perfect example of how to do this in dignity. He spoke with purpose. He chose not to speak at times such as when before kings and people mocking him and showed quite dignity. He taught to forsake all earthly posessions and to not set our hearts on riches.
Trying to love Jesus more fully and live His teachings is how we can ultimately find more meaning in our lives. When all is said and done, we are nothing without Him.
I encourage us all to take steps in prayer and read God’s Word so we can continually develop traits and find our ultimate meaning and purpose in life.