We are currently studying Japan. We just watched a movie on the history of the Japanese, including the Samurai. There was a description of dignity that really struck me as being in such contrast with the values of Christianity.
The movie explained that the Samurai were well educated in academics, well practiced in the arts, and carried themselves with great dignity and honor everywhere all the time. This dignity was manifested by stoic composure and control. Their faces were to never reveal their inner thoughts, they were to move with careful purpose. Feelings and thoughts were to be kept deep inside.
Presenting oneself as acceptable was considered to be of the utmost importance. They were to need nothing, fear nothing, want nothing.
I believe that, as Christians, we are to exercise self control. We ought to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, but they are not to be given authority over our actions. So in that way, the philosophies and life-styles are similar.
However, with God, the source of self-control is not a burden to us. We do not need to hide or mask ourselves to our Father, nor to anyone else. On the contrary, we offer the worst parts of ourselves in humble honesty to Christ. We allow with willful submission the Potter to purify and mold us so that we are not suppressing or hiding our bad selves. Those selves are made new and we have nothing to hide!
How wonderful the freedom in Christ is! I cannot imagine living with the burden of self-control from my own strength. I am blessed to know that I don’t need to work day and night to control some beast inside of me. Instead, I get to be fully me, accepted.