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Corroding the Human Soul

November 8, 2022

The three most corrosive elements for the human soul are wealth, power, and fame.

I recently heard this quote at a retreat I attended, and it’s caused me to truly consider the concept. 

First of all, corrosion happens when one thing encounters another thing that makes it deteriorate. For example, when metal encounters continuous moisture, it’s likely to rust and change shape. Water isn’t bad, but when moisture causes the hub of a bicycle wheel to warp, the wheel won’t turn properly, and it won’t be safe to ride. 

The same is true when you consider the ways an over-exposure of wealth, power, or fame can affect a person. It can warp a person’s perspective of themselves and the world around them, and ultimately render them not only useless, but harmful to themselves and the people closest to them.

Wealth isn’t inherently bad. But, if we live to acquire wealth, we will compare everything we own with the latest fashion, technology, cars, houses, and other things our friends have—and we can’t stand it until our things are newer than theirs. Even when we get what we want, the joy quickly fades because we worry that someone, somewhere has something better.

Power alone isn’t evil. However, a relentless pursuit of power causes us to insist on always being one up. People will feel used (and often abused). We may be charming one minute but intimidating the next—whatever works to beat the competition.

If we live to acquire fame, we’ll stay up late at night mentally replaying conversations to think what we might have said differently to impress people more (or avoid looking stupid). We are chameleons, changing our words and behavior to please whoever is in front of us.

If we’re being honest, we all desire wealth, power, and fame to different degrees. Kept in check, you can prevent corrosion, be a blessing, and have a positive influence on others.

However, loving wealth, power, or fame quickly turns us sour.

If we live to acquire them, they will eat away at our lives. 

I wish I had a solid checklist of things to do to avoid the corrosive powers of wealth, power, and fame. However, the struggle is so personal, that it varies from person to person. 

Here’s a good way to keep yourself in check: when you find thoughts of wealth, power, and fame consuming your attention, you should be on guard that corrosion might be taking place. 


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