BREAKING FREE… PART 5
For the past four weeks we have been following a series of teaching called, “Breaking Free: (Moving towards Wholeness”) We opened up the series by looking into Eph 4:12-13, where we see that God’s intended purpose for all of us is that we may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
God’s intention for all of us is that we all will mature in order that we might receive the fullness of Christ. Unfortunately most Christians struggle when it comes to maturity and attaining the fullness of Christ. We learned how much of our past, especially the negative side influences our present. In Amos 7th chapter God likened the nation of
to a tottering wall that was flimsy, shaky and was to be destroyed any moment. We looked at how certain wrong
messages of our parents, teachers, peers and the media may have wrongly
influenced and shaped our personalities. We build walls that separate us from
God and others. Some personalities
are brick bound, and the person within is no more than a prisoner behind the
walls of his heart.
We learned that people generally respond to hurt, depending on their personality type. Those who are passive move in rejection and those who are aggressive fight back in rebellion . These two responses are defense mechanisms to protect themselves from getting further hurt. They build defensive walls of rejection and rebellion. These walls may afford some degree of protection, but they also lock up a part of our personality, affecting our ability to love, and trust and form meaningful relationships. We looked at a few devastating bricks in the wall of rejection such as sadness, self pity, self hatred, inferiority and depression. Following a human plumb line of rejection is a great handicap and if allowed, could rob us even our life itself.
The more aggressive individual on the other hand may adopt a new reactionary reference point by following a human plumbline of rebellion. To completely resist following the rejection plumb line may open the way to accept rebellion. Let’s examine the defensive wall of Rebellion.
I. THE DEFENSIVE WALL OF REBELLION:
Idi Amin Dada, the previous ruler and the military dictator of
is a contemporary example of a man with classic rebellious personality in the
most extreme form. Growing up as a member of the Nubians, an itinerant group,
Idi Amin abandoned by his father at a young age, continually moved from place
to place, never knowing who his real father was. In Uganda the Nubians are considered
the lowliest of the low. The message he received while growing was clearly one
of rejection. Uganda
When Amin joined the military and rose in rank, he threw off the message of rejection he had received all his life and began following a plumb line of rebellion. He developed a superiority complex. He became a fanatical soldier, ruthlessly competitive and willing to use any means to stay in power. Emulating his hero, Adolph Hitler, Amin was responsible for the torture and murder of over 100,000 of his own people since 1971.
Amin became so arrogant that on several occasions he wrote to the Queen of England offering to help solve the political and economic problems of the
. Amin is quoted as saying, “I, myself,
consider myself the most powerful figure in the world,” that shows his delusion
and dominance. Here is a man who lived
on the side of rejection all his life but when it was not meeting his needs he
moved to the rebellion and built a defensive wall of rebellion in order to
cover up his own pain of rejection. Each building block represent both a
blockage to God’s planned personality development, as well as a block in the
walls of our heart. As we study, it may be helpful to make a note where you
find yourself identifying. United Kingdom
The wall of rebellion contains eighteen blocks and they can be divided into three categories. Firstly Emotions: Hostility, Conceit, Sophistication, Elation, and Deflation. Secondly, Intellect: Superior, Competitive, Dominant, Rigid, Manipulation, Stubborn, Unteachable. Thirdly, Spirit: Delusion, Bitterness, Resentment, Critical, Controlling and possessive. For the want of time I will only deal with a few of these blocks.
Let’s begin with Hostility (anger). It is a condition or an attitude. It is the extreme side of anger with intent to take revenge or antagonize which often results in acts of violence and warfare. Anger often arises from hurt, and it is normal. If hurt is incessant, anger may also be. Anger can be released in a constructive way but uncontrolled hostility can be very dangerous.
How do we define anger? It is a huge subject of discussion but for now anger is an emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation. Videbeck describes anger as a “normal emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation.” DeFoore. describes anger as a pressure cooker; we can only apply pressure against our anger for a certain amount of time until it explodes.
A person with persistent temper problems often suffers from some unresolved, internal conflict or unhealed wound deep with in. When anger finds no acceptable outlet it goes underground. It may become a vicious cycle of first over-controlling and then exploding out of control. Anger first surfaced after the fall of man. Do you remember what happened to Cain when his offering got rejected but Able’s was accepted? He was very angry and his face was downcast. So what did he do? He couldn’t control this strong feeling of displeasure he attacked his brother in the field and killed. Do you see what happens when this devastating emotion is out of control? Whatever form or shape anger may take it is destructive when it is not controlled.
The second block we want to look at is Conceit (Pride): This distortion is best defined as being aloof or apart from others, reflecting an overt degree of personal vanity and egocentricity. What is conceit? It is an excessively favorable opinion of one’s own ability or importance. It is nothing but arrogance, pride, self admiration, narcissism, and self exaltation. People feel depreciated and even belittled around a conceited person through the expression of one-upmanship. In other words a conceited or proud person constantly looks for ways to put people down in order to boost their own deflated ego.
The inner cry for a conceited person is for loving and meaningful relationships and friendships but they fence themselves off from any such relationships through their aloof behavior or condescending comments. They often think that they know better than anybody else and what they have to say is of utmost important.
Many years ago after completing my discipleship training I went back home with a swollen and puffed up head with all spiritual knowledge. I thought I knew better than the pastor and other elders in my church until God had painfully yet graciously dealt with my pride. Ex. Correcting the preacher, in the middle of his message. Interestingly, these two sins anger and pride are listed in the seven deadly sins known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, by the early Christians to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin.
The scriptures are very clear about the dangers of anger and pride. These are truly deadly. They have the potential to destroy, individuals, families, churches and even societies. Let’s see how else a conceited or proud person progresses as he continues to remain behind the wall of rebellion. Another deadly block in the wall of rebellion is Superiority. We see the block of superiority most commonly in the academic world, which many instances has become a type of caste system. All too often those with higher qualifications relate to lower ranks only on basic issues, if at all.
But when people constantly act in a superior, condescending manner it often indicates they are over compensating for their own feelings of inferiority. When we are put down by them, they feel lifted up. Feeling superior to others is often an attempt to mask their painful, repressed inferiority. Such feelings may have been programmed by abusive parenting or early peer persecution, but this block of superiority very often isolates the individual from maintaining meaningful relationships in life. Who would want to be a friend of someone who always thinks and acts as though if he or she is superior?
Here is a scriptural advice to those who might be struggling with this awful block of superiority complex. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” - Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
A person who struggles with superiority complex often becomes highly competitive and dominant. Today, more and more wives are not only playing the key role in their marriages, they are dominating the whole relationships. This pattern in contemporary marriages is of considerable interest and concern to sociologists. What is causing this significant shift in the family? Dominance arises out of insecurity, and insecurity comes from a love deficit.
Husbands either have forgotten or do not know how to love their wives. Often they lust after them without understanding the difference between love and lust. A lusting relationship leaves a wife feeling used and insecure and as a result frustration and even frigidity may set in. In order to avoid this process, a wife may then try to manipulate her mate into meeting her need for love.
Such domineering moves may eventually destroy a relationship, and that is exactly what is happening in so many families today. Another two blocks in the wall of rebellion are resentment and bitterness. Resentment arises in our hearts when we fail to extend forgiveness.
When hurt or wounded by a word, action or reaction, we face the choice to either forgive or resent. If we forgive, we are in the place to be forgiven by God for our own sins. But if we allow resentment in our hearts, we also place a block in the way of God’s forgiveness and open the door for bitterness to enter. The Bible warns us to be careful lest there spring up within any of us a bitter root through which many become defiled. If we allow bitterness in our hearts, it’s like a weed with a strong root planted within. Once we allow that root to be planted, soon it will spread to take over our heart and contaminate our mind, spirit and body.
Forgiving one another is what love is all about; not to forgive, is to become bitter and hard in spirit. Bitterness has destroyed many marriages, families and societies, and we don’t want it to destroy us as well. Bitterness can also predispose us to both mental and physical disorders, which can only be successfully treated after forgiveness is first extended.
As we discussed last week, if we follow the human plumb line of rejection to its end, it becomes apparent that the ultimate act of self-rejection is SUCIDE. The rising incidence of this as a cause of death is alarming. If however, we rather use the human plumb line of rebellion as a reference point in life, we are more likely to end up with a charge of Murder. In this case, we have vented our wrath on another instead of ourselves.
You may feel that the options of pursuing human plumb lines of rejection or rebellion are limited. Is there another choice? Yes there is the true divine plumb line. But wait! You must first consider what is involved. If we accept the Divine plumb line to escape suicide and homicide we must instead embrace being CRUCIFIED. What an option! You say. What does being crucified mean? We will find out the answer next time. Amen