Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Relational Idolatry - Introduction/Segue from Narcissism

Last week, I talked about narcissism and how that arises as a response to being hurt significantly. We talked about how we come to a deep dissatisfaction with ourselves and see ourselves as flawed. That we don't like who we are, and are terrified that anyone would ever come to know us. We are so filled with shame and discontent that we choose to create a false image of who we want to be. And we show that image to others. We want so hard to believe that we are this false image, (and in wanting others to believe it too), that we become enslaved to this image. We maintain this image with an inordinate amount of energy, strength, and dedication. It becomes an idol in our lives.

To an extent, we all do this. To varying degrees, each of us have invested in an image we want to present to others. But this is not the only response we take when we are faced with self-resentment and rejection. There is a flip side of this coin.

When we are unable to attain a sense of wholeness on our own; when we realize that maintaining this false image is too much to bear, we begin to look outwards for a savior. Even when we've been hurt by outside people before and afraid to trust again, we hang on to a hope that maybe there is someone out there whom we can believe in. Maybe there is someone out there who is Mr. Right or Miss Right for us. It doesn't matter if we're Christian or non-Christian, this is a sin we commonly share. We look to the other to fill our needs, to strengthen us where we lack, and to give us a sense of wholeness that we could not, and can not attain for ourselves.

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