Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Analyze This

I have glasses like Freud!
What would HE say about this?
For the last couple of days, I’ve been writing what has become what I think is one of my most convoluted and unreadable blog entries yet. So you’re not going to get to read that one. It was sort of a commentary on the sermon our pastor gave on Sunday, based solely on my own observations and supposings about human nature.

What he was talking about was Jephthah, from the book of judges and how his behavior was characterized by his insecurity, as the cast out illegitimate son. The pastor then had occasion to list the signs that a person might be an insecure person, as Jephthah was. I won’t give you the list, but basically, and if you know an a-hole, chances are, they are insecure. 

You see, apparently, if a person is secure, they have nothing to prove (this most obvious example being Jesus Himself), while the opposite is true of a person who is insecure: this person will go around trying to assert their power and opinion everywhere in an effort to say, “I AM HERE! I AM IMPORTANT!” and is unable to see other points of view.

I don’t know if this goes along with current psychological scholarship, but it makes sense to me and fits with what I have observed. Now I will say that there is every chance that I myself suffer from insecurity and am one of these a-holes. After all, I am always giving you my opinion and whatnot... and apparently one of the features of the insecure person is the inability to recognize one’s own jerkishness, so... I’m just putting that out there. Maybe I’m this kind of person. I don’t know – it’s not like someone is going to tell me... is it?

Jephthah - what a jerk!
(It's actually heartening to note
that he's included in a list of
faithful saints in Hebrews 11.)
That said, my question is this: if you know someone like this, and you know you do, how should one deal with him or her? I mean, it’s kind of a relief to know they’re not just a flat-out a-hole... that there’s something behind it... something deep and possibly painful... I guess knowing this could be helpful... but really, I’m not sure it helps me know how to behave toward the person. 

I mean, how does one reassure them they they are important without reinforcing their sense of “rightness”? My earlier attempt to reason this out was full of amateur psychology, Bible character analysis and just ... ramblings. And in the end I just had to come to the conclusion that I so often reach: I DON'T KNOW. 

I mean, it’s not like you can go up to a person and say, “Look, you’re an a-hole. You must be insecure,” then, “Rest assured that you are important; there’s no need to insist that you are.” 

Well, you can't go wrong loving them, and besides that... I’m guessing that PRAYER is the way to go for all of us. Because, really, in the end, the hope of changing other people is a vain one – it has to be THEIR project. Even the work of changing myself is an uphill climb, and the going is likely to be slow. That’s been my experience with resetting my own behavioral defaults up until now, anyway. In any case, we can't go wrong inviting God to lend an Almighty Hand.
Van Morrison

It's especially helpful if we can grasp – even a little bit – the concept of God as our security. In this case, not only will the Supreme God of the Universe give us a boost, He will HOLD US UP! How secure can you get? What would the world look like if everyone was 100% sure they were held up by God, and had no reason to push or act defensively? I don’t know, but I wouldn't mind seeing it.

(I love this version of Be Thou My Vision by Van Morrison, in which he calls God his "high tower." That's solid.)

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