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Tag Archives: narcissism

You Don’t Want God To Leave You Alone

Inside of every human being, there is an alter ego like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Authors of the Bible refer to this as a sinful nature, the invisible force that persuaded a son to become a prodigal.  Regardless of how stable you may be, thoughts of rebellion occasionally drift in and out of minds.  For those who eventually embrace this concept, to ignore the advice of family, friends or guardians, you abandon those who care about you the most.  Nonetheless, disappointment, frustration or narcissism influences some to leave their previous life to start all over again.

After this he fell in love with a [Philistine] woman [living] in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. So the [five] lords (governors) of the Philistines came to her and said to her, “Persuade him, and see where his great strength lies and [find out] how we may overpower him so that we may bind him to subdue him, Judges 16:4-5.

On the other hand, there are other people who haven’t done anything wrong.  Yet, due to a series of accidents, mishaps and trials, these individuals get the feeling that God has abandoned them.  These emotions can lead to justification as minds ponder, “well if God left me, why should I stick around?”  Meanwhile, love has a strange way of changing human beings.  When you meet or see the person of your dreams, you will do everything in your power to make this relationship happen.  Some may exaggerate, lie or pretend to be someone else just to win the approval of the person you love.  Such is the case of Samson who ignored his parent’s advice about marrying a godly Jewish girl in favor of a Philistine named Delilah.

She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as I have time after time and shake myself free.” For Samson did not know that the Lord had departed from him. 21 Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with [two] bronze chains; and he was forced to be a grinder [of grain into flour at the mill] in the prison, Judges 16:20-21.

The longer Samson played this immature little game with his wife, any resemblance of integrity slowly disappeared.  Thus, at some point, the Lord left Samson who was spiritually unaware of God’s departure.  It was at this time when Delilah’s plot was successful, cutting all of his hair, the source behind Samson’s mighty strength.  Subsequently, Samson was bound to two pillars, lost his ability to see and forced to be a slave, grinding flower while imprisoned.  Despite this hardship, the presence of God returned according to verse 22, enabling Samson’s strength to be restored as his hair grew back.

Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this one time, O God, and let me take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes,” Judges 16:28.

Like the prodigal in Luke 15, Samson comes to his senses.  Instead of blaming God for his problems, Samson cries out to the Lord, seeking forgiveness and restoration.  As a few thousand Philistine guests mocked Samson’s arrest, giving praise to their god Dagon, the Lord agrees to answer Samson’s prayer.  While this meant sacrificing his own life, the Lord empowered Samson like the days of his youth, giving him the strength to carry out this mission.  If there is any lesson you can take away from the life of Samson, it’s that you don’t want God to leave you alone.

by Jay Mankus

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Just How Much I Don’t Know

Beginning in 1989, Nike began the Bo Knows advertising campaign to sell a new line of cross training sneakers.  Due to the amazing talent displayed by Bo Jackson as a professional running back for the Oakland Raiders and baseball player for the Kansas City Royals, the concept that Bo Knows fit.  Improbable for most people, Bo’s athleticism didn’t seem to be a reach.  Thus, the ideal that Bo Jackson could play any sport was conceived.

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge, Proverbs 18:15.

Nearly twenty years later, over confidence isn’t a problem.  Rather, narcissism is on the rise as many Americans are convinced that they can do anything they set their minds toward.  While confidence isn’t a bad trait to possess, the danger comes when people believe without a doubt that they are right and everything else is wrong.  If you follow politics, this explains the tension which exists between party lines.

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings, Hosea 6:6.

As for me, I have reached a point in life where the older I become, the less I actually know.  Once clear absolutes like honesty, marriage and truth have turned into fifty shades of grey.  Opinions are replacing facts with good intentions rewarded for being on the right side on political correctness.  The world that I wake up to daily is a distant memory from the Christian values I was taught as a child.  Yet, transformation begins from within, displayed through faith in action.  Although many in the world may disagree with my point of view, emulating the love of Christ is the only way to revive wounded souls.  Actions speak louder than any spoken or written word.

by Jay Mankus

Where Did Ethos Go?

While I never finished completing seminary due to my iritis, the classes I completed have provided a plethora of knowledge.  One of my favorite terms is the Greek word ethos.  Philosophers like Aristotle used ethos in the context of a person’s character.  Yet, ethos means so much more, its the expression of love, allowing others to see that you genuinely care about their lives.  Those individuals who demonstrate ethos on a daily basis earn the right to be heard.

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, Matthew 9:12.

Unfortunately, as I interact with people, listen to what others believe and watch how different worldviews treat one another, the concept of ethos is vanishing.  Narcissism, pride and stubborn hearts are leaving a trail of hate, attacking anyone who opposing their beliefs.  C.S. Lewis eludes to this oblivious trait as diabolical pride in Mere Christianity.  If this flaw continues, the concept of ethos may disappear.

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,” Matthew 9:13.

There are certain areas, subjects or topics where people claim to be experts, knowing much more than most others.  Yet, it would help if individuals would learn to become humble and more teachable.  While you may think you know more than a boss, manager or teacher, showing respect breeds ethos.  If the phrase sharing is caring is employed, a generation will begin to witness the powerful effects of ethos on society.

by Jay Mankus

Desperate for Leadership

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen, 1 John 4:20.

Most individuals talk a good game, yet when you put their actions under a microscope there isn’t much to be inspired by.  Perhaps a rise in narcissism is to blame, turning a blind eye to reality, living by the mantra, “do as I say, not as I do!”  Unfortunately, a lack of integrity, morality and quality parenting is feeding a generation of self-seekers, cutting corners to get ahead, whatever the cost.

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes, 1 John 2:11.

Meanwhile, the middle class are stuck in the mud, dreaming of brighter days only to wake up to a living nightmare.  Peer pressure, political correctness and those seeking approval often decide to go with the flow, even if its the wrong direction.  The rest of the crowd, standing on the sidelines wait, is hoping a pied piper will come to their rescue.  In the meantime, souls are hungry and thirsting for leadership.

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil, John 7:7.

In the absence of good character, its time for people to take a stand for what they believe.  Jesus knew the world hated him, yet his purpose in life was to fulfill the will of God the Father.  Likewise, the faith community need to get off their couches, find places to serve in their community and show the path for others to follow.  As Jesus once said, “the harvest is ready, but the workers are few.”   Get in the game today while there is still time left on life’s clock.

by Jay Mankus

 

Diabolical Pride

The phrase pertaining to the devil was developed in the early 1500’s to define diabolical.  Forty years later in 1540, befitting the devil was added to complete modern definitions of this term.  In the 1667 classic Paradise Lost, author John Milton linked diabolical with Satan.  The Greek word diabolos is used by Jews and Christians today to describe the Devil or Satan.

In the 1940’s, C.S. Lewis began to air a sermon series on the radio, known as his Broadcast Talks.  By 1944, this content was published into 3 separate books, eventually forming Mere Christianity.  The second book, Christian Behaviour, completed in 1943, contains one of the most intriguing chapters on pride ever written.  Entitled The Great Sin, chapter 7 addresses the dangers of pride mentioned by Solomon in Proverbs 6:16-19.

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While pride refers to arrogance, conceit and haughtiness, diabolical pride has a darker meaning.  According to Lewis, this type of pride can spiritually blind individuals to the point “you look down on others so much that you do not care what others think.”  Similar to the owner on last week’s episode of Bar Rescue, this man never heard a word that Jon Taffer said.  Despite being a world renown expert in saving bars, night clubs and restaurants from going out of business, this owner of Metal & Lace in Austin, Texas was oblivious to Jon’s constructive criticism.

Escaping the grips of diabolical pride isn’t easy.  The proud have trained themselves to discount any idea, suggestion or thought that doesn’t come within, causing heart felt advice to fall upon deaf ears.  Meanwhile, prideful heads are stuck so high in the sky that unless someone from their inner circle questions them, no change is likely.  Thus, humility through defeat, failure or rejection is the only pathway toward transformation.  Yet, narcissism often lingers like an addiction, deceiving minds from the truth.  Love, time and prayer may be the only factors to rescue an arrogant soul from the chains of diabolical pride.

by Jay Mankus

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