Daar word op die oomblik in die kerk meer gepraat oor self-ontplooiing as oor self-opoffering.-Anon.......As ‘n kerk haar woorde begin devalueer, dan word die kerk ‘n ramp vir die volk. - K Schilder



We should take heed of the fact that a model of evil, as presented earlier, is no word of comfort for those who suffer the consequences of evil. When evil strikes emotions take over and the last thing you want to hear is what evil is and how it works. You know very well what it is - it has just touched you and you could'nt care how it works, what you want to know is how to combat it. Presenting a model of evil doesn't change the sufferer's situation. Uppermost in the sufferer's mind are the emotions of failure, loss, rejection wothlessness, etc and by implication a longing for the opposite to be accepted and be made to feel worthwhile. The formost question is "why?" - why did this happen to me, why must I be made to feel helpless, worthless, a failure, rejected and so on? What is the purpose of all this?

Not that evil is an entitiy of its own (although the chief perpetrators of evil satan and the demons are entities) it is more conveniet, for the moment, to speak of it that way. It is easy to see that in a sense evil robs one of certain valuable things. These things can by asosciated with need & desire fulfillment. One's need for material things or one's desire for emotional fulfillment such as acceptance, being considered worhtwhile, love etc.

These things can all be related to self-esteem. It is so that one can easily build your self-esteem on your material possesisons. And material posessons usually include status symbols, which equates with self-esteem. Loose your status symbols and you will loose your self-esteem. The same is true of others' attitude towards you. If you depend on others to foster your self-esteem, you run a terrible risk. For some, maybe many will reject you and nog grant you your place in the sun because, according to them, you lack something. I''m sure we all know these arrogant people. Think of the parable of the prodigal son, who was well-liked (and, presumably) had a good self-esteem, when he had the status symbols, but afterwards, as they say…."a friend in need is a friend to avoid!"

If you are an unbeliever, what else have you to go on except material things and the goodwill of others to prop up your self-esteem. What other comfort can you expect but "every dark cloud…" and some such phrases that don't really mean anything at all.

But if you are a member of the body of Christ, you actually have a choice. You can choose on what or Who to build your self-esteem. Christ has actually considered you so worthwhile, that He has sacrificed Himself for your sake. He never changes like people do. Therefore, to build your self-esteem on Christ's opinion of you is a much more safe alternative. The closer you are to Christ, the better your self-esteem will be. Self-esteem is Christ-esteem.

God does not necessarily save us from evil, but He supports us in evil. There are the examples of Hagar - God dit not stop Sarah from abusing her, but He was with her in the desert. God did not stop Joseph from being sold as a slave, but He was with Joseph all the time. Perhaps the most fearsome examples are thos of Daniël's three friends in the fire and Daniël himself in the lion's den.

The challenge of course, is to help the sufferer to develop these insights for him or herself. This is not intended to be a therapy manual, but remember that the sufferer does not want intellectual discussions, what he of she wants are need fulfillment. Material needs can never be completely fulfilled, so trying to do only that to overcome suffering is a paper chase in a hurricane. But showing acceptance and worthiness by listening and exploring thoughts and spending time together and talking about God when the need arises - those are better therapeutic options.

1 comment:

Henrietta said...

Thanks for this very important posting, Yf. About the “why” part: why do people so seldom ask : “Why do these GOOD things happen to me?” If one adds up, the good things which we take for granted, are many many more, compared to adversity.

Modern man wants to be able to manage the world around him; he wants to understand the universe; he wants to know how he can achieve all his goals in this one life; how to order his personal life in such a way that he is in full control. As soon as this perfect little boat is rocked , modern man trembles.

I think most modern men are “sissies” – as soon as the going gets tough and he is no longer in control, modern man becomes desperate.... (Of course that is to say, if you don't find your strength in God)