“Then Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.” Luke 19:45-48
Every day he was teaching in the temple.
And the only things the establishment could hear was: “We are right and he is a threat.”
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.
I look around today and wonder how much has changed … “This is how the bible is to be taken … “ … “This is how we must worship … “ … “We must behave this way in the Presence of God … “ … “If you believed in God you would be in church each Sunday” … “Are you really a Christian?” … “The bible says (xxxx) so you are wrong … “
And this …
“It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.”
Why do we always see and teach “The BAD Temple Industry”? The money changing – the rates of exchange – the sacrificial animals for sale … the coffee cups … the cupcakes … the donuts … the tickets for this or that social … ?
Why do we only want to see the “material stuff”?
Why don’t we see that telling me how to worship, when to worship, how to pray, how to read the bible, how to find God in the bible … How is all that not “stealing”?
Stealing a sacred soul (of a precious creation) from God?
The same God we righteously protect from that sacred soul getting too close to God. Maybe because if God embraces that sacred soul as only God can embrace a unique and precious and sacred soul – we might find out that we teachers are the ones who need a teacher.
I look around today and wonder how much has changed …
or whether we even want to change.
Agree – Middle men. I believe we are called to be witnesses to point to the Way/Jesus. Even with good intentions, we are good at getting in the way.
I used to have a friend I believed was super spiritual. I doubted myself and was insecure, so I trusted her and put all my faith in her. I didn’t realize I had made her into a false idol. And she lead me into the “pit.” The blind lead the blind and all that.
I am learning to live from the inside out, not the outside in because the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. How can another person tell me who I am or how I should live? They haven’t walked in my shoes. The Holy Spirit does. Now if what other say doesn’t line up with the Word I don’t believe it. And when I get it wrong the Lord is often quick to show me. Though sometimes it takes me awhile for it to sink in.
I believe your right about the fear…fear based instead of faith based because we don’t realize how much God really does love is.
“9And do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Christ.”
Thank you as always Denine. You touch on something I have heard from time to time. That if we listen only to our heart (i.e. the Holy Spirit) and our bible, then we walk a dangerous path of following our own ideas (not “His”). And there is truth in that. Yet I look around and see so many wonderfully kind people filled with fear. Fear that “faith” is not enough – who have been taught that faith is fine, but deeds are better – so the teaching concentrates on “deeds” (which need committees and leaders and roles and minutes and funding and all of that … ) instead. So many times the answer to walking in faith seems to be “but where is the funding?”
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Pendulum from one extreme to the other. In all of these things I see now the need for balance and the need for both. I always wondered why put on the armor of God if we are to just stand and while He delivers us. ??? Fight or stand, fight or stand. The two working together as one. Along with our brothers and sisters. Thank you!
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I just listened to a youtube video it was the reading of a book by M Scott peck called People of the lie. I wanted to buy the book, but found it on youtube. So listened to it, and cleaned my house at the same time. : ) Anyway, it was really good and I thought you might like it.
People of the Lie
EXCERPTS FROM “PEOPLE OF THE LIE” by M. Scott Peck MD
“The central defect of ‘the evil’ is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it.
More often than not these people will be looked at as solid citizens.
How can that be?
How can they be evil and not designated as criminals?
The key word is “designated”.
They are criminals in that they commit “crimes” against life and liveliness.
But except in rare instances- such as in the case of Hitler when they might achieve extraordinary degrees of political power that remove them from ordinary restraints, their “crimes are so subtle and covert that they cannot clearly be designated as crimes.
The theme of hiding and covertness will occur again and again throughout the rest of this book. It is the basis for the title “People of the Lie”.”
“Evil deeds do not make an evil person. Otherwise we would all be evil.
If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them?
The answer is by the consistency of their sins.
While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have “crossed over the line” are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness.”
“The poor in spirit do not commit evil.
Evil is not committed by people who feel uncertain about their righteousness, who question their own motives, who worry about betraying themselves.
The evil of this world is committed by the spiritual fat cats, by the Pharisee’s of our own day, the self-righteous who think they are without sin because they are unwilling to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination.
It is out of their failure to put themselves on trial that their evil arises. They are, in my experience remarkably greedy people.”
“A predominant characteristic of the behavior that I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection.”
“Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad.
They project their own evil onto the world. The evil attack others instead of facing their own failures.
Spiritual growth requires the acknowledgment of one’s own need to grow. If we cannot make that acknowledgment, we have no option except to attempt to eradicate the evidence of our imperfection.
Strangely enough, evil people are often destructive because they are attempting to destroy evil. The problem is that they misplace the locus of the evil. Instead of destroying others they should be destroying the sickness within themselves.”
“Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity.
They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what others might think of them.
They seem to live lives that are above reproach.
The words “image”, “appearance” and “outwardly” are crucial to understanding the morality of ‘the evil’.
While they lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good.
Their goodness is all on a level of pretense. It is in effect a lie. Actually the lie is designed not so much to deceive others as to deceive themselves. We lie only when we are attempting to cover up something we know to be illicit.
At one and the same time ‘the evil’ are aware of their evil and desperately trying to avoid the awareness. We become evil by attempting to hide from ourselves.
The wickedness of ‘the evil’ is not committed directly, but indirectly as a part of this cover-up process. Evil originates not in the absence of guilt but in the effort to escape it.
It often happens then that ‘the evil’ may be recognized by its very disguise. Because they are such experts at disguise, it is seldom possible to pinpoint the maliciousness of ‘the evil’. The disguise is usually impenetrable.”
“They are not pain avoiders or lazy people in general. To the contrary, they are likely to exert themselves more than most in their continuing effort to obtain and maintain an image of respectability. They may willingly, even eagerly, undergo great hardships in their search for status.
It is only one particular pain they cannot tolerate: the pain of their own conscience, the pain of realization of their own sinfulness and imperfection.
The evil are the last people to ever go to a psychotherapist and to deal with their own deficiencies.
The evil hate the light- the light of goodness that shows them up, the light of scrutiny that exposes them, the light of truth that penetrates their deception. ”
“They are men and women of obviously strong will, determined to have their own way. There is a remarkable power in the manner in which they attempt to control others.”
“Those who are evil are masters of disguise;
They are not apt to wittingly disclose their true colors – either to others or to themselves.
It is not without reason that the serpent is renowned for his subtlety. We therefore cannot pass judgment on a person for a single act. Instead judgment must be made on the basis of a whole pattern of acts as well as their manner and style.”
“We are accustomed to feel pity and sympathy for those who are ill, but the emotions that ‘the evil’ invoke in us are anger and disgust, if not actual hate.
It is the unwillingness to suffer emotional pain that usually lies at the very root of emotional illness.
Those who fully experience depression, doubt, confusion and despair may be infinitely more healthy than those who are generally certain, complacent, and self-satisfied.”
“Think of the psychic energy required for the continued maintenance of the pretense so characteristic of ‘the evil’! They perhaps direct at least as much energy into their devious rationalizations and destructive compensations as the healthies do into loving behavior.
Why? What possesses them, drives them? Basically, it is fear.
They are terrified that the pretense will break down and they will be exposed to the world and to themselves.
They are continually frightened that they will come face to face with their own evil.
Of all emotions, fear is the most painful. Regardless of how well they attempt to appear calm and collected in their daily dealings, ‘the evil’ live their lives in fear.”
“Evil people would be distinguished by these traits:
a) Consistent destructive, scapegoating behavior, which may often be quite subtle;
b) Excessive, albeit usually covert, intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury;
c) Pronounced concern with a public image and self-image of respectability, contributing to a stability of lifestyle but also to pretentiousness and denial of hateful feelings or vengeful motives;
d) intellectual deviousness, with an increased likelihood of a mild schizophrenic like disturbance of thinking at times of stress.”
“But there is another vital reason to correctly name evil: the healing of its victims. The fact of the matter is that evil is one of the most difficult things to cope with.”
“How are we to take Christ’s admonition to ” judge not lest you be judged” and still label someone as evil? If you see something wrong don’t you try to correct it? Was Hitler OK? Was Jim Jones OK? Were the medical experiments on Jews OK?
There is such a thing as an excess of sympathy, an excess of tolerance, an excess of permissiveness.
The fact of the matter is that we cannot lead decent lives without making judgments; general and moral judgments in particular.
Christ did not enjoin us to refrain from ever judging.
What Jesus went on to say in the next four verses is that we should judge ourselves before we judge others, not that we should not judge at all. We are to purify ourselves before judging others.
This is where ‘the evil’ fail.
It is the self-criticism they avoid.”
Wow! Thank you. That is a lot of pages M. Scott Peck has written about evil. But is resonates. I have 550 words ready to go on looking for sin v looking for love. A lot of what you have added here is almost the same (at least in my head). The one thing I think is really important to avoid is to making people their behaviour. Evil does not mean “they are evil and always will be”. Just as “they are so loving” does not mean they will always be that either.
Your word balance keeps coming back to me.
True again balance. Because I always looked for the good in people I trusted people I shouldn’t have. I wanted to understand it/evil. I like this because of its insight on scapegoating and projection.. hitting on what we have talked about the need to be “right.” I have often thought, how can someone truly be saved if they can never admit to doing anything wrong? He also mentions Fear.
If I think about my own sins, it humbles me enough not to want to judge/condemn another. But in my sin I have went before God and repented knowing His Word says, “He is faithful to forgive” then I gave Him the guilt and shame that went along with it. Understanding we are all human. Sinners in need of a savior.
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
9 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
The darkness keeps us from seeing. My father has been an achoholic ever since I can remember. My mother, I am sure is a narrisist. They have now disowned 3 of their 4 children. Saying, “I just can’t believe how our children have treated us.” They truly feel that way, and when pressed to discuss any wrong doing on their behalf soon results psychotic melt downs (mother) and violent rages (father). Fear and Darkness or maybe fear of thier own darkness. Denial for sure.
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I have always loved the way you share your journey. And that last paragraph has so much pain without “pain”. You said you deleted your blog because your wrote out your pain (my take on what you said).
I wonder if you could now write out the pain of others in some way.
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I like the thought. Maybe… I have to get over my dyslexic writting too. When I write, I am thinking so much about what I say, I don’t notice all my mistakes until I read it back days later. It’s like my fingers have a mind of their own. LoL It takes me a hour to write things other people can just pop out in minutes. Excuse, excuse, excuse. Thanks for the encouragement! Maybe : ) ((hugs))
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Suggestion: you write as you are gifted, I edit as I am gifted (although my family think it “anal” rather than a gift), I send it back for your approval – and you become a resident “guest” writer for either this blog or Church Set Free. No obligations, no expectations – just the freedom to free the gift you have. 🙂
Wow, Paul that would be awesome. I am very touched by your offer. I remember you edited once for me when we did the blog writing exchange once, and it turned out really great. I know with all my mistakes and typos it can make it hard to read and understand. I often think it’s odd I like to to write at all. Anyway, I will let you know then when I become “inspired” : ) then figure out how to email or something. Thanks Paul! ((hugs))
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