Monday, June 13, 2011

Proverbs 21:4 commentary; High Looks and Proud Hearts

4 ¶ An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

The wicked, the evil person is characterized by a proud and haughty demeanor. The commentators say that even the common acts of the wicked person, those acts that we carry out every day, such as working in the field spoken of here, plowing, is sin because of his or her pride and arrogance.

No wonder then that back in chapter 15 even the sacrifice and, of course, the way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.

Proverbs 15:8 ¶ The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

9 ¶ The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Narcissus, in Greek mythology, or rather demonology as it should be called, was so vain that he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and being unable to remove himself from looking at it, he died there. David’s son, the rebel Absalom, would be a good example of a Narcissist, as would Samson, perhaps in that they both had the attitude “it’s all about me”. Psychologists, who are good at categorizing behavior but have no real clue as to that behavior’s origin because they deny the existence of spiritual entities around us and in us, have categorized certain types of people as being Narcissistic or having a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The Mayo Clinic, defines the Narcissist.

“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

You dare not question these people. To even ask them to consider the possibility that they are wrong can drive them into a rage. Another source about the disorder goes on to explain what happens when this falsely inflated view of Self is threatened.

“The exposure of the False Self for what it is - false - is a major narcissistic injury. The narcissist is likely to react with severe self-deprecation and self-flagellation even to the point of suicidal ideation. This - on the inside. On the outside, he is likely to appear assertive and confident. This is his way of channelling his life-threatening aggression.
Rather than endure its assault and its frightening outcomes - he redirects his aggression, transforms it and hurls it at others.”

Rather than a personality disorder, which gives the impression that narcissism is a sickness one has no control over and must be “cured” of, we could easily say that it is the characteristic of a proud and haughty heart, that it is sin, and needs to be repented of. If that man or woman would submit to God’s word, read it, believing it is God’s word, and hear preaching soundly taken from God’s word, Christ will heal him or her of this so called disorder, if he actually belongs to Christ.

That being said, pulpits across America attract the narcissist, particularly the pulpits of churches where the Pastor is the absolute authority. The narcissist is drawn to the place where he can not only be admired but be unquestioned, the untouchable man of God. If the man is also an angry sociopath who has no real conscience and hates women then the danger he poses is multiplied ten times.

The congregation that has no Biblical discernment, that has swallowed the lie of Nicolaitanism, that of a separate priesthood that is elevated above the laity rather than the priesthood of all believers, and that does not faithfully read their Bible and search the Scriptures daily can easily be fooled. For as Dr. Ruckman says, most Christians are like your pet dog. They don’t really know what you’re saying but merely focus on your tone of voice. The wicked person can use the right terminology and even do good things for some people and, yes, even lead people to the Lord. If Adolf Hitler could fool a nation then how hard should it be for one false but charismatic preacher to fool a handful of naive, trusting Christians? A narcissist sociopath (one without conscience or empathy), proud and disdainful, can fool many but not all congregations, particularly where authority is focused in one or two deacons who are looking for the good but naive about the evil in a candidate for preacher.

Many of these types of men create scandal and pain within the body of Christ by sexual crimes that are almost always associated with crimes involving money; either embezzlement or fraud. Folks, I’ve read of literally dozens of fundamentalist pastors, youth workers, and teachers over the past few years who’ve committed egregious sexual sins, fooled congregations, and exploited the helpless not once, but repeatedly. The situation in fundamentalist churches is no better than the priest scandals of the Roman Catholic Church.

In the paper, Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence by David Lisak, Ph.D. on pages 6 & 7, it says about the sexual predator that he is;

“more angry at women, more motivated by the need to dominate and control women, more impulsive and disinhibited in their behavior, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes, less empathic and more antisocial.”

When a church’s doctrine is excessively harsh against women, viewing them as mere property or pack animals, who should not speak* in church or whose pastor does not consider their abilities or their concerns as being of any importance, then the stage is set for the wicked to come in like the Proverbial weasel in the hen house. A clear sign is his disrespect of young women, daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers in his speech and tone. This is not to say a Pastor shouldn’t call out sin and tear the hide off people when necessary. I think we all know the difference between that and hatred of women. (*Note: The command for women not to speak in church in 1 Corinthians 14 is given by Paul in the context of speaking in tongues, one of the signs that died with the Apostles and the generation they personally taught that came after, once a complete Greek Vulgate, Old Latin Bible, and Syriac Bible were available, which is referenced in 1 Corinthians 13:10 and context. Timothy, a young preacher, is later told that women should not teach their husbands, usurping his responsibility to be the spiritual head of the family, or ask a bunch of questions, by understanding the context, when the church meets. I doubt anyone that disagrees with my understanding belongs to a church where women sit mute at all times and never participate in testimony or teaching.)

With the proud look and the high heart, even the good things, the normal things the wicked does, are sin by virtue of their pride and arrogance.

On our level, out here in the pews, we can ruin any value that our worship has or any importance that our service has for Christ with our pride and haughtiness. With pride and haughtiness even our repentance must be repented of. When we think of ourselves as having done a great service for God and we are filled with our own righteousness (and others can see this when we are dismissive of their experience, their efforts, or their successes in service for the Lord) and self glorification it would appear that we make God nauseated if I can use that kind of symbolism.

The proud and haughty must be at the center of every event or they are not satisfied, must be the originator of every good effort or they are not pleased, and must be the wizened authority for every “speaking from experience” who dismisses everyone else with, “oh well, you just haven’t been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt like me.” I’m always afraid of sounding like that to other people when I’m just like everyone else, trying to get God’s understanding from Him of His words, trying to respond to Him rather than my own Self.

Watch the high look and proud heart in yourself and think how you appear to others when you speak, and beware of the proud look and the high heart in others; it may be more than a mere weakness. Be thankful for a humble pastor who loves God’s word. Beware of a “man o’ God” who acts as if he thinks the sun rises and sets on his word and that he is incapable of sin. Christ humbled Himself. Satan is proud and haughty. Who do you want to emulate?

No comments: