We Are So Self-Deceiving

“People are masters of self-deception.” Andy Stanley during a recent podcast.

I was talking with a guy I know last week. He calls a group of friends. Several times a week. But he’s OK. Never talks longer than 10 minutes–except last week I really got him into a conversation.

You see, he has Aspergers (or he slides somewhere on the autistic spectrum, or whatever the phrase du jour of the DSM is). He is a bright individual. He knows more about country music than anyone I know. But he lacks much in the way of social skills. 

I’ve learned the hard way, never tease him. Actually, don’t joke. He’s always serious. Even worse than me (sometimes I think that I had a touch of that–the two readers who knew me in elementary and high school would probably vouch for my almost total lack of social skills).

But we talked about his bouts of depression. I don’t know to what degree he’s still in therapy. But he is quite aware of himself. He asks why he gets into those depressions. Last winter he was in a dip and I suggested it might be the weather. Told him that often people get depressed toward the end of the winter season. He remembers that. But the temperature was 90, and he was beginning to feel depressed.

I’m impressed.

There are many people I have known in my life who have conditions. Everyone knows they have something. Often it’s something that would warrant a diagnosis and treatment. But they have no clue.

One of the prevalent conditions of our time is narcissism. People who exhibit those tendencies never see a problem. They are somewhat aware that they think first of themselves before others, but they don’t see that as a problem. They think it’s just natural. Trust me, I’ve asked the question of several. 

Paul addesses how to live your life in the last third of the letter to the Romans. After laying a theological and psychological foundation about sin and redemption, he continues to answer the important question–after believing that God raised Jesus from death to life, now what.

Paul essentially quotes Jesus–love God and love your neighbor. Read chaper 12. It’s a wonderfully succint guide to life. 

On the road to self-awareness and seeing through your self-deception, it is useful to have a means of measurement. Chapter 12 of Romans provides one of those measures.

Are you loving? Or, are you deceitful? Do you try to understand and help people? Or, are you more concerned with getting what you think you deserve? Are you in a loving, supportive community?

How do you measure up? What can you do to change your life direction such that you do?

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