The dominant sin of my adult life…

February 16, 2007 at 2:40 pm 4 comments

I learned from Brennan Manning to acknowledge that the “dominant sin of my adult life has been my cowardly refusal to think, feel, act, respond, and live from my authentic self, because of fear of rejection.”  Hard to believe that a grown adult could find his life so controlled by the opinions and applause of others.

Succumbing to peer pressure is perhaps the most insidious of sins because at it’s core it is a statement about who the Father intended me to be and the confidence I have that He got it right.  It is a sin to not believe the Father’s opinion of you, which by the way is He loves you without reservation and without exception.

What follows is a lengthy and blunt quote from Anthony DeMello on this subject: Look at your life and see how you have filled its emptiness with people.  As a result they have a stranglehold on you.  See how they control your behavior by their approval or disapproval.  They hold the power to ease your loneliness with their company, to send your spirits soaring with their praise, to bring you down to the depths with their criticism and rejection.  Take a look at yourself spending almost every waking moment of your day placating and pleasing people, whether they are living or dead.  You live by their norms, conform to their standards, seek their company, desire their love, dread their ridicule, long for their applause, meekly submit to the guilt they lay upon you; you are terrified to go against the fashion in the way you dress or speak or act or even think.  And observe how even when you control them you depend on them and are enslaved by them. People have become so much a part of your being that you cannot imagine living a life that is unaffected or uncontrolled by them.

Jesus blasted the religious leaders of the day by telling them that it was no wonder they couldn’t believe because they were so rapped up in the need to have each others approval. (John 5:44)

Until we can come to the place of embracing the loving approval of the Father as far more important and life altering then the “atta boy/girl” that some peer, parent, partner, principal, patron, pharisee or pastor might throw as a bone to a dog, we will never experience real freedom, authentic faith or the fullness of the Spirit.

That the Father knows my name, invites me to come sit in His lap and rest in His accepting and authenticating embrace, is the most liberating and faith enhancing of all spiritual realities.  When I am certain of that reality it won’t matter what anyone else thinks!

The only way to enter the fullness of the Spirit is to exit the fullness of self and fullness of self is often seen in preoccupation with the approval of others.  The only approval that matters is the approval of the Father.


Entry filed under: Christianity, Faith, Jesus, Thoughts.

Strong and graceful oak trees. A comment from Linda on “The Dominant sin…”

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kenan  |  February 20, 2007 at 10:15 am

    I agree with you about your post on the Dominant Sin. This post puts its very clearly and says the words that I feel. I want to daily live my life free from this need of my old flesh, but it seems to be in my very bones and many times I go through the day and at the end realize that I lived the entire day to live up to an image. That image may be a great one, full of christian ideals but if my inward motivation is from fear of what others may think or from a need to be accepted than it is wrong. It agains brings into focus that dominant place that our hearts motivation to act plays in our lives.

    Kenan Butler

  • 2. A son  |  February 18, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Freedom from the fear of man… beautiful it is. What will it take for the rest of the church to stop white-knuckling this addiction?

    Beautiful is the unconditional love of the Father and the Bridegroom. He doesn’t just love us. He enjoys us. He loves the world….but He enjoys His bride.

  • 3. Diana Burke  |  February 17, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Hum… (How do you spell that thoughtful sigh with a question mark in the meaning? That’s what that is. Linda could tell me.)

    I hope Anthony DeMello also talks about the fact that we are created as relational beings.

    I have a statement I often repeat to our 12-year-old daughter, always remember, “You play to an audience of One.”

    Yes I believe we desire above all else to know we are loved, accepted, needed and even wanted. I must remain in a position of realization to that but not allow it to drive me.
    Even response on someone’s BLOG could fall into that category. Why respond at all? For approval, to be thought of more highly? What if someone disagrees? What if …?
    I believe I/we must also always be examining my/our motivation for the things I/we do.
    I too must often remind myself that I “play to an audience of One.” As long as I have that perspective always in front of me my life is so much easier to live and I can accept so much more so much more easily.

    I sincerely hope to hear one day, “Well done good and faithful servant…”

  • 4. Danna  |  February 16, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    I heard a very simple statement that lives with me always. I say it to myself whenever I am disappointed in expectations from others whatever they may be. That statement is “Only God can make a person happy.” It’s simple but it ismy meditation. My new little habit in the morning is “Lord, I want to be a follower of you today. Not just a believer but a follower. Guide my steps, shut or open my mouth, whatever the need might be, and help me bring every thought captive so I know if I am hearing you or the enemy.”

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