Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Compass Therapy Helps Worriers and Loners

Most people would not consider being overly withdrawn, detached, or hermit-like as sinful, but Jesus sees it differently. In the parable of the three servants given funds to invest by their master, the first two take appropriate risks that bring a return on the investment. The third hides the money away and later says to the master, “I was afraid I might lose some so I didn’t invest any.” The master takes what has been entrusted to this servant and gives it to the other two, ordering punishment for the servant’s play-it-safe attitude (Mt 25:14-30).

One of the major ways people can sin against God and sabotage the purpose for which they are created is to withhold themselves from others. Of course there are many rationalizations for doing so: “I had a bad childhood,” “I was humiliated in school and never got over it,” or “My best friend stabbed me in the back so I decided never to trust anyone.” This same type of rationale occurs between the person and God. “I prayed for something really important and it never happened, so I quit praying.” “God has more important things to do than care about me.”

The pattern of withholding one’s self as a strategy through life forestalls self-development, triggering a premature abdication of identity. Within a Christian perspective, the pattern intercepts one’s identity and calling in Christ.

Jesus and The Avoidant Worrier

Jesus says to the Avoidant Worrier, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?” (Lk 12:25-26). To stimulate the Worrier’s active trust in him, Christ says, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32). What is this kingdom that the Father gives to the Worrier? It is the:
  • richness of companionate relationships
  • fullness of an active mind and expressive heart
  • excitement of developing talents and hobbies
  • joy of communion with the Trinity
  • pleasure of having one’s name spoken by friends and acquaintances
  • interest of days filled with growth and adventure
  • serenity that replaces fear and worry with gratitude for being alive
No doubt some friends and family members have tried to awaken the Worrier to the pleasures of life and relationships, their words falling on deaf ears, the seeds of their encouragement lying on fallow ground. But when Worriers finally hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who passionately and gently witnesses to Christ’s presence in the soul, then Christianity delivers its message to Worriers, who begin to exchange the burden of worry for active steps that lead to a larger life.

How does the Bible approach the Schizoid Loner? Paul counsels, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some” (Heb 10:24-25). Obviously Paul knew some Christians who had succumbed to the Loner pattern by isolating from fellowship with others. Because Christ knows the damaging effects of the Loner pattern, he pursues Loners to bring them home to the friendship of Trinity love

Jesus says:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep’” (Lk 15:3-6).

Jesus and the Schizoid Loner

How can the Loner overcome years of self-absorbed solitude? The answer is, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ro 13:14); that is to say, until Loners develop a modicum of social skill for communicating with others, it works to simply model Christ.

For more, read: 

Christian Personality Theory