Sunday, April 02, 2023

God Save You From Yourself (Not "You Be You")


                                                                     (Monroe County)

The most sophomoric counsel you could give someone is "You be you."

Linda and I meet with many people. Some meetings are for giving counsel, and whatever wisdom we might have.

Years ago we were counseling a woman who was filled with anger. People had hurt her. Linda and I were showing her the way out of her bondage. This included self-examination, self-forgiveness, a deep connection with Jesus, and forgiveness from the heart extended to her enemies. (See here, esp., The Forgiving Life: A Pathway to Overcoming Resentment and Creating a Legacy of Love, by University of Wisconsin psychologist Robert Enright.) 

There were deep wounds inside her. We were beginning to get at them. She was being rescued from herself!

But then, she began posting on social media. She was venting, and blaming, posturing, and accusing. In her mind, she was expressing her freedom and power. It was sad to see her do this. What made us even sadder were the responses some of her friends were giving her. Like, "You go, girl!" "You be you!" "You do you!" These affirmations were the last thing this woman needed. They only served to deepen her imprisonment.

Instead of "me be me," the road to freedom begins with "save me from me." Thomas Merton once prayed, "God, save me from myself." A few years ago, Korn guitarist Brian Welch titled his autobiography Save Me From Myself. I have prayed this for myself, many times.

As I read Jesus, the apostle Paul, John the apostle, and Thousand Foot Crutch, I understand there's a war going on inside me. Venting my rage against my victimizers only adds to my pain. There is something drastically wrong with the human condition, which only God can fix. 

I came to Jesus to be free from me. To escape the false self. To be saved from my sin and shame. You be you? Me be me? Been there, done that. 

The woman screaming on social media needed help. All her comforters could do was cheer her on. No one, it seemed, knew what was really going on.