Linda Church of Christ

Are We in Denial?

By Richard Mansel

    We make a new friend who lives much differently than our upbringing. We get to know this friend and as we grow closer and more knowledgeable about them, we increasingly accept them and their lifestyle. When our parents or friends try to pull us away from them, we go into full rationalization and denial mode. We reorient our minds to accept our new knowledge and experiences. The new reality becomes a backdrop and our old life is re-examined against this new standard.

    If our old ways and thoughts cast a bad light on this new backdrop then we reorient them until they look better in the new light. We try to see what we will keep and lose in this new reality. Some of the items we intend to keep must be re-examined in light of this new way of life. Suddenly, we are ready to cast away established traditions, lifestyle patterns, and core beliefs, all because of this new person. In other words, we have changed everything about ourselves because we want to accept them.

    It is the same way with ideas. We think something is wrong until we spend time with it and gain more knowledge and exposure to it. Ideas are not sold without an intimate salesman. If someone we care about tries to sell us on a product or idea, then we are much more likely to buy it. We accept this new person and their ideas because of our feelings for the person. The new lifestyle and ideas simply become carryon luggage.

    This can have a positive or negative outcome depending on the destination. If a sinner becomes a Christian, then this experience brings great rewards. On the other hand, if this leads a Christian away from God, then serious dangers are ahead. A rescue operation will be necessary. However, they will be entrenched against the arguments and dissuasions. A piercing thought will have to get through their defenses. This intervention may ultimately destroy a relationship. However, souls are more valuable than anything.

    We think something is sinful and condemn it. However, we get a dose of it and find out that we actually like it once the shock wears off. Sin is sneaky and very alluring. For example, we condemn pornography until we are around it and see that we like it. If we decide to keep it, the rationalization and reorientation process begins.

    We condemn abortion until we or someone we love is faced with it. When abortion is chosen, the reorientation process begins so the status quo can be maintained.

    We see instrumental music in worship as being wrong until we immerse ourselves in instrumental Christian music and make new friends who love it. Suddenly, we begin the reorientation process and begin rationalizing our old beliefs so we can be at peace with ourselves and accepted by our new friends./1

    Arguments we previously found unsuccessful become more powerful. Ideas we condemned become more persuasive as we need support for our new reality.

    We must never lose faith in God because he is eternally good and right./2 Scripture will be the Word of God long after man is dead. Nothing will take away its authority (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Colossians 3:17). New friends, ideas, and environs will not change God’s will. Arguments do not make the truth, God’s Word does. We will not outgrow God. Judgment will just find us lost, rather than enlightened (Revelation 20:11-15). We must hold to what we believe and affirm that we will never abandon it no matter what comes along. The price is too high (Matthew 25:46).



Used by permission from Forthright Magazine ( Copyright © [2007] [Richard Mansel]

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