Tuesday, January 25, 2011


William James says: "Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each person as he sees himself, each person as the other person sees him, and each person as he really is." There is such truth in his statement. Not only are we deceived by the persona of others, we also have a distorted view of ourselves. That fact has been made crystal clear to me by listening to my wife and my adult children. Thank God, the only opinion of me that truly counts is His!

The sale of books on self-awareness has made some folks very rich, and their writings on the subject have elevated them to "pedestal status." What Psychology student has not been exposed to the endless list of "great thinkers" on the subject of man's view of himself? From Descartes, who had to convince himself that he existed; to Freud who saw man as flawed due to his failure to recognize all of his problems were from sexual repression; to Pavlov who believed man was totally the product of environmental conditioning; to Maslow's belief that a person has "arrived" when he reaches a state of self-actualization; etc.; we are told that there is nothing wrong with us that cannot be fixed by exchanging our guilt for self-acceptance. A line in Shakespeare's Hamlet, "To thine own self be true," seems to say there is nothing wrong with you; you are the standard for what is true. Harris' I'm Okay, You're Okay seems to sum it all up.

The Bible has something quite different to say about the views of those who believe they understand themselves: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Rom. 1:22)! From the beginning, when Adam and Eve desired to be as wise as God, man has failed to understand and accept who he is. On one hand, we are egocentric, believing we are the center of our universe, while on the other, we covet more wisdom, more respect, more power, more, more, more. If we could only be omniscient, omnipotent, and eternal; if we could only be like God. Isn't it a shame that when God created Adam, he was like God (Gen. 1:26-27)? And, for the born-again believer in Christ, I have good news and bad news; we will be again, but not in our lifetime (Rom. 8:18; 1 Cor. 2:9; 1 Jn. 3:2)!

Until then, we must recognize the we are sinners, not were, but are (1 Jn. 1:8-10). We need to continually look in the mirror of God's Word, and see ourselves as God sees us (Jam. 1:22-25). And even then, we will only see a partial reflection of who we are (1 Cor. 13:12). We are incapable of comprehending the difference between who we are now, and who we will be when we are with Him (Isa. 64:4). But, even though we cannot be like Jesus now, we can still "join God's army" (Rev. 19:19), and "be all that we can be."

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