10 Ways Christians Hide from the Truth
by Melinda Fish
Scary Truth vs. Deadly Denial
This article is excerpted from "I Can't Be an Addict - I'm a Christian" by Melinda Fish.
1. Fear of Facing the Truth
Since Eden, man has been afraid of the truth. We are afraid that the truth will present us with a reality so harsh that we cannot overcome it. So we hide as Adam and Eve hid from God. The feeling that we are inadequate to meet the challenge of truth leave us naked, so we reach out for the fit leaf of denial.
2. Ignoring the Problem
One way to keep from finding answers to a problem is to pretend the problem doesn't exist. Ignoring symptoms can postpone the trauma of facing facts. An addict will go to great lengths to ignore the problem. Someone who is co-dependent, for instance, will help a "problem person" by entering into his fantasy world and pretending with him or by keeping him from facing the negative consequences of his addiction. If the addict is a binge-er, able to maintain himself without indulging for periods of time, he may begin to feel he is in control. Addicts need to remember that they are not addicts because they feel like it, but because they follow the addictive cycle.
One day the addict may give in to what others are saying and begin to admit he has a problem. The fig leaf of minimization, however, accommodates denial by preventing him from associating his behavior with addictive patterns or his actions with destructive consequences. He will use euphemisms and understatements to keep from recognizing the acuteness of the problem. Pleasingly plump instead of fat, drinking problem instead of alcoholism, bad habit instead of addiction are a few popular minimizations.
When minimization crumbles, rationalization is quick to replace it. This means justifying actions. "I deserve to get high because ..." Self-pity is the stem on which the fig leaf of rationalization grow. Addicts develop elaborate cases for maintaining their behavior. They blame family members for problems and addictions. "If you were a decent wife, I wouldn't have to drink ..."
"I'll think about that tomorrow," was Scarlett O'Hara's famous reaction in Gone with the Wind. It gave her a way to cope with guilt: simply put off thinking about it. Someone once said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." The fig leaf of procrastination sometimes remains when all the others have slipped; it can stall addiction recovery for years.
Making light of the problem joking about impending disaster, s an unusually effective form of denial: "If I eat anything, I'm going to die! Ha! Ha! Ha! So I might as well indulge!" It is the companion of rationalization. Laughing about the problem breaks the tension and fends off conviction. But doesn't it sound a little like the rich fool in Jesus' parable: Soul, ... take your ease, eat drink and be merry (Luke 12:19)?
7. Misapplying Scriptures
We Christians are great at this one! In order to barricade ourselves against the nudging of the Holy Spirit, we simply reapply a few Scriptures to cover the naked truth: Forgetting what lies behind ..., There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus ... or If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. We don't try on these Scriptures:
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper (Proverbs 28:13) or Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). Satan tried taking Scriptures out of context in tempting Jesus Christ. It's far better to face the truth than risk lifelong addiction and early death.
8. False Positive Thinking and Confession
The soul attempting to reassure itself that everything is fine is an elaborate fig leaf. Grabbing at religious phrases and applying them to oneself to escape the truth is the soul's attempting to recover from the Fall by itself. Positivism when it does not proceed out of the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit profits nothing.
Trying to convince ourselves that negative facts do not exist because we are Christian is a form of denial masquerading as a Christian doctrine. True faith does not deny reality but walks through it the apostle Paul wrote, His strength is perfected in my weakness, for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Today's Christian usually says, "What weakness? I have the power to rule and reign!"
9. Lack of Discernment
The inability to recognize the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit and the works of the flesh reinforces denial. Addictive patterns and behavior tend to disguise themselves as "spiritual boldness" or "faith" or "dedication." This is especially true of people addicts who seem to be patient when in fact they are filled with anger and depression. Another manifestation of this fig leaf is the inability to discern the origin of guilt. It is coming from the devil or from the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Often when the Spirit of God helps us see truth, we condemn Him as being the voice of the devil.
10. False Guilt
An addict tends to use the hopeless feeling of having sinned against God and others to fling himself farther away from recovery and deeper into addiction. Hopeless guilt comes from the devil who assures him he is guilty of a terrible crime; there is no hope. Many addicts deny that help exists and is available to them. this belief is reinforced whenever the addict attempts to reassert his willpower to deal with the addiction and fails miserably, going back to his addictive substance or process.
Because he fails to meet a standard he has set for himself, he feels guilty. In Willpower's Not Enough, Arnold Washton and Donna Boundy explain, "The belief that an addict is a 'bad person' perpetuates the problem and that's why it's so important to reframe addiction in a nonjudgmental light, to separate who you are from the addiction problem you've developed. Remember, you are not your addiction! You are something much greater than that."