John Piper's Heart in the 2008 Election

Friday, October 31, 2008

When the Narcissist will not Weep, Part 4

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Cure: Seeking Sight

Here are some steps that you can take to see.

  1. Realize the reality of suffering in the world. Take note of the current atrocities in the world. Suffering is global. This will aid in the dissolution of the narcissism. There is a whole world of suffering.

  2. Cultivate relationships. Work to strengthen your friendships. Strive to know your friends better. Share your own suffering with them.

  3. Repent and pray for sight. Ask God to open your eyes to the world of suffering and the suffering around you. Pray that he gives you compassion.

  4. Be hospitable. Open your home to others to develop relationships. Invite them over for a meal. Spending time with them will cultivate a genuine and deep love for them. It may also be the best way to comfort the suffering.

  5. Pray for the suffering and read your bible. Prayer and the reading of the Scriptures can unite our hearts to the purposes of God. We should pray and read strategically. As we communicate with God, he will soften you.

  6. Think deeply about things. If you are weak in your understanding of God, then you will be useless in the war on suffering.
These are not exhaustive but are meant to be a start.

When the Narcissist will not Weep, Part 3

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Arrogance of Blindness

We can look at the friends of Job. Notice that they are said to be his friends. This is meaningful to us because they have a past with Job. They know him well. We so often identify Job when it may behoove us to realize we could easily identify with his friends. When our brother is in pain, we are likely to break the silence with a word out of season (cf. Proverbs 15:23). Why would we do such a thing? We think our answers are the balm needed. We have the solution, and we know the right time to give it. We refuse to take time in the situation to learn from the one who is suffering. We arrogantly proclaim that we must know the situation better. We know the pain better. We presume to be wise. We are fools. It is as though a question is being asked in suffering that the one suffering needs to answer. However, unless we are astute in our listening to the question, we answer too quickly. We share the guilt of the one in the proverb who “gives an answer before he hears”; indeed, it becomes our “folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13). We need to be have the heart of the righteous who “ponders how to answer” and not have “the mouth of wicked [which] pours out evil things” (Proverbs 15:28).

Our quick answer shows that we are blind to the true nature of the suffering. We have not shared in the pain. We pour out abstract theology, but we fail to apply it appropriately. We make a mockery of the faith with our arrogant eloquence or quick cliché. We do not linger over love. We trivialize truth. We presume to bring peace and only exacerbate the situation. We are vinegar on the wound. The best thing Job’s friends did was showing up and shutting up. They went astray when they opened their mouths. A time for words will come, but knowing the time takes wisdom and prayer. Use the time to pray for the appropriate words. We need to discern the pain.

When the Narcissist will not Weep, Part 2

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Nature of the Blindness

The clear teaching of Scripture is that we are to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15b). However, many of us have become blind to the pain of our fellow man. We must be able to perceive pain people before we weep with them. We are not to be superficial in our communion. We are to weep with them. We are to come alongside them, suffering with them. We are one in Christ, and the body should respond when part of it is hurting.

I have remarked that many of us have become blind to the pain of our fellow man. What has blinded us? What would make us unable to see others? We might say sin. What is the nature of that sin? Diagnosing something as sinful does not tell you how to defeat it. Be specific. When we are in a war, it is not enough to say, “These are the enemies!” We must know the enemy well. We must know the enemy’s location, its strongholds, and its weaknesses. Why are we blind? Why do we lack compassion? We are numb to each other because of our own narcissism. We have preempted the command of God to love Him and love others with an exclusive love for self.

When the Narcissist will not Weep, Part 1

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Diagnosis: Blindness

Take a look around your group of friends. I think we can agree that most of us do not know what pains exist in each individual. Not only do we not know what pains exist, but we also do not know at what depths they reside. A clear illustration is the dim-sighted Eli’s encounter with Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:9b-16.

Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put away your wine from you.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”

Not only did Eli not notice Hannah’s suffering, but he also thought the worst of her. Hannah’s suffering was deepened by Eli’s response, feeling she was now considered by him “a worthless woman”.