Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Iconoclastic Arrogance

An iconoclast is someone who destroys religious images, or images that are worshipped by self or others. Iconoclastic arrogance, then is a technical term for a form of arrogance whereby the subject destroys something he once worshipped.

Whenever you put someone on a pedestal, admire them, worship them, try to emulate them, you are probably guilty of the beginning stage of iconoclastic arrogance. You've created an idol. The image of a perfect person. Unfortunately, no person is perfect. We all have a sin nature and eventually that wicked part of us will reveal itself. The feet of clay will show. The idol's golden facade will crack and the worm within will be exposed.

When that happens, the iconoclast goes into full bore destruction of the idol. Suddenly the person once admired and respected is despised, accused, judged, and condemned. Sometimes the iconoclast will do whatever they can to bring that person down -- gossip, malign, put down, lie...

I've known about iconoclastic arrogance for awhile and never thought I had much problem with it. Until a couple of lessons last month brought up the fact that our sin nature can do an iconoclastic arrogance trip on our own selves. My sin nature believes that it's important to do well. To have the respect of others. To have, in fact, the approbation of others. When any of those qualities are threatened, it gets very upset. The idea that I am a good person, that I am doing okay, that I am worthy is suddenly replaced by this inward attacker that does all the same things the iconoclast does. Suddenly there's all this inner condemnation -- you're late, you blew it, no one is going to like that post, they don't like your book, you're a lousy writer, whatever made you think you could write anyway, no one cares, why do you even bother...

The derision and accusations go on and on. Often as I'm preparing a newsletter to go out, or after I've put up a blog post, the sense of inadequacy will descend. Or if I'm not getting "enough" done in a day. Or have done something not quite perfectly.

My sin nature seems to go after the emotions first. There's a growing sense of unease, of darkness, of condemnation. As the bad feeling gets settled, my motivation drains away. I don't want to write. Don't want to do anything -- except email, in the unconscious, unacknowledged hope I'll get a stroke that'll make me feel better, though if I do, it's never enough to dispel the cloud. Eventually I stop and start to analyze what is wrong. That's when I realize what I'm doing.

I've become adept enough at this that my feeling bad intervals are getting shorter and shorter and I'm starting to nail the problem sooner. But I'm also finding many, many areas that are triggers for my sin nature to start acting up. To start creeping back, trying to regain that lost control. It flashes a thought into my mind. I can pass it by, or latch on... If I ignore it, the thought will come again. And again until I stop and confront it. No. That's against the word of God... I know there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. These accusations are not from Him. I am perfect in His sight, and the only thing that really matters is what Jesus did, not what I'm doing or not doing. Perfectionism is so not where it's at when it comes to this life.

I think I'm understanding more and more how I'm to use that command in 2 Co 10:4,5 about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. But it's a slow process.