Everything you see is a symptom

There have been some female comments (well, months ago now) on deciding to be happy, stop being so afraid, husbands neglecting wives, and husbands not helping around the house. All of them dance around the same issue.

As you more fully understand human nature, you should begin to understand that everything expressed is a symptom. After all, remember what Jesus says:

Matthew 15:15 Peter [f]said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 [g]Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17 Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is [h]eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, [i]fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”

There are alway two sides of the same coin in relationships where things go haywire. The heart of one and the heart of another. In marriage, it is the heart of the husband and the heart of the wife.

Happiness and contentment are relative experiences. External emotions are solely cultivated in how we act and in how we respond to others. It is our attitude which filters the so-called positive or negative emotions as good or bad respectively. In other word, it is the glass half full versus the glass half empty. However, these are not the be-all-end-all. I’ve discussed before about anchored emotions and anchored souls in terms of how we are to view our emotions in light of God.

Everything that human eyes see is a symptom of the state of the heart,

I had written parts of this post up a while ago, but the post on TRP about ideology and art brought it up to the forefront again. Essentially, feminism comes up with disturbing art which reveals the state of the underlying heart and attitudes that come with it.

The same is true of almost everything that we see in broader culture. For example, I heard this one a while ago that when you examine it more closely is true. Rap music. It arose out of the black culture in america. When you examine its themes, you can clearly see that rap music combines various themes such as lamentation, heart break, jadedness, and the do-what-you-gotta-do violence mentality that has sprung up from a lack of fatherhood and positive male role models.

Art, at a base level, is expression of the state of the soul.

If you ever wondered why you “like” with certain music, paintings, writing, and other art forms its because we recognize and connect with the expressions of the content therein. Humans were made for connection and relationships which is why God walked in the garden with Adam, and why He said it was not good for Adam to be alone and created Eve.

Thus, when we listen to music that we “like” at the fundamental level there is the implicit acknowledgement this was produced by someone we can relate to. They went through the same experiences, and their experiences stimulated them to authentically recreate them in this art form.

In my opinion, this is also why the Christian music industry suffers compared to the secular one. The secular one is authentic about their human experiences, while the Christian one is rooted in a lot of churchian heresy and inauthenticity.

David’s Psalms are so relatable and hence authentic because he was real with His life. He wrote about not just His good experiences and uplifting nature of His walk with God, but he also wrote about the dark times of his life including his sin.

Likewise, actions that we engage in only reveal what is in our heart. For example, I’ve personally struggled with pornography in the past, and lust is still something I have to fight very hard against. The sex drive itself is good but when not exercised in the proper context it is evil — the proper context being marriage. And exercising what is good in improper contexts is a symptom of a lack of self control and generalized idolatry of elevating selfish desires over God.

In other words, I feel — in this moment — that my soul needs something I can provide to it on this earth that is more important than God. Even simply coming to this realization should help you in your struggle with any sin that you have. It is likewise the understanding of needs versus wants. There are truly no things we need other than God, but elevating wants to needs makes them into idols.

On complementarianism versus egalitarianism

I think I’ve made this point before in some comments, but never written it up formally in a post.

Complementarian is not about “equality.” Obviously, if you are in any way familiar with the manosphere and associated blogs you should already know this firmly. However, what is the true reason?

We know that God is good, and God is the ultimate authority. It also stated in the Scriptures such as Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 to obey earthly authorities without even mentioning the Scriptures on husbands-wives. The fact that egalitarians almost always go straight to the “what if there’s abuse” is the underlying assumption that authority is bad rather than good. If authority is good, then what the Bible says about authority is also good. However, is authority is bad, then they can throw out what the Scriptures say to live in fear of abuse of authority and not love (1 John 4).

Thus, the root issue is almost always that Christians who believe in egalitarianism have had experience(s) in their past where authority was abused. This means that they feel, on a fundamental level, that authority is bad.

When feelings based on previous experiences collide against knowledge — even knowledge of the Word of God — the feelings almost inevitably win in the vast majority of circumstances.

Thus, it is futile to argue with egalitarians unless you examine the root issue. Some will be responsive to it, but others will hate that they’re being “psychoanalyzed.” You can only do what you can and leave the rest up to God, but knowing and shooting for the root of the issue will at least bring it to the forefront in their mind. Maybe God will use someone else later or the Scriptures or prayer or other things to change their mind in the future.

Conclusions

The main thing I want to point out is that if you have ever prayed to see people as God sees them you now have a logical way to implement this in your life. The vast majority of actions and attitudes that you see are only symptoms of the state of the heart. To examine the state of the heart, you have to use backwards induction on the behavior cycle.

Experience -> feelings -> thoughts -> behaviors -> expererience

Starting with experience and working backwards:

  • Experience: egalitarian relationships are so much better than headship-submission because I’ll never be able to be abused.
  • Behaviors: Only seek out an egalitarian and equal relationships.
  • Thoughts: egalitarianism and “equality” as opposed to headship-submission.
  • Feelings: have bad feelings about authority
  • Experience: had past bad experience(s) with authority figures who abused their power.

As you can see, the underlying issue is not that someone has chosen a Scripturally incorrect view. It is that they have experiences and feelings that have showed them authority is bad because it can be abused, and then it sends them down the path of believing what they have felt and expereinced over the Word of God.

Thus, we could say that effective leadership and/or headship is not about fixing symptoms, it is about examining the roots of the issues and facilitating their removal.

The key question is to keep asking why. Why do they have thoughts that egalitarian relationships are better than complementarian? It’s not about looking for a Scriptural answer: they already disagree with the Scriptures. It’s about looking into their past to see why they are going to affirm feelings and experiences above the Scriptures.

You can see that arguing about logical thoughts about Scripture is fruitless against the emotional outbursts of churchians in my previous post about NYC pastor’s 10 women men should not marry. Feelings and experiences have become their truth. But the true question is why.

Once you can expose the lie, it can be dealt with.

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3 Responses to Everything you see is a symptom

  1. jonadabtherechabite says:

    I’ve personally struggled with pornography in the past, and lust is still something I have to fight very hard against. Pornography is simply a symptom of lust. And lust is a symptom of a lack of self control and generalized idolatry of elevating selfish desires over God.
    .

    Like you, I have struggled with porn also. But, I must contest your statement that “pornography is simply a symptom of lust.” If conflates that which is good and that which is evil. When a husband desires sexual intimacy with his wife that is good. It was not until Adam had a wife that creation was declared “very good”. So a masculine desire for sex is not “lust” as you have fashioned it, but holy and very good.

    For my self when I was denied sexual access by my wife over a long period of time, I had to choose a path. I had a morally good desire, but I was also being defrauded. While I was taught to suffer as Christ did for the church, I eventually realized that He did not suffer so the church would keep denying and rejecting Him, but to make her holy. The only options that I could see at the time were:1) fight, 2) flight, 3)submit 4)relieve my self to buy time for her to repent. I thought through the dilemma as follows:

    Response to 1)The church culture told me to fight with my wife was unloving and I would demonstrate myself to be a selfish oaf. Besides it was unlikely that an argument would yield back to me a wife who desired me. (What is now called game was frowned upon as the methods of Cads, fornicators and adulterers and generally unknown to me at the time. I was naive! )

    Response to 2) As a Christian, I understood my marriage vow to be till death parts us, divorce was not an option. I further could not abandon my duty to protect my wife.

    Response to 3) I understood that the Bible to clearly state that Christ had all authority and that I was commanded to exercise His authority in the home, so I could not submit to her without being guilty of dereliction of the exercise of that authority and enabling her insubordination.

    Response to 4) I was not interested in an affair, prostitutes or sex chat lines. I chose what seemed to the least evil option. I was not called to be eunuch and I had pursued the God-blessed option of caring for a wife, but that required two to tango and only one was on the dance floor. The only option that was not sin tainted required her repentance. So I bought time to prove for her the opportunity of repentance by my use of porn to masturbate and relieve the urgency of that good desire. I would not allow her to castrate me completely, (although I do think I was emasculated). My sexual desire was not an idol, but part of God’s design for men in marriage.

    So the porn, while a counterfeit, was better than no currency at all, and my use was actually a tactic to stay married and avoid committing acts of actual adultery. Put another way, my porn use was not looking at other women to have sex with them, but to avoid having sex with them, while I was being cheated in marriage. When I looked at porn, I imagined doing those things with my wife, I desired to look at me with the desire of the women on the screen. These are not idols, but good and holy desires.

    The tactic was an abject failure. I was a world-class chump. She hated me twice as much and managed to gain sympathy from the church, further isolating me and justifying her contempt. My real idol was peace. While the church was preaching the virtues of the beta, what was needful was some good alpha dominance and leadership that would have upset the peace.

  2. @ jonadabtherechabite

    Like you, I have struggled with porn also. But, I must contest your statement that “pornography is simply a symptom of lust.” If conflates that which is good and that which is evil. When a husband desires sexual intimacy with his wife that is good. It was not until Adam had a wife that creation was declared “very good”. So a masculine desire for sex is not “lust” as you have fashioned it, but holy and very good.

    True, that was not my intent. I’ll edit that in the OP.

    “Likewise, actions that we engage in only reveal what is in our heart. For example, I’ve personally struggled with pornography in the past, and lust is still something I have to fight very hard against. The sex drive itself is good but when not exercised in the proper context it is evil — the proper context being marriage. And exercising what is good in improper contexts is a symptom of a lack of self control and generalized idolatry of elevating selfish desires over God.”

  3. Pingback: Where to start as a young Christian man | Christianity and the manosphere

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