One of the commentors at Donal’s posted about Scrupulosity a while ago. Here’s the “definition” from wikipedia.
Scrupulosity is a psychological disorder characterized by pathological guilt about moral or religious issues. It is personally distressing, objectively dysfunctional, and often accompanied by significant impairment in social functioning. It is typically conceptualized as a moral or religious form of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), although this categorization is empirically disputable. The term is derived from the Latin scrupulum, a sharp stone, implying a stabbing pain on the conscience. Scrupulosity was formerly called scruples in religious contexts, but the word scruples now commonly refers to a troubling of the conscience rather than to the disorder. As a personality trait, scrupulosity is a recognized diagnostic criterion for obsessive–compulsive personality disorder. It is sometimes called “scrupulousness,” but that word properly applies to the positive trait of having scruples.
Basically, I suppose you could say that this is a form of malformation of the conscience, but in reality it’s just a form of guiltiness of saying no. In fact, there’s a book about that: when I say no I feel guilty.
Generally, this happens to people with people pleaser personalities, but it is also a form of the performance based mindset.
Why is it you feel guilty when you say no? Because you can’t please other people. Pleasing other people becomes an idol, and it’s work based, If you don’t please other people they may not like you or may not want to talk to you. People like this are scared of disapproval.
This is one of the ways that servant leadership can be twisted in order to pervert headship into something that it is not. Husbands are essentially guilt tripped by pastors, churches, or even their own family into playing by others’ feelings or approval insteading of adhering to the Word.
If it is ingrained enough it sears the conscience so that you have men who feel guilty at saying no. This is dysfunctional, and it needs to be removed.
There is an easy way to understand what Christians should do and should not do to help each other out:
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if [a]anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens (baros), and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load (phortion).
G922 — βάρος — baros — bar’-os
Probably from the same as G939 (through the notion of going down; compare G899); weight; in the New Testament only, figuratively a load, abundance, authority: – burden (-some), weight.
G5413 — φορτίον — phortion — for-tee’-on
Diminutive of G5414; an invoice (as part of freight), that is, (figuratively) a task or service: – burden.
Basically, Christians are required to bear their own “phortion” of their roles and responsiblities themselves. This is what stewardship is. If you bear another’s phortion for them, you’re not enabling them to be a proper steward of their own abilities and time. You’re encouraging the “spoiled brat” syndrome where the spoiled brat does what they want and someone else cleans up their mess.
When I wrote Christian nice guys are abused and part 2 I commented about various scenarios of which women, even Christian women, abuse Christian men for their time. This occurs with men to women and men to men and women to women as well. These scenarios are the “phortion” of the person asking and not an a “baros.” Here were the scenarios I referenced:
- If a woman has a husband or boyfriend who can do the task she asked you then you should never accept. Even if she says he is busy she should still not be asking you. It is the husbands duty to find someone else to help if she has a problem, and the husband should not be asking you to help his wife either. That’s what family is for, or asking the church itself. They’re almost always just going to be abusing your time as a nice guy.
- If a woman wants to talk about emotions — especially after a break up, or an attractive guy they are talking to — they are just using you as an emotional tampon. Yes, gross. Never accept.
- Likewise, if a woman comes to you about any issues she is having with men and working things out with him just don’t do it. She should be talking to the man in question instead — not you or her girlfriends.
- If a woman in a ministry asks for your help, and you know you aren’t called to that ministry. Just say no.
- A Christian woman (non family) asks you for money, housing, or any type of other big deal. If they have an issue, they should take it through the church first. Most churches have some type of thing where they can help those in need.
As you can tell, the responsibility of portion does not fall specifically on “single men” in this case but on significant others, family, husbands, or the Church. In some of the cases, the responsibility does not even fall on others but only on the person with the particular phortion.
Thus, it is important to know what are the “phortion” and “baros” in your own life, and also what the “phortion” and “baros” are in others lives.
We are required to bear our own phortion. And we are to ask for help if we have a “baros” but it needs to be to the right part of the body of Christ. Men should be mentored and discipled by other men, and women should be mentored and discipled by women. A man should not go be going to a woman with a “baros.”
Likewise, we need to be able to identify “phortion” and “baros” in others. This will allow us to say no if someone is trying to foist their own stewardship responsibilities on us. This will also allow us to identify a baros and direct them to the appropriate help in the Church.
While it is Scriptural to turn away people from your help if they are requesting help with a “phortion” or “baros,” it is important to tell them why and direct them to the appropriate help if needed. It is also helpful for knowing why you should say no in certain circumstances, and why you should not feel guilty about saying no in those circumstances.
When boundaries are muddied, it is easy to be deceived into bearing a phortion or baros that you are not meant to bear. Likewise, knowing where the boundaries are it will make you joyful to actually be able to help someone with a baros if it is good to do so.