Friday, May 15, 2009

Spiritual Help For A Dark Side Of Everyday Life

People say that Jesus has nothing to do with the real world and that Christians know nothing of the real world. To prove them wrong I’ll show a little bit of what I know about the real world.
For ten years I worked at a collection agency in Los Angeles. While I did not actually work the accounts directly with the debtors, I did have an opportunity to see through data entry and handling the accounting what the debtor mentality is made up of. This is also an unemployment mentality and a poverty mentality as well. Rather than being a “free as a bird” lifestyle, it is one in a cage (totally ungilded) in which many have been trapped.

One day a while back I started a list of the things which made up this mentality. I present it now, not as a condemnation of anyone, but as exposing the presuppositions of this mentality for what they are. No one ever said these things to me explicitly, but their actions and attitudes expressed them implicitly. Here’s the list as I thought over what I’d seen in the past:

*Only I count.
*Live for the present (as opposed to living in the present).
*Don’t count the cost.
*Don’t think of consequences of my own actions to myself.
*Do what I feel like now.
*Don’t be concerned for what my actions do to others.
*Want more things.
*Be what I want. (This only applies to me, not to you.)
*Whatever it takes to get whatever I want.
*Responsibility? What’s that?
*The world owes me a living.
*Get while the getting is good.
*No sense of History.
*Expecting more than is due.
*I’m not responsible for this.
*Someone else will pick up the tab.
*What does it matter?
*I don’t care how this affects anyone else.
*It IS all about ME!!!
*I don’t care if anyone else is hurt.
*Every wind of desire influences me.
*No resistance.
*No self control
*Never look at bills or billfold.
*Ignore just claims and they’ll go away.
*As long as I’m not made to do anything, I don’t have to do anything.
*Disregard of law and right.
*First things last.
*Job; Schmob!! [I’ve heard that latter attitude, even though I’ve never heard anyone use the word.]

If you summed the whole thing up under two principles they would be these:

Live for today only.
Live for yourself only.

Now for the spiritual side.

Someone may have recognized themselves here. These are not simply negligible attitudes, but ones which will destroy a life and a family. What can you do about them. A person may try to overcome this by will power and turning over that new leaf I used to hear so much about as a child, but there is only one sure antidote to such a mentality. It is to live for something outside yourself and your time. There is only one thing that will ultimately provide such a ground for living. Paul mentioned it in Philippians 1:21. Only if you’re living for Christ will death be a gain, and since you have to die anyway, shouldn’t you make the best of it.


  1. That was wonderful! What a list. SO true of so many.

  2. I appreciate that. This list was the result of ten years observation followed by ten years clarification of that observation. The great thing is that there is a way out of this mess if only people would take it.