Sunday, August 9, 2020

Snake Oil: Two monumental lies

I believed two lies which informed my life practice for decades, underpinning every decision I made. I learned these things indirectly, by observation and experience, and in the case of one of them, I was so deceived that I didn't even realize I was enslaved to a false and harmful philosophy. Both parsimony and lasciviousness ruled me as secret tyrants.

While these powerful, yet hidden lessons controlled me, I proclaimed my normalcy. It is not an unusual thing for a man to be careful with money, especially if he has a family to support. Saying no is a crucial sign of strength. It is also quite normal for a man to be frequently having inappropriate thoughts of a sexual nature, and even acting out these thoughts in some way. Saying yes is a crucial sign of strength. I learned these things from my father.

1. A man is not generous. He is stingy and controlling.
2. A woman is a thing for a man's pleasure. In sexual matters, a man does not deny himself, and women should accept that.

To be fair, Dad improved with age. he mellowed and became a better man. When he died, I lost one of my best friends. I still miss him and the great friendship we built over my lifetime, through many challenges. But dad taught me to be mean with money and to objectify women. 

I believe I was in my forties when I read this verse in the Bible: "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer, another withholds what he should give and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24)  I had considered myself a good steward of money, prudent and sensible, but upon reading this verse God told me I was stingy. I have been working on becoming more generous ever since.

In 2015 with my marriage over, partially as a result of infidelity on my part, I was sitting in church when an ad popped up on the big screen during the announcements segment. Upon hearing that this course, called Valiant Man, was about sexual discipleship, I felt God wanted me to do it. The course switched the lights on, exposing my slavery to the god of sex, and ever since I have been working on becoming a better man, a purer man, an honorable man who respects women.

One of the things I learned in the course was the value of emotional honesty and humility. Recognizing my behaviour in the arenas of 
money and sex, I had to admit I was a long way short of where I wanted to be. I wanted to understand myself and I wanted to change. I wanted, and I still want truth to change me.

In the individualistic and hyper-eroticized West, money and sex have become weaponized commodities. The great lie is that this is okay. This is the lie I believed most of my life because my father lived it out in front of me. I swallowed the snake oil, but I didn't know any better, nor did he. Now I've spat it out and rejected the lie.

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