Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Toxic People, Overexplaining, and False Salvation

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

While Christians need to obtain their spiritual knowledge from the Bible, pastors, godly teachings, and so forth, the Holy Spirit can sometimes prompt us to learn things from unexpected sources. Indeed, although psychology is entrenched in evolution and naturalism, it can have occasional benefits — but is dangerous to those who are not grounded in the Word of God.

A secular advice video discussed how people try to gain approval from others who do not care about us. Our ultimate value comes from God, not others.
Credit: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann
You and I may be souls whose intentions are good, so we don't want to be misunderstood. It's natural to clarify what we say to some extent. When it comes to dealing with someone who is accusing and unwilling to believe what we say, why try so hard?

In "Toxic Misotheists, Being Alpha, and the Bible", one of the points discussed was how toxic people manipulate others. A recent video by Ashley Berges (one of my previous sources) titled "Over Explaining is a Trap - Are You Trapped?" brought this into focus in a different way. For some reason, many of us seek the approval of others who don't really care about us, and want them to throw us a bone. When accused of something, we naturally defend ourselves, but become excessive with certain people. It seems that we cater to the manipulators.

Long ago, I learned that if someone is going to say or think evil of me, there's nothing I can do about it. Ronon Dex said, "I try not to let things I can't change bother me". Although a fictional character in a science fiction series heavily based on evolution and (surprise!) meditative spirituality, this phrase in itself is good.

Why do we want that certain person's approval, especially when we are reasonably well accepted by coworkers, friends, and family members? When accused of wrongdoing, we keep on explaining and overexplaining. This turns into excessive words, which is something the Bible warns us about (Prov. 10:19, Eccl. 6:11, Matt. 6:7, Matt. 12:33-37).

Ever notice that parents lose battles with children because they let them control the conversation with endless questions and badgering?

In overexplaining and using many words to defend ourselves, we are actually giving someone things to use against us. Giving them power over us. Dehumanizing ourselves. This happens in interpersonal relationships or trying to present biblical truth to scoffers. There was an article written in the character of "Mr. Mafioso" that discussed using silence as a means of leverage and extracting information. He said that he would keep as silent as possible, then the other person would babble away and give out personal details.

Berges also keeps saying, "Your truth". This can easily mean, "The truth of what you're saying". In other places, however, Ashley seems to say that truth is relative. There is no your truth or my truth. Ultimate truth is found in Christ and is explained in the Word of God. She needs to repent of relativity and self-idolatry. 

When it comes to having discussions with unbelievers, especially online, we can keep going and going, banging that drum, but their batteries never seem to run down. Except for carnal or even false Christians who want to win arguments or seek revenge, our goal is to sanctify Christ as Lord and be ready to make a respectful argument (1 Peter 3:15) and ultimately to lead them to Jesus. Creationists uphold the truth of creation and how Genesis is foundational to all major Christian doctrines, trying to remove stumbling blocks so that people can come to faith.

Ashley pointed out something that many of us in biblical creation and other areas of apologetics have realized. I'm rephrasing it now, and it is how everyone has a worldview: People have a narrative and filter through which they interpret data. That includes the things that someone is saying, overexplaining, but those people may have already decided the other person is wrong or not to be believed. We experience automatic rejection by those with Atheism Spectrum Disorder all the time. 

She said, "Our value is not created from someone else's acceptance". Very true, but here is where biblical discernment applies. Ashley's channel is saturated with "self love" and "self acceptance" (such as this video), but the heart of the unbeliever is wicked (Jer. 17:9). She also is into meditation.

While she says many helpful things, her worldview contains philosophies and psychology that are contrary to the biblical worldview. It contributes to a false kind of salvation (see "Mystical Feelgood Salvation"). We need to be born again, and seek to please God. So, she had some truth about someone else's acceptance and our own value, but our ultimate value comes from a right relationship with God. We have value to him (Rom. 3:8, John 3:16).

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