Thursday, March 24, 2016

Reflection - Misplaced Love

Source (book): "Faithful to the end", Chapter 8, Question 2, Page 125.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


A major theme in Paul's description of terrible people is misplaced love.
PHOTO: A major theme in Paul's description of terrible people is misplaced love. People in the last days will love the wrong things and thus damage themselves and society. "The full-blown manifestation of self-centredness and self-love" in the last days.
Picture posted by Asensio Piqueras on Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 6:45 AM
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YrAJ2gi0WTM/VvPUHv2Y3JI/AAAAAAAAjYg/bX5cBTIjklYh5fLWJR-VPmWpfZ7dCyOBg/s1600/16%2BNecesidad%2Bde%2Bcontar.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/--0MbHK_ymZ8/UYt9_d6TARI/AAAAAAAAAJU/f1MfsdzIuj4/s1600/16+Necesidad+de+contar.jpg
http://missilabas.blogspot.sg/2013/05/necesidad-de-contar.html



A major theme in Paul's list of the terrible people of the last days is misplaced love. Reflect on how this is so and discuss how the love of self is connected to the other characteristics in the list. How is self-love encouraged today and how can it be challenged in a Christian's life?

A major theme in Paul's list of the terrible people of the last days is misplaced love. Reflect on how this is so and discuss how the love of self is connected to the other characteristics in the list. [1]

A major theme in Paul's description of terrible people is misplaced love. People in the last days will love the wrong things and thus damage themselves and society. New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III terms this a "vicious-person list" that shows "the full-blown manifestation of self-centredness and self-love" in the last days. [2] Let us examine the characteristics of the people in the last days.



he full-blown manifestation of self-centredness and self-love

PHOTO: A "vicious-person list" that shows "the full-blown manifestation of self-centredness and self-love" in the last days.
Picture posted by Chiang Mai-Wandering on 22 January 2016
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sI8rB_H0ULI/VvPUJVMLV2I/AAAAAAAAjY4/HM4427fnNxUJ7ySPyvGnW5XFeB246BsAA/s1600/Seed-Of-Chucky-seed-of-chucky-29035508-1024-768.gif
http://www.chiangmai-wandering.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Seed-Of-Chucky-seed-of-chucky-29035508-1024-768.gif
http://www.chiangmai-wandering.com/small-things-and-thep-doll-craze/


Lovers of Themselves [1]
Self-love is the spring of all the other items in the list
People in the last days will be lovers of themselves (Greek: philautos). Self-love is the spring of all the other items in the list, as John calvin, William Barclay, and others have pointed out. Self-love is the basic problem in the human condition. It comes naturally to sinful man. For sinful people, the self is in the centre of the universe. Others are used to serve the self. Even God is employed to fulfill the wishes of the self and to ensure the comfort and significance of the sinful self.


Self-love is the spring of all the other items in the list

PHOTO: Self-love is the spring of all the other items in the list
People in the last days will be lovers of themselves (
Greek: philautos).
Picture posted by meme-lol on May 2015
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--7S1SNEmJdU/VvPUIt4cDxI/AAAAAAAAjYw/-zdomgDbbKALLJud-LvJL-4Te5LMicUtw/s1600/Formula-to-measure-narcissism.png.jpg
http://meme-lol.com/wp-content/uploads/meme/2015/06/Formula-to-measure-narcissism.png
http://meme-lol.com/funny/formula-to-measure-narcissism/



People did not deny themselves and take up the cross to follow Jesus Christ
It is for this reason that Jesus instructed His disciples that if they were to follow Him, they must deny themselves and take up the cross - the cross on which the self is to be crucified (Luke 9:23). Paul applied this truth when he testified: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20) and reminded the believers that "those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24).



People did not deny themselves and take up the cross to follow Jesus Christ

PHOTO: People did not deny themselves and take up the cross to follow Jesus Christ
"Those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24).
Picture listed in OLDMASTERVOL1DEC2008

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sw-oB9EDJQ4/VvPUHooYniI/AAAAAAAAjYo/4gqjYiHA5xYhDWqWq9xYUWIc_wNuxXzLA/s1600/22.jpg
http://www.jbkr.com/myshowcase/OLDMASTERVOL1DEC2008/22.jpg
http://www.jbkr.com/myshowcase/OLDMASTERVOL1DEC2008/



Human practice enthronement instead of obliteration of self
William Barclay insightfully observes: "Love of self is the basic sin, from which all others flow. The moment a man makes his own will the centre of life, divine and human relationships are destroyed, obedience to God and charity to men both become impossible. The essence of Christianity is not the enthronement (to raise to a lofty position) but the obliteration (removal) of self." [3]



Human practice enthronement instead of obliteration of self

PHOTO: Human practice enthronement instead of obliteration of self
The moment a man makes his own will the centre of life, divine and human relationships are destroyed, obedience to God and charity to men both become impossible.
Posted by Aaron on 25 February 2011
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OuVcsoXbXBA/VvPUJvo6BSI/AAAAAAAAjY8/VSABry_4JuAj_Jr_4eqlxW7aDZoVwzoJQ/s1600/Selfish.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hNY_s9WtqTY/TWbKlULR2TI/AAAAAAAAASY/3Xp9rVMBUz4/s1600/Selfish.jpg
http://adisciplesguidetocommonsense.blogspot.sg/2011/02/sin-socialantisocial.html



Narcissistic culture, where self is naturally worshipped in every human heart.
Sadly, we live in a narcissistic (excessive interest in or admiration of oneself) culture, where self is naturally worshipped in every human heart. The late American philosopher, Christopher Lasch, astutely [(from Latin) is a formal and flattering adjective for someone with a good head on their shoulders] observed his own modern American society was a Culture of Narcissism. [4] Narcissus was a Greek mythological figure who saw a reflection of himself in a pool and fell in love with himself. The term "narcissism" reflects this self-love and obsessive fixation with oneself. The human race has been stricken with large doses of narcissism, and unless something radical is done, we are condemned to live in our prisons. Like the Copernican revolution, which saw the sun as at the centre of the solar system and not the earth as it was long thought to be, we each need a "Copernican revolution" when we realise that at the centre of our universe is not the self but God. This takes place when we truly repent of our selfish sins and accept Christ as our Saviour and Lord who rules us in the centre of our lives.



Narcissistic culture, where self is naturally worshipped in every human heart.

PHOTO: Narcissistic culture, where self is naturally worshipped in every human heart.
Narcissus was a Greek mythological figure who saw a reflection of himself in a pool and fell in love with himself. The term "narcissism" reflects this self-love and obsessive fixation with oneself. The human race has been stricken with large doses of narcissism, and unless something radical is done, we are condemned to live in our prisons.
Posted by Daniel Saunders on 28 August 2013
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7jH1sM5RqnY/VvPUKB92QYI/AAAAAAAAjZE/szX98rasThM7M6veyxHz7XfKsp7LelPWw/s1600/echo-and-narcissus-1903.jpg
http://thecommonvision.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/echo-and-narcissus-1903.jpg
http://thecommonvision.org/features/america-the-narcissist/



Copernican Revolution
In 1543, Nicolas Copernicus published his mind-boggling treatise that challenged the established view that the Earth was the centre of the universe. He proposed that the sun is at the centre of the solar system, and it is but one of many systems in the universe. He put forth careful arguments based on observations of other planets such as Mars and the moon.
It took a long time for this heliocentrice model to be widely accepted, even by the scientific community.



Copernican Revolution

PHOTO: Copernican Revolution
In 1543, Nicolas Copernicus published his mind-boggling treatise that challenged the established view that the Earth was the centre of the universe. He proposed that the sun is at the centre of the solar system, and it is but one of m
any systems in the universe.
Picture posted by jriver on 24 January 2015
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-keLg-LEPUIs/VvPUJLM6-PI/AAAAAAAAjY0/i6FgUOK9aQotWLavm18SoUHLwATAfrUQw/s1600/IBM-Epic-Fail.jpg
http://jabbokriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/IBM-Epic-Fail.jpg
http://jabbokriver.com/ibms-epic-fail-and-the-copernican-revolution/



How is self-love encouraged today?
"You took the fall and thought of me (and not the Father); Above all."
It is increasingly difficult to live out Christian discipleship in our contemporary (present-day) world. Modern values, structures, media, and habits are all skewed in the direction of narcissism. It is seen even in church.

Take, for instance, one of the popular songs today - "Above All". It begins with noble thoughts about God, acknowledging that He is above everything and everyone: "Above all powers, above all kings; Above all nature and all created things; Above all wisdom and all the ways of man; You were here before the world began." The song continues well except the ending, when describing Jesus: "You took the fall and thought of me; Above all." [5]



You took the fall and thought of me (and not the Father); Above all.

PHOTO: "You took the fall and thought of me (and not the Father); Above all."
It is increasingly difficult to live out Christian discipleship in our contemporary (present-day) world. Modern values, structures, media, and habits are all skewed in the direction of narcissism.
Titian's Venus with a Mirror, ca. 1555
Picture posted by Benjamin on Sunday, 15 July 2012 at 6:00 PM - Mirror Gazing (self-love)

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7InW_p7S72s/VvPUJ1txz2I/AAAAAAAAjZA/Tj6v7-JYcJgmXwdc9ZsLnp3mQTcGGR3TQ/s1600/Titian.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-f4AX8lsKoVo/T_8Q_2RGsNI/AAAAAAAAlEQ/h1eDwtND4gY/s1600/Titian.jpg
http://spenceralley.blogspot.sg/2012/07/mirror-gazing.html



Guilty of hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence)
The theological problem here is that when Jesus took the fall, the one Person He thought of above all would have to be His Father, not us. All through His ministry, He incessantly (constantly) talked about His Father. Even upon the cross, He talked to the Father. It is true that Jesus loves us, but His love for the Father and obedience to His Father surpasses all else. When He thought of His Father, He would have remembered His mission - then He would have remembered us. But to put ourselves at the pinnacle (the most successful point) of His thoughts is to be guilty of hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence). The tragic thing about this song is that it begins with God above all but ends with "me" above all!



Guilty of hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence)

PHOTO: Guilty of hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence)
An excessive sense of pride is commonly called hubris, which is detrimental to emotional and social development. This is the pride a person feels because of who he thinks he is.

Most people in this category have a distorted sense of self-perception, and may have delusions of grandeur (glory)
. They are often arrogant and conceited.

They feel that they deserve praise for who they are, not just for what they have achieved.
Posted by Forging Ahead on 5 August 2015
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kICSwcpkGAU/VvPUK8wQMkI/AAAAAAAAjZM/m0Vg80mtN3QMeSoCmmPA6RmysnRmLdmng/s1600/hubris.png
http://i0.wp.com/www.shivharsh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/hubris.png
http://www.shivharsh.com/http:/www.shivharsh.com/category/pride/



"I", "Me" and "Myself" have become the fulcrum
Many years ago, I saw a documentary in which an animal psychologist was trying to describe the difference between dogs and cats. A dog looks at its master and thinks: "He feeds me and takes care of me so well - he must be god". A cat, on the other hand, thinks: "He feeds me and takes care of me so well - I must be god!"

Sadly, this song begins with a wonderful bark and ends with a subtle (minute) meow. I have no doubt that the songwriters meant well and wanted to sincerely express worship and gratitude to Jesus for what He had done.

But how easily we imbibe (acquire), often unconsciously, the moods and thinking of this worls, where "I", "Me" and "Myself" have become the fulcrum of all our highly individualistic and self-centred thoughts.



'I', 'Me' and 'Myself' have become the fulcrum

PHOTO: "I", "Me" and "Myself" have become the fulcrum 
Picture posted by Yoga du rire (Laughter Yoga)
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ta3-zy8Mhvs/VvPUKds178I/AAAAAAAAjZI/lYNGuf-53CQhX_lgLfE0vjwAth3-H5NcQ/s1600/emoticon.jpg
https://legoutdesoi.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/emoticon.jpg
http://legoutdesoi.com/yoga-du-rire/



Martin Luther the Reformer fought a fierce battle against abuses in the medieval church. Among these were what he considered to be the illegitimate and almost absolute authority of the pope in Rome. He was against this so much that he considered the pope to be the biblical Antichrist. It is thus interesting when Luther turned his anti-pope sentiments to himself in a moment of deep self-reflection. He wrote: "I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, self." [6]



I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, self.

PHOTO: "I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, self." [6]
Picture posted by By James Carroll in December 23 & 30, 2013 Issue - “Who am I to judge?
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Tks30lFEQbs/VvPUH6OZwiI/AAAAAAAAjYk/x_7y4s2NmKYNr90pGJZKOJhnqILyBRKLQ/s1600/131223_r24421-1200-1144-05123216.jpg
http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/131223_r24421-1200-1144-05123216.jpg
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/23/who-am-i-to-judge



How can it (misplaced love) be challenged in a Christian's life?
Greatest challenge is to pursue the path of self-denial and cross-bearing in a Christian's life
Indeed, our greatest challenge is to follow Jesus to pursue the path of self-denial and cross-bearing. This message is not easily received or understood by the modern narcissistic crowd. In an age when our curricula vitae (a brief account of a person's education, qualifications, and previous occupations, typically sent with a job application) come bloated with self-praise and self-importance, when workers serve themselves rather than their companies, when worship leaders strut (walk with a stiff, erect, and apparently arrogant or conceited gait, step) about on stage bringing glory to themselves rather than to God, it is important to remember what Paul wrote: "Go not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement" (Romans 12:3).



Misplaced love greatest challenge is to pursue the path of self-denial and cross-bearing in a Christian's life.

PHOTO: Misplaced love greatest challenge is to pursue the path of self-denial and cross-bearing in a Christian's life. This message is not easily received or understood by the modern narcissistic crowd.
We are bringing glory to ourselves rather than to God, it is important to remember what Paul wrote: "Go not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement" (
Romans 12:3).
Picture posted by Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ, Published on 6 October 2013
(Video of Archbishop Hristo Pisarov - Theology of prosperity and the Gospel)

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-asaRP6uwJT8/VvPULIfYnMI/AAAAAAAAjZQ/3cBVz2jqNAon0SSESE0xfV04jxYtq5BrA/s1600/maxresdefault.jpg
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/DhPXwvqXyLM/maxresdefault.jpg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhPXwvqXyLM



Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).

PHOTO: Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).

"Dear Lord, Forgive me Lord and thanks for bringing me Back to you! I know the beauty and power of Your grace and Everlasting Forgiveness as I have experienced it earlier as well and I can’t afford to lose it now.
I rejoice for the creation You have made to display Your Mighty Works to our eyes!
I rejoice for bringing me to life on this earth and will live for You and You alone so that I can fulfil Your Purpose for me in this world!
Give me Thy strength and Wisdom to chase my dreams by becoming a blessing to more and more people so that Your Light shines in this world through all my works! Amen!
" - elziarun
Picture by LunaVelobeth.deviantart.com on @deviantART - Beacon of Hope
Prayer by elziarun, Misplaced Love, from Our Daily Bread Ministries, March 20, 2014,
http://odb.org/2014/03/20/misplaced-love/
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-TPe0Pmv2qfg/VvPUIjjlODI/AAAAAAAAjYs/6NWr-ZyucKMe2NSH9AH54t6NHyEdOTFGQ/s1600/269beb5c6b4c22d42483cbc331cce57d.jpg
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/26/9b/eb/269beb5c6b4c22d42483cbc331cce57d.jpg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/218002438185463017/


Reflection - Misplaced Love
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012



Reference
[1] From "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright © 2014 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-241-0, PART THREE: UNLIKE THE WORLD, Chapter 8 "The Terrible World And Its People" (2 Timothy 3:1-9), Page 114-117.


[2] Witherington, Letters and Homilies (Lectures) for Hellenized Christians, 349-350.

[3] Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, 184.

[4] Christopher Lasch, Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectation (New York: W. W. Nortin & Co., (1991).

[5] The song was written by Lenny Leblanc and Paul Baloche; the story of how they came to write the song is found at http://www.leadworship.com/resources/thoughts5.html; The Lyrics are at http://lyricstime.com/hillsong-above-all-lyrics.html (Server Not Found). Try http://www.lyrster.com/come-back/above-all-hillsong-lyrics/artists.letssingit.com/hillsong-united-lyrics-above-all-dvftv5j.

[6] Rev. James Wood, ed., Dictionary of Quotations (London: Fredick Warne & Co., 1899), http://www.bartleby.com/345/authors/317.html, 20.

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