Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Invented Realities"

Genesis 4.9 NIV

“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’
‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’

Cain was a murderer. In a fit of jealous rage “Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (Genesis 4.8). But was Cain a liar? At first glance it seems that he was. The Lord inquired of Cain, “Where is your brother?” Cain responded, “I don’t know.” Did he?

Our brains can play incredible tricks on us. We see and know only what we allow into our minds. Some realities are more intense than we choose to tolerate. We minimize, pretend, ignore, forget, anesthetize, rationalize, or medicate the reality away. Our minds invent new realities that are more palatable than the old ones. Invented realities work well for us. They allow us to selfishly function in exactly the way we want to while ignoring the plight of those we hurt along the way. We cannot face the truth because we fear it will may emotionally cripple and render us helpless, or worse, force us to become responsible.

Like all forms of addictive sexual behavior, pornography is an invented reality. It has the power to insulate, even remove us emotionally from the suffering of those around us.

Did Cain know where his brother was? Maybe not. To allow himself such knowledge would have meant taking responsibility for his brother’s whereabouts and condition.

Ask yourself the question Cain asked God:

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Your answer depends upon your choice of realities. If you invent your own reality (as did Cain) you may honestly reply, “I don’t know”. If you make it your business not to know where your brother is, how can you be required to assume the role of your “brother’s keeper”? Pretty convenient, huh?

The man caught in the snare of sexual addiction invents his own reality and tells himself the lie: “I’m not hurting anyone but myself”. His life becomes a series of missed opportunities to engage with the people who need him the most.

Don’t believe the lie. You are your “brother’s keeper”.

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