What I have found most fascinating within my the search for my Self, is the fear of the Self by the masses. There is fear that lies in asking about the Self, seeking the Self. From our beginnings we have been conditioned to fear the Self.
Growing up I spent many moments sitting in the pews of church's, concert halls and gymnasiums listening to an array of pastors, evangelists and other such spiritual leaders. While the events differed and the themes changed, one thing always remained, the underlying message, You Must Not Be Yourself.
That's right. Who you are is evil, wicked, and unholy. You are not fit for the presence of God. You are selfish and were so from the moment you were born. In essence you were evil the moment you were created.
As one could imagine, a steady diet of this can be quite harmful and debilitating, even to the most confident of us.
Allow me to share a portrait that Doug Frank, author of 'A Gentler God', paints of the evangelical God,
"Our heavenly Father scrutinizes us obsessively. He is never happy with what he finds. He wants us to focus on becoming what he has decided we ought to be-his"will"or "plan" for us- rather than who we are. We get the feeling that he doesn't much like or trust us as we really are. His revulsion against sin increases that feeling, particularly since he has told us it is in our very nature to sin."(1)How does this make sense? If we were created in God's image then how could we be born selfish? How could we be born evil? How can it be in our very nature to sin? And if we are created in God's image then does that not make God as sinful as you and I?
You Must Not Be Yourself!
'You must deny yourself' we are constantly reminded and while I agree to a certain extent, I believe there is a failure to look deeper into the matter. To look past the long held perspective of the self being evil; that we must crush it, deny it and crucify it. Yes, let us indeed separate the selfish motives that cause us to betray our selves, from ourSelves. However, one must be cautious not throw the baby out with the bath water! A cart can not lead a horse.
So why all this fear of the Self? Why do Christians fear the Self? Why does society fear the Self? Why do I fear the Self?
(1)A Gentler God:Breaking Free of the Almighty in the presence of the human Jesus-Doug Frank(pg 161) Albatross Books