People of the Lie

I just completed a wonderful book by M.Scott Peck entitled “People of the Lie”

Because I am convinced of the relevance, power, and truth in this great work I want to suggest it to you. However, I do so with a warning. This book (as the author himself notes) is dangerous. It must not be used to judge but to bring about transformation. Having said that let me tell you a little about the book and what I gleaned from reading it.

To put it plainly, this book is about a “psychology of evil.” Dr. Peck is himself a psychologist and writes from a Christian vantage point. He has a wonderful heart for those who suffer from clinical disorders and an even better eye to separate root causes from surface facades.

In this book, Dr. Peck teaches us what it means to understand evil in this dark world and the role it plays in each human’s life. If the truth be known, we all suffer from some “disorder.” It’s simply one person’s propensity, circumstances, and inner strength (innate or learned) to deal with these disorders that distinguishes the healthy from the unhealthy.

What this book has helped me to see is how evil affects us all. Evil attacks us from birth. It comes at us from all sides – waging war against our true selves. Evil stacks the cards against us and strategically seeks to overtake the fortress of our hearts. Why? Because Satan knows something we too often forget. That life is a long war for the soul. The soul isn’t won in a single battle. War is won over time with much planning, and strategy. You don’t go for the kill right away, rather, you chip away at the heart until it is vulnerable. And when it is vulnerable, you don’t choke to the finish. No, you come to its aid and ask for it to kill itself, so you can inherit the dark places. Then you have won (or lost). Life for no life at all.

And that is how evil works – externally to internally. External factors become internal possessions locked away in the dark recesses of the heart. (Side note – God works in the oppisite manner, internally to externally.) And once this happens, the evil within rails against any and all attempts to deal squarely with the real issues. Evil’s worst enemy is light (or truth). Evil will fight against any temptations to deal with the core issues – the early external experiences with itself that caused the vulnerable heart to be won in the first place.

Hard concept I know, but one we must grasp as the community of faith at large. If we are to be compassionate we must be first truthful, for compassion comes from discontent with a lie. Take me for example – my compassion (what little I possess) desires to see the poor valued in this country. Why? Because I have become discontent with the lie that “you get what you deserve.”

We must become discontent with the lie. What lie? The lie that says 20 million people in America suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. 14 million Americans suffer from depression. And they suffer because of the lack of serotonin in the brain.

Is this a lie? Yes. Either that, or God makes less serotonin now than He ever has in history. It’s a lie, and Jesus is the answer. I refuse to believe it for 3 main reasons.

1> God gave an answer to this worlds ills in Jesus Christ before the fall of man ever happened. Not 50 years ago when mankind invented psychology.
2> Jesus has practical answers for change in his curriculum for Christ-likeness. When we walk in his way, he heals us.
3> The solution is too easy. St. Anthony calls Christ’s way the “Furnace of Transformation” Jesus offers no cover-ups. Quiet the opposite – he is the great Exposé – shedding light on truth and darkness. Grace is not the eradication of sin – Grace dealt quite squarely with sin – and painful is an understatement.

When will Christians become discontent with a lie, and therefore become compassionate for the hurting in our society. Millions hang in the balance. Millions seek cover-up solutions to their pain. Millions have “wide path” options for recovery laid before them. When will the disciples step up and walk along the narrow path with the hurting? Who will go through the fire and into the furnace with the socially-ill?

Comments

  1. Well, now that sounds like an army that I just might like to join! Exactly how is it, though, that we go through the furnace of fire with the socially-ill? I want to enlist, but what is it that I need to do? Will they accept people who are “socially-ill” themselves? …Just asking.

    By the way, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that we ALL have some sort of “disorder”. I mean it is rare to find a person who has it all and has never suffered a blow of some sort in their lives. I believe how we deal with our “disorders” is the key to living a good life or living a miserable life.

    However, we do need to recognize that some folks do suffer from mental and emotional illnesses that ordinary, “Learn to cope with it” suggestive form of therapy may very well not work. Or at least, that is what I’ve been told. On the other hand, after having gone through my own share of emotional trauma in my life, I do think that allowing yourself to “wallow” can become EXTREMELY hazardous. That “Pull yourself up by the bootstraps” type of therapy does have some redeeming qualities, although many would argue that you simply can’t understand what it is that they are going through. My own mother used that “Cut it out”, or “Straighten up”, or “Snap out of it” type of therapy which seemed to work just fine at my house. And with 5 kids, you’d think someone would balk, but for the most part, we all abided.

    Back to a point you made about the seratonine. That was a pretty awesome point! It does make one wonder, doesn’t it? Perhaps we are giving in to this “Psycology”. Perhaps we are saying, “Hey, I got a prob…it says it in this book, on the internet, on TV…so don’t mess with me!” “Let me wallow!”

    Or, perhaps, we just don’t understand it all. I am willing to bet, that it is just not as simple as, ” Get over it!” However, I agree that through Christ all things are made possible.

    I am afraid to submit this comment. I am afraid that I will get a firm “Kick” from it. You know, one of those, “IF you had heart problems, or if you had diabetes, you would try to get help…so why would you treat a psycological disorder any differently?” That kind of “Kick”. Oh well, here goes…

    Be gentle.

    Reply
  2. No. Don’t be afraid of getting kicked here. I do think that you just had a really good point there at the end. I think psychological disorders are a lot like any physiological disorders in that you need to get help. I highly doubt Dr. Peck (or myself) would be anti-medicine or anti-medical at all!

    But you do have to look at it this way. If you have heart problems and simply just take your meds, then you’ll still have heart probs. You have to “go through the furnace of transformation” by getting you butt in shape, eating healthy, and getting into healthy sleep habits. All this is very very hard and a painful reality to face when you’re used to living another way. (The same can be said for diabetes, injuries, cancer, or any other physiological problems.) There must be a therepy.

    I also understand that every person that suffers has there own situation and need for there own treatment. That is why those who suffer from social disorders, depression, etc. just need loving and truthful people to go through the furnace with them. They need a hand to hold when the pain of facing the sources and roots of there trauma.

    Reply

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