Monday, January 22, 2007

American Idols

I must confess that I have idols in my life. No really don't laugh I do.

What is an idol? An idol is a representation of a "noun" that you have cast into stone or metal or some graven image that you worship.

I see the cogs turning... "where is this going?" you are thinking.

Well lets take a look at what it takes to make an idol. An idol first of all is made by fashioning an image of your "god", your "perfection". It is often times ornately designed and beautifully fashioned out of the most precious of metals.

I used to wonder why God said in the 10 commandments that the Isrealites should have "no graven image before them". I mean... would it not be good to have this graven image that helps remind you of Yahweh! Yet, when Aaron built the idol in the old testament it wasn't long until the earth was opening up and swallowing people.

So whats the problem with idols and what has that got to do with me?

Well idols create several problems. First of all the problem with idols is that they are fashioned/engraven into an unchanging form. The reason God didn't want the Isrealites having an idol is that he did not want to be stuck into acting only by one standard and having only a single facet that they could see him as. The Bible actually refers to God as the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God all at the same time. If He is in a graven image... He cannot be both.

The second problem with idols is that we create them to be our standard of judgement. Therefore, we live our lives attempting to become an inanimate being. We hold ourselves to unmoving standards and before long create a hardened facade that never changes.

So blah blah blah... what makes this conversation about idols any different from all the others you have heard people talk about.

Well my problem is that I have made a person an idol. I didn't even realize I was doing it. As a matter of fact, anyone in my life that I feel like is a success I idolize them. I begin to put this permanent hardened image on them. I trap them into acting in a singular way and being hardened to my actions. Worship can be such a strange thing. In honoring a person I can actually harm them. That is why God is the only person that is worthy of my worship.

Let me explain. In the particular instance that I am thinking of, I put this person on such a pedastal that they became an idol in my life. I engraved them into being able to take anything, that my actions didn't affect them in any signficant way. That they were "above" me and my petty faults. And in no means is this a shot at them, but they weren't. The way I acted did matter. When I was rude to them it did hurt their feelings. It did bother them.

To build on this, because I made them an idol in my life, I needed to have their approval. I needed them to think that what I did was the "right" thing. I needed them to feed me my identity, my self value, and my worth.

So in a "sick" and "demented" way I would be completely and totally rude to this person while attempting to convince them that I was right. I needed their approval so badly that I hurt them time and time again without even knowing I was doing it. I would argue with them over and over hoping to prove to them that I was right so that they would give me the approval that I so desperately desired.

However, in looking back it wasn't that I was hardened towards them but in my mind I had hardened them towards me. In no way was this their fault. It didn't really even have anything to do with them specifically. It had everything to do with my own insecurity and my need to have their approval.

Since realizing this during this past weekend, I'm realizing more and more that I have idolized alot of people in my life. Probably not to the extent that I did this person, but certain areas of my life. I then strive to get people's approval in the areas that I have engraved them into. Even if it means hurting them, I need them to tell me "yes you did that right". Yes you are right!...

Yeah I know I'm sick... and really I may be one of the only people in the world who has done this... I can't see it at this point in anyone else. But I wanted to share it with you and see if anyone else could identfity at all.

So now I start the long road to recovery with the relationship with this particular person as well as a journey to tear down the other idols in my life.


paul said...

We all idolize. We have to sometimes. I think it's our way of practicing what we might think of God...if we gave him enough thought...

Ken Hendrix said...

Paul, I think you are right in what you are sharing. However, I think that there is a difference in making someone an idol and seeing them as a facet of God. It's the cold unmoving idol phase that locks them into responding one way that is dangerous. I certainly believe that we must be able to see God in others and imitate that... we just cannot afford to limit God or that person to only that one way of "being". Before long we will abuse the very thing that we worship.

emil"i" said...

Hey Ken, as much I don't want to admit... you perfectly read my mind. SCARY! Except it was not just one person, it was a couple of persons. The thing is, why try "recovering" the relationship when you know all you did was make that person feel uncomfortable, anyways? Who wants someone that they can't trust; especially when they seem much happier without you?

paul said...

An idol is what you behold. It is the "first" in your life. However, the tricky thing about idosl is we usually don't realize that we even have them. We're like the dumb detective in the movie; we suspect the most obvoius and overlook the real villian. And in these scenarios the list of suspects are usually limited to a few catagories. 1. Ourselves 2. Our selfish desires 3. The unknown, sublime desires that we are only aware of in our deepest thoughts.
But that's just my take on it.

Ken Hendrix said...

Ok Emil'i' ... You twist my arm. Ever tried not having a relationship with your mother? See I idolized my mother. I had set her up as a "god" in my life. That isn't my fault... and without a doubt I need her influence in my life.

UNDERSTAND... idols don't choose themselves. Think about it... not once in the history of the world has someone declaring themself an idol actually succeeded in making them one (at least not a long lasting one). It is always our own personal perceptions that create the idols.

Therefore, the idol is not the problem... the problem is in that WE MADE THEM AN IDOL. There is not a thing wrong with my mother. It was all on me.

Would it be easier to just isolate ourselves and keep our distance? YOU BET IT WOULD... but if you are going to be a real change addict and a leader then you have to be able to lead people through RELATIONSHIP. That doesn't just mean people under you and beside you, but it also means the people that you have "over" you. And those are the ones that generally become our idols. The solution to idolship is not isolation... that just makes us our own idol... instead it is interaction and REAL relationship with an awareness that the other person has REAL value.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

A real relationship is like a marriage you value what that person has to say even if you do not agree with everything they say just like when you were little and you had friends you really valued everything they said. Just something to think about.

This is a key--that the person has real value. How do you value another person?