The Relational Trap of Self-Deception on the Journey

Many of us have heard that the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results. Often times the pain of loneliness that one feels because of the lack of authentic connection with God if not directed toward Christ can easily become the obsession of a person attempting to find their cravings for inner-peace, unity and wholeness to unrealistically be fulfilled by another person. Henri Nouwen would refer this deep craving as the Messianic Expectation that all people have in their desiring peace for their inner restlessness. Another way of understanding this destructive cycle is that one attempts to have the deepest need for significance that can only be met by God fulfilled in another human being. This becomes the soil that addictive behavior becomes nurtured. In this mindset a man or woman strives to either be God or attempt to place another human being to have that seat of authority in their life.

Self-deceit is the attempt to make God into one’s own image rather than to respond to grace as one who has been created in His image. Consider the words of Henri Nouwen when he writes:“It is sad to see how sometimes people suffering from loneliness, often deepened by the lack of affection in their intimate family circle, search for a final solution for their pains and look at a new friend, a new lover or a new community with Messianic expectations. Although their mind knows about their self-deceit, their hearts keep saying, “Maybe this time I have found what I have knowingly or unknowingly been searching for.” It is indeed amazing at first sight that men and women who have had such distressing relationships with their parents, brothers or sisters can throw themselves blindly into relationships with far-reaching consequences in the hope that from now on things will be totally different.”

-Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, p 30. –

About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”
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