Strokes for the slef-focused

Let me say from the start: these words are gonna get me in trouble.

The conservative Christians will be shocked that such a topic would ever be discussed, the liberal fellows will grin from ear to ear, and the unholy and worldly will try to use my words to convict me of things I am not guilty of. So, I will try to be very careful how I say the message, avoid using the words that readily define the condition I am going to discuss, and pray that you receive an understanding of my message through a deeper reading of my words.

The problem is the strokings of the self-focused. It is a worldly problem of nature that has been reinforced through the school system in providing liberal praise for every action, regardless of achievement or effort. The need for pleasurable experiences is escalated through the constant exposure to provocative, sensual and outright pornographic images that pummel us everyday, stirring the hidden “feel good” buttons and offering a quick “pleasing stroke” for the self focused.

Liberal psychologists encourage excessive rewards to our children, and liberal bosses hold feel good seminars to motivate their workers. The newest and greatest companies are the ones who package these “personal strokings” and offer them as incentives for their employees to enjoy. Group dynamics now focus on the individual needs, rather than the group goals, and every meeting of people is viewed as an opportunity to make them better.

Christian spiritual growth through the study of the Word of God is no longer encouraged, but is replaced with the feel good books that give purpose to life through driving the needs of individuals above the needs of God. Personal accomplishments and the resulting strokes is what life has become for the human race, and

Christianity is not immune from it’s insidious touch. The problem with this self focused need for strokings that the people of nature demand, is that it has crossed over into our spiritual gathering places, and the spirits of many of our young Christians. This desperate need for stroking is evident in every aspect of our fellowship. Pastors and church leaders spend hours upon hours talking with the most needy self focused, providing each with the attention they demand or risk creating rifts inside the congregation that are irreparable. Teachers of the Word of God are pummeled with personal story after personal story, as the focus on His Word is moved to a focus of the self-focused students gathered in “study”. Christian parents feel guilty and give in to the self-focused demands of their children, who are motivated by the environment they study and play in.

More personally, the need for strokes of the self-focused continually attempt to remove my focus from the things of God, repeatedly try to disrupt my life, and always cause me many burdens and pain. It is the main reason why I remove myself from relationships with not only some of my Christian brothers and sisters, but even some of my personal family and friends as well.

They stand in front of me and demand my attention and my vocal praise for deeds that matter nothing to me or God. They come to me and use my precious time to mindlessly drone on about pathetic and small things in their life that bring focus only to themselves. They become offended if their focus is directed to higher things, and are hurt when their efforts of attention getting fail, and strokes are not forthcoming. Those misguided selfish ones who are closest to me, use a form of blackmail to force the strokings of their nature to be done. They suggest through word and deed that if the strokes are not forthcoming, then they will soon be gone, away from me and the Word of God forever.

I’m tired. I’m tired of being forced to focus my attention on the pathetic things of nature that mean nothing to me or God. I am sick of feeling used and dirty when the self-focused are filled with happiness from the attention they have sucked from me. I am sick that many come to me to touch me and my relationship with God, with expectations that they can get my peace and my joy by brushing up against me.

Oh, how I long for true Christian fellowship where the self is no longer the subject, and God is the focus. How I crave to have Christian brothers and sisters who walk with me to learn the deeper things of God, without requiring me to make them feel good before the learning takes place. And oh, how I hope, that I never, ever make my Father in Heaven feel as dirty and disappointed as the self-focused have made me feel in their demands for attention and feel good strokes of nature.