“The culture that sells a counterfeit version of love also has to sell the numbing agents to keep us from recognizing the pain we’re in.”
Christopher West’s quote from a recent podcast hits us in the heart. The reason is we have all grown more and more aware of our restless heart. We have all faced the emptiness, and been uncomfortable with the lack of answers our culture offers.
This quote reminded me of the dentist. That’s how much it hurt. The pain that comes with filling a cavity needs to be numbed by the shot in the gums and cheek in order to avoid an even more painful experience. Countless operations are performed like this. I just didn’t know the culture was operating on me.
See, I was told through every medium of communication how to behave as a man. I was told what to think. I was told how to feel, or not feel. The lies I was being fed started filtering into my brain during ages I can’t even remember. And the memories I do have of the earliest lies I heard in my life make me sick to this day. Lies telling me love is a fairy tale where good feelings should dominate and lead you in the right direction. That spontaneous chemistry and effortless romance will lead to a clear path to forever. Sexual intimacy simply stems from the intense love and passion between two people, and it never presents any complications or obstacles to true love. I was told as a man I had to increase my sex appeal while pretending to not care at all about what people thought about me. I was conditioned to constantly compare myself to others because competition breeds success. Every article of clothing, hygiene product, and material purchase I made was intended to make me better, more attractive, and more appealing to women. These lies seeped into my brain and heart, and forced me to think about the world a certain way. Then, when the questions started creeping in like they do in anyone who challenges the status quo, the numbing process began.
I don’t know about your numbing tendencies, but mine used to revolve around movies, Youtube, and casual dating. I would watch movies when I was stressed out. I would watch anything on a screen when it was late at night when I couldn’t sleep. In order to avoid being alone emotionally, I would attempt to have a potential dating relationship on the horizon at all times. Now, I still struggle with the lies of the counterfeit version of love because they are everywhere, and the numbing agents of social media and electronic devices are still a temptation. We need to identify all the distractions the culture is feeding us so that we know what they are distracting us from. We can forgive ourselves for wanting to numb the pain we experience at the hands of our culture, and then use that pain to leap into the arms of true love, who can heal our every wound. Jesus wants your pain. He wants to wake us up out of our numbing, and give us the real thing.