Sunday, August 26, 2012

When Disillusioned by People and Life

[This article is Part 2 in in the series on Disillusionment. Scroll down to read Part 1  -BL]

The term "disillusionment" means to be freed from illusion and no longer be misled or deceived. Disillusionment can be helpful because it forces one to face reality. It is beneficial to see truth and be freed from misconceptions, but the term also has a negative connotation when it describes one who has been enlightened to some disheartening reality. It refers to the disappointment that accompanies the enlightenment, to the paralyzing effect that it can have on a person's will to act, and to the discouragement that comes with discovering the disappointing truth about someone in whom hope and trust were placed.

Disillusionment becomes a problem when a person does not respond to it correctly, when he overreacts and becomes overwhelmed by it. If it is not handled in the grace of God it can cause one to become cynical and bitter, to quit trusting people, and even to question God. Disillusionment, taken to an extreme, causes people to enter into another form of illusion— seeing only the negative and the bad. It is good for a person to see reality, but he who sees no good is no longer in reality and has moved from naieve idealism to the misconceptions and deceptions of skepticism and cynicism.

The person who is disillusioned needs to be encouraged to believe that truth and integrity do exist, that not everything nor everyone is false. He must be encouraged to learn from experience and grow in discernment so that he is not misled again. He must hold to the good and discard only the bad. He must stand in faith and walk on in obedience.

Psalm 73
Whether a person is disillusioned because he has been genuinely disappointed by some hope, or because his heart has perverted his perceptions of reality, his answer and deliverance are in the presence of the Lord. David saw the wicked prosper while the people of God suffered. He saw the ungodly appear to sin with impunity while he himself was chastened every morning. His first reaction was to feel his efforts at righteousness had been in vain. What he saw troubled him, and his reaction to it grieved him deeply. It was all too painful— until he went into the presence of God. He would have given up had he not sought the Lord.

It is at Jesus' feet that we gain the right perspective. It is there that we get our bearings and reference points. We present our hearts for cleansing, open the Bible and see what God's word says. The “dust” of life’s complications combined with the flood of negative input into our minds can harden our hearts and cause our understanding of the simple words of scripture to dim and fade from our spirit. Our answer is to sit at Jesus’ feet with God’s word and listen to the Holy Spirit. David did this, and his conclusion was, "I have put my trust in the Lord God."

"I went into the sanctuary [God's presence]...then I understood."  Psalm 73: 17

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