Avoiding Self-Absorption

September 4, 2012

In Tim Keller’s book on marriage, The Meaning of Marriage, he explains the effect that woundedness has on us.  It makes us self-absorbed.  It’s easy to think of other people when reading this quote.  But truth is, it’s pointing right at me:

Woundedness makes us self absorbed…This is not hard to see in others, of course. When you begin to talk to wounded people, it is not long before they begin talking about themselves. They’re so engrossed in their own pain and problems that they don’t realize what they look like to others. They are not sensitive to the needs of others. They don’t pick up the cues of those who are hurting, or, if they do, they only do so in a self-involved way. That is, they do so with a view of helping to “rescue” them in order to feel better about themselves. They get involved with others in an obsessive and controlling way because they are actually meeting their own needs, though they deceive themselves about this. We are always, always the last to see our self-absorption. Our hurts and wounds can make our self-centeredness even more intractable. When you point out selfish behavior to a wounded person, he or she will say, ‘Well, maybe so, but you don’t understand what it is like”. The wounds justify the behavior.  (Keller, The Meaning of Marriage)

This applies to far more than just marriage.  I’m convinced that the only way out of such a self-absorption is to fervently turn our heads away from our wounds and believe that these little deaths are swallowed up in the victory won by the stripes of the Suffering Servant.

His wounds and not mine are what define me.

(HT: Borrowed Light)

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