MANY people cannot live a life of faith because they cannot deny reality. There isn’t enough reason for them to choose faith in order to deny. And the bridges that exist between faith and denial are indeed splendidly paradoxical. Let’s make a short study of them.
Denial, it must be said, is one of the chief blockers to faith. This is where it might confuse.
A Dichotomy – Faith and Denial
Faith and denial pertain to each other in many awkward, diverse ways, these introducing tensions hard to describe in words.
The balancing beam any of us must traverse in life necessitates us choosing the right time (the right circumstances) to deny reality. Virtue and vice, our very core motives, are at the centre of the decision making process. And hope’s in there too.
Sometimes what we see we shouldn’t believe. We can’t see all that will happen. Sometimes we get in our own way by acting only on what we see, without having the faith to deny what seems real, yet isn’t—not from the long-term perspective.
Faith to deny comes from having the courage to hope. But, it only truly works when we get the balance of life right—when we’re considering all our relationships (God-others-self) in proper accord. This could be called ‘good faith.’ There are many forms of bad faith around.
This introduces to when not to deny.
Denial is a very dangerous thing when it’s done at the wrong time i.e. in the wrong circumstances. Look at a person who is one hundred kilograms overweight and you can be 99.9 percent sure they’re in denial. Very simplistically, if they saw themselves truly as others do they’d commit to shaping up physically. This, of course, is a very crude but true analysis. I try not to offend and I apologise in advance if I do.
Many people get into a rut of denial. In truth, we’ve all struggled with it—and we always will, on and off.
It is an unhealthy denial when we persist with relationships with needs unsaid and unmet. Perhaps it’s the source of argument. That’s not denial. But it is destructive, not constructive. As I reflect, we’ve all got these. Let’s not deny the problems. They don’t fix themselves.
People have all manner of problems and addictions and they endure them in denial. This is bad faith. It’s faith based in lies. It won’t get us anywhere but the wrong places, the wrong destinations.
Bridges to Faith (Both Good and Bad)
Perhaps we can view good faith as the notional pot of gold lying at the end of the rainbow. Yet we meet denial along the way. Denial is a decision-gate. Yes or no. Virtue or vice. Good or bad. What to believe. What to deny.
These are the very things that grant us passage to that goal of good faith. The equally easy destination (the pot of filthy coal) is our reward for bad faith.
Each choice offers that bridge—the fork in the road—which takes us accordingly to the appropriate destination. Many choose the wrong path, believing in the wrong things—many of which they see with their own eyes. Many who do choose correctly reject what their own eyes tell them; they deny what is actually false; that which actually looks real. Conversely, our own eyes often tell us the truth. Do we believe in these circumstances or deny?
Our motives are the basis of how we approach our decision-gates in life. Our hearts are at the centre of it all. They inform our minds. Our instincts and consciences are crucial. How do we act in automatic? This is how we operate routinely in life.
Faith to deny... Deny fear in courage. Deny reality to believe in a dream. Truth lies at the heart of all this. And this is why a dedication to truth (as an ideal) is so very important. It’s the wise way.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.