Friday, May 21, 2010

How Ambition Destroys Discernment by Frank Viola

Over the weekend, I caught a documentary on the Jim Jones episode which occurred some 30 years ago. What a horror story. The footage was remarkable. I didn’t know that there were recordings of Jones instructing those in his fold to “drink the Koolaid.” (It wasn’t exactly Koolaid.) 

Jones was typical of leaders of his ilk. According to the experts who knew and studied him, he was highly gifted, charismatic (in personality), humorous, like-able, knew how to make people feel “important,” yet … an egomaniac, very insecure, fixated on his own importance, paranoid, easily jealous, a shameless self-promoter, corrupt and dishonest.

Not long after watching that program, I was informed that a person I know joined a movement that’s exclusive, sectarian, elitist, and marked by dishonesty, unmitigated arrogance, paranoia, jealousy, and the tearing down of others falsely. All leaving behind a long, long trail of hurt and devastated Christians. (I realize that this description fits many different movements, sadly.)

The interesting thing about it is that this person had been educated in the dangers of all of the above. And I’m aware of at least one person who warned him specifically. Yet still … he’s become a “true believer” of this movement. (I realize that this description fits many different people, sadly.)

“How does this happen?,” you might ask, as you shake your head in disbelief.

One major element in the mix is spiritual ambition. There are many “dreamers” who wish to become something for God which, in reality, they aren’t cut out for, called to, or are not ready for. Such benighted ambition blinds them to truth and honesty, and it smothers both their conscience and their discernment. Good judgment goes out the window … and so does integrity. It renders the person utterly “clueless” as to what’s really going on. And they aren’t in touch with any of this.

It’s both sad and fascinating to say the least.

A word of advice to the ambitious. Follow your conscience, never let your integrity be compromised, pay attention to the warning signs, and ultimately, throw away the calender and let God promote you. Have the attitude: If God doesn’t promote me then I won’t be promoted.

To put it in a sentence: decline the Koolaid when it’s being passed to you.


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