• Steven Marsh

The Role of Fear and the True and False Self Dichotomy

The False Self is preoccupied with image, appearance, success and the opinion of others. Because the False Self is rooted in matters of law, orthodoxy, ambition, pride and affiliations, the True Self (the imago Dei) is repressed and buried. Much effort is dispensed to perpetuate “the image” of being good, effective, successful and well-loved. The True Self really doesn’t have a chance.

In October 2010, when I confessed my sin of plagiarism in five of my 650 word columns in a church monthly magazine, refuted other allegations of my apparent lack of integrity and asked for forgiveness, the elders could not forgive, structure an appropriate model of discipline and restoration and asked me to resign.

Why did I commit plagiarism? What was going on with me? The False Self was living large. I was the senior pastor of a 2400 member church, preaching four services each Sunday, teaching Wednesday nights, administrating the staff, being held responsible for a $5.3 million annual budget, discipling elders, publishing a weekly blog and the list went on. I was struggling. I could not do it all. And I could not admit it. I was so obsessed with not failing that I believed the lie of the False Self which I had been nurturing and living my entire professional life of 28 years and most likely my entire life of 53 years. I cut corners and did not cite a source in each of the columns.

I feared failure. And I failed. The False Self cannot come through for the long-term.

The True Self is that we are made in the image of God and unconditionally loved by God. The True Self is in Union with God.

Fear abhors grace and mercy. Fear thrives on merit and judgment.

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