When You Worship Someone, You Will Destroy Them, And They Will Destroy You

When You Worship Someone, You Will Destroy Them, And They Will Destroy You

Love people by changing your mark, because the most valuable lesson I have learned in life about people is this: no matter what, they're too precious to lose.

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To worship something means to treat it like it were a God, and in no place do we worship things more than in our friendships and relationships. We worship the people in our lives, from our friends, siblings, parents, teachers, and in our worship, we expect people to behave like God, too. We expect perfect morality, perfect treatment, and perfect everything. We give up on those people when they fail to meet our lofty expectations. We deny them the ability to be human, and what greater injustice is there, then?

When we worship someone, we will be destroyed, because they will always fall short of our expectations. But that, too, is a two-way street. We will destroy the people we worship because we treat them as projects to fix, fine-tune, and adjust to our likings. Worshipping someone makes them innately inhuman, denies them the ability to live their lives and make their own choices. People have needs and meant to be listened to. They are not meant to be idolized.

I have witnessed a fair amount of drug and alcohol interventions in my day, whether for myself or for my friends. I do not believe they work, most of the time. I believe that society has a misconception about addiction. The addiction is usually not the problem, but is a band-aid solution to deeper issues. I believe you cannot make people change, as they need to want to change themselves. You can walk with them. You can listen. But you cannot worship, or you expect too much. You cannot worship, or you will try to control their lives.

Idolatry is considered the "worship of false gods," but I have found, recently, that the word applies not only to religious contexts, but to life. I have plenty of idols in my life, from my friends, my family, running, to TV, caffeine and alcohol. I worship myself: my character, pride, and reputation. I worship my grades in school, my scores on tests, my paycheck at work, my career, my future. The moment something falls through and goes disastrously within one of these idols is a time when I have to check myself, like when I get a B or C on a test, is a time I have to stop, reflect, and tell myself: this isn't everything. It's a huge problem if it is everything.

The good Christian and company line I'm supposed to say is that God and Jesus Christ are the only things we can worship. There is a difference, a strong difference between loving someone and worshipping them. Loving someone allows them to be human, make mistakes, take risks, and inevitably fail. Loving someone means telling them "I'm going to let you go in that direction, even though I disapprove. I will be with you regardless of whether or not you fall." Loving someone is the ability to disagree about almost politics, and disagree almost to the point of getting into a fight, and hug it out at the end of the day and acknowledge that that person is too precious to lose, no matter what they did, no matter what they believe. Worship is conditional. Loving is unconditional.

Sure, the ideas in the articles are good in theory, but what about in practice? The truth is we go through stages of worshipping people in our lives before we can actually love them. I experience this with my friendships and relationships all the time: I sometimes expect too much from people, and get disappointed too easily when they don't meet those expectations. But then I realize I'm no better, that I would make the same mistakes in the same situation. The worst, sometimes, is when I worship myself. I hold myself to unrealistic standards and expectations. Every semester, I start my first class saying, "Ryan, you need to get a 4.0 GPA this semester," and only start to fall apart and destroy myself when I start to fall short of the mark. Part of me gives up, even when I'm doing more than fine.

We have a black and white image of what it means to sin in contemporary society and Christianity. Sin is bad, fundamentally bad, and means solely doing things awfully wrong. In Biblical Greek, sin meant to "miss the mark." It was often used in contexts of archery and spear throwing to denote missing the center of the target. If that is what it means to sin, then I sin all the time, and you, too, sin all the time. We sin especially when we worship things, or other people as if they were God.

I once had an upper-level chemistry professor who said that "if you fail and miss your goal, just move the goal."

I would go on to fail his next exam, but learned a valuable life lesson regardless (and did fine in the class). Remember that quote especially in terms of what you expect for other people. Give them space and permission to be human, not only so you don't destroy them, but so they won't destroy you when they don't meet those expectations. Love people by changing your mark, because the most valuable lesson I have learned in life about people is this: no matter what, they're too precious to lose.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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5 Tips To Help You Feel Better If You're Sick

A few helpful tips if there's a bug going around.

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Not to brag, but I don't get sick very often, maybe once a year. When I do find myself a little under the weather, there's a few things I like to do for a faster recovery. I have no idea if any of these are 100% accurate, but I'd like to think they do. None of these will immediately make you feel better, but they'll help quicken the process.

Drink lots of water.

This one is a no-brainer, but it can be hard to do sometimes. I know when I'm sick, I definitely don't think about it. Water can help flush toxins out of your body, makes you hydrated, and can help you feel more awake and energized! If you're not a huge water drinker like I am, Tea also helps.

Stay home.

If you're sick, it's honestly better if you just take a day off and focus on feeling better. If you're worried about going to school or work, it's better that you don't spread anything. Let me just say, I'm fairly certain the last time I caught something was because someone behind me in a class was coughing through the entire lecture.

Rest.

This one goes with the last point, but sleeping will help your immune system fight off any infections. It's good to take some time off and get any extra sleep you can.

Clean everything.

I like to wash all of my clothes and bed sheet, because they're what I wear and touch the most, especially my pillow cases. This will help get rid of some germs and stop them from spreading. It's also good to disinfect anything you touch often, like doorknobs and table surfaces.

Take medicine.

This one also sounds like a no brainer, but seriously if you expect to feel better soon you should be taking some sort of medicine. At the very least, it'll help with your symptoms, so you're not couching or sneezing every couple minutes.

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