Monday, May 18, 2009

Passive Aggressive Faith

According to the definition of passive-aggressive behavior is:

“Of, relating to, or having a personality disorder characterized by habitual passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in occupational or social situations, as by procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness, and inefficiency.”

It is a behavior that some people use as a defense mechanism and is diagnosed in people as a personality disorder, but really is a behavior. People have this behavior for many reasons, but they can use this behavior to avoid tasks or chores they don’t want to do by making excuses for why it wasn’t done and they also use it to avoid conflict and unpleasant confrontations. Maybe you are like this or maybe you know, live, or work with someone like this with this type of personality or behavior? It can come in many forms.

The book Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man lists several responses that may help identify passive-aggressive behavior such as being ambiguous(speaking cryptically), chronically being late or forgetting things, fear of competition, fear of dependency, fear of intimacy, making chaotic situations, making excuses for not performing well, obstructing others from doing well, sulking, or playing victim, and there may be other behaviors.

I’m not trying to play psychologist, but I wanted to give some background on passive-aggressive behavior so we can understand it, so that I can apply it to a spiritual situation. Many times we are passive aggressive when it comes to God. People won’t change their lifestyles to surrender control to God to become a Christian, or many Christians won’t deal with problems in their lives to overcome negative behaviors or habits that are keeping them from growing or maturing in their faith. Many Christian leaders avoid confrontations or tasks in their roles because they are uncomfortable or unpleasant.

We all have chores at home that we don’t like to do and it’s easy to make excuses and procrastinate. We all have responsibilities in our jobs/schooling that we don’t look forward to and it’s easy to put them off last or try and get out of them. But, when it comes to our soul and our faith, we cannot afford to be passive-aggressive. The opposite of passive is active. We need to be actively aggressive when it comes to pursuing God. We need to be active in serving God with our gifts, time, and resources. We need to be active and aggressive in overcoming obstacles in the way of our faith, baggage that holds us back, and mental and emotional issues that are hindering us from giving things over to God.

Now, being active instead of passive is not easy. It takes effort, growth, motivation, and trust, but if we are passive aggressive in our faith we are going to suffer. Just as people who are passive-aggressive effect those they work and live with, in a negative way, being passive-aggressive in our faith effects people in our same way. Our families, our friends, our churches, our example, and our influence. Be active, be aggressive, and do whatever it takes to discover, develop, or deepen your faith in God.

“Each one should test his own actions.”

Galatians 6:4A(NIV)

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