paying for status

Posted: April 24th, 2012 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 10 Comments »

Last year the University of San Diego did a study on the relationship between stereotypes and the way they make people behave. They found a little over 100 people to study. They all met at the mall and a few were shown a list of stereotypes about successful people and about their own race or category. ย Then they were set loose to be observed while they shopped. The point of the study was to see how stereotypes of successful people affected the behavior of people who did not feel successful.

Here are a few stereotypes about successful people listed by Forbes:

  • arrogant
  • overbearing
  • selfish
  • compulsive
  • risk takers
  • insensitive
  • lucky
  • competitive

Stereotypes aren’t based on fact, they’re based on general public perception. Stereotypes are formed by people on the outside looking in. Sometimes they’re hurtful and most of the the time they’re wrong.

The study revealed something in human nature that we already know happens. People will compensate for their inadequacy by trying to behave like who they want to be. The only problem is, they are using a stereotype to base their behavior on. They fake it while they’re trying to make it, but the model is flawed. Those who really are successful can see through it and are frustrated that the stereotype is being perpetuated.

“Good” Christians have stereotypes, too.

  • always happy
  • hardly ever sin
  • don’t have doubts
  • don’t have the big problems
  • don’t have questions
  • an example of purity

But every single Christian on the planet knows that list isn’t true for them. Some think it should be, because they think it’s true for other people. They think it’s true for other people because other people want them to think it’s true. Everybody is looking at everybody else and nobody has a clue that nobody has a clue.

Marketers know how to take advantage of people who want to appear more successful. They jack up the prices because people with low-self esteem think that the more you pay for something, the more special it is and it makes them feel more special. They’re being gouged in a psychological game with the greatest tool being human lack of self-worth.

The people who stand to gain the most money when people try to buy their status will literally bank on the fact that even if they think they’re paying too much, people who want to prove their worth and identity will not speak up and blow their cover.

Satan knows how to take advantage of people who want to appear like a good Christian. He wants the stereotype perpetuated so that it gets so far from what Jesus even was that the real Christians look like heretics. The price on grace is jacked up so that people with low-spiritual self-esteem have something to earn that builds their confidence. The harder something is to maintain, the more meaningful it is, the closer to God they feel.

They’re being spiritually gouged with a psychological tool, playing on human nature to get the desired effect. The entity that stands to gain the most when people try to earn their good Christian standing will literally bank on the fact that even though most people know something isn’t right, they won’t speak up and blow their cover. They’ve seen how the proud treat the meek and they don’t want to be in that lot.

So, we have these loud, arrogant people trying to prove their success by being demanding jerks because they think that’s what successful people do. Yet, the whole time, they’re drowning in debt and getting further and further away from the security they’re trying to pretend they have. Then, we have this other group of people who try to fabricate masks of peace, joy, and righteousness with forced spirituality. The whole time, they’re drowning in their own lives, but can’t show it because they’re afraid people will know they don’t have it all together. They’re further and further away from who they think they should be. They only reveal half of their inner battle for self worth when they point out the flaws of others. The other half is hidden behind the mask. When someone points out the flaw of someone else, it’s the last half of a sentence that started with them noticing their own failures.

People are too afraid to say anything because they think they’re the only one. But, they’re not the only one. Everybody feels inadequate at times. That’s why communities of real, even broken, people are so refreshing and healing. We need more honesty and less of the stereotype.

Speak up, Pontius Pilate. You’re running out of soap.

So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus. -2 Timothy 1:8-10 MSG

ย pfs


10 Comments »


10 Comments on “paying for status”

  1. 1 brownpaperandstrings said at 8:58 am on April 24th, 2012:

    I am teaching a class on May 9th about masks. You've given me an illustration that I've been praying for. Thank you!! If I have your permission I will be using information you've listed here.
    My recent post When Dreams must Die

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 6:21 pm on April 24th, 2012:

    That's awesome. Good luck on your class. ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking always makes me nervous.

  3. 3 brownpaperandstrings said at 8:23 pm on April 24th, 2012:

    Oh, me too! Most definitely. Thank you!
    My recent post When Dreams must Die

  4. 4 Julie R. said at 10:15 am on April 24th, 2012:

    Wow! It is amazing how things I often already "know" in my spirit, but haven't found the words for yet, find their way onto your blog… (its freaky, really…. LOL) I have long believed that we are all just walking around basing who we are on a lie that someone else is selling us. I just didn't know how to put it in to the right words so it would make sense to others. That's why, there is you! HAHAHA

  5. 5 serenawoods said at 6:22 pm on April 24th, 2012:

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Julie.

  6. 6 Jason Wert said at 10:28 am on April 24th, 2012:

    You really have elevated your writing over the last year. Every time I think you've written your best post ever, you top it with something like this. Bravo.
    My recent post God waits until the last minute because of us

  7. 7 serenawoods said at 6:22 pm on April 24th, 2012:

    Thanks, Jason. That made my day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. 8 Heather said at 2:38 pm on April 24th, 2012:

    Oh I know this. I have been around the Christian community for a long long time. It's what draws me here. We need more honesty and less stereotype. I have to search for it at times and then other times I realize I can just be it.

  9. 9 serenawoods said at 6:23 pm on April 24th, 2012:

    It doesn't take too long to find the real deal, but it's easier to find the louder stereotype. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 10 dawn said at 10:29 pm on April 25th, 2012:

    Love this, really good, Serena!


Leave a Reply