By Basilea Schlink
If our bodies are sick, they are especially sensitive to cold, draught and other environmental factors. Our souls are sensitive, if our "egos" are sick. Sensitivity or touchiness is the ego's desire for attention. We expect our egos to be spoiled and pampered like a sick body. If that does not happen, if we do not receive love, attention, respect, if we are overlooked or forgotten, if we have been criticized, then we react like a person who is physically sick and make a woeful face. We are hurt, cry and rebel against our neighbours and reproach them. We imagine that people do not have our best interests at heart, that we are not getting what we deserve, that they are being unfair to us. Whenever they say anything, we think they are trying to hurt our reputations. We become unhappy, but at the same time torment and tyrannize those around us through touchiness and egoism. That is why this is not merely an "unfortunate disposition", but a sin which gives birth to many evils, which causes us to heap up guilt upon guilt through our behaviour towards our fellow men. No matter what it costs we have to become free from this sin and begin to wage a campaign against it.
What do touchy people usually do? Instead of declaring war on this sin, they "put their ego to bed", expecting someone to comfort and pamper it. Even if this does happen, it would not get better. For touchiness is an imaginary sickness. Patients with imaginary sicknesses, however, get worse the more they are spoiled. They will only be helped, if people stop making a fuss over them and confront them with the hard reality of life. The same is true for sensitive souls that suffer from the sickness of egoism. They have to be willing to submit to rough treatment.
First of all, we have to accept the diagnosis without making any excuses. It is not the others who are hurting us all the time, but we ourselves, with our egoistic demands for love and respect, are the cause of our troubles. We are the guilty ones when there are tensions. They can only be solved if we repent of our sin of egoism, which is a sin against love. For Jesus has redeemed us so that we will live no longer for ourselves, for our ego, but for Him who died for our sake (2 Cor. 5: 15), and also live for our fellow men. Egoists are always hurt easily. They destroy every harmonious situation and make the redemption of Jesus unbelievable, giving offence to others who are just beginning to follow Jesus. So without our realizing it, our egoism can make others stop believing in Jesus and thus expose them to the greatest danger. How terrible it will be on the judgment day when their accusations will pass judgment upon us.
We have to make every possible effort to get rid of our egoism. The word shows that we are slaves of our egos. Our thinking centres around our ego instead of around Jesus, and yet we have been called to have Him as the Centre of our lives. But if the most important thing in our life is satisfying our egos with attention, love, respect and other good things, we can never enter Jesus' kingdom above. There everything centres around Jesus, free from every selfish bond. Our touchiness has to be overcome, and it can be overcome, because Jesus has come to free us from our sins.
What is the way? Not to pay any attention to oneself, not to make any more demands for love, attention, respect. This has to be done in a practical way. We must make a commitment to God-a written one-believing in His redemption. Let us say to the Lord,
In future I no longer want to receive any attention;
I don't want to try to get love and respect and
understanding; I want to accept criticism and reproach.
I want my ego and its demands to starve to
death so that I can have room in my heart for You,
Jesus, and Your love which did not seek itself, but let
its own demands die and only sought others. Let me
tread Your path and bring fruit for You. I believe in
Your words: "Whoever would save his life will lose
it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Yes, I want to be freed from this sin quickly. So I
will strive in faith to be able to say, "Thank You
God", for every rough treatment. You have given me
what I have asked for. By chastening my ego, You
want to help me be freed from my touchiness. In
thanksgiving I take the redemption from my touchiness,
which you leave gained for me. In spirit I
behold the new man, released and joyful, and no
longer clouded by touchiness.
But because the road is long, we must not get tired or discouraged when we continually fall down. We have to endure to the end, in faith that Jesus' redemption has set us free, until we can see what we have believed. Could anything he impossible for God? Jesus' blood cleanses us from all sin, no matter how strong and persistent it might be. He is greater than everything else, even greater than the uncanny power of our egos. Still it is necessary to endure in faith and not to get tired. We must spend a long time calling upon the victorious name JESUS and praising its power over our sin. If Jesus calls Himself the Redeemer, He will not let His name be put to shame, but will put His honour at stake and prove that He can really break this bondage to sin.
It is meaningless only to call upon the name Jesus and His victory without being willing to place ourselves in God's hands and let Him chasten us because of sinful traits. This chastening will cleanse us. Only if we do both, will we reach the goal.