No, I’m not schizophrenic.
Nor do I like to minimize or make light of schizophrenia by using the term carelessly or even too freely.
But the thought of switching between a positive disposition and a negative demeanor is a challenging one. And convicting, too.
I was driving someone to a rendezvous and the air inside the car was toxic. My passenger was in a foul mood, and all attempts to sweeten it were rebuffed because: (1) She definitely could not help the way she felt, (2) her behavior was the direct result of my sins against her, and (3) to act otherwise would be to be inauthentic.
As you will quickly discern, the situation presents a dilemma for my passenger: How is she going to pull this off? How is she going to sustain her miserable demeanor toward me while presenting a cheerful demeanor toward the teacher? The answer, of course, is that it is an impossible feat. She was stuck.
You want to talk about a feeling of inauthenticity? Nothing divides the self like wearing different personae throughout the day. Moreover, the fact that we are even able to turn off a foul mood instantaneously in front of certain people is an embarrassing admission: It proves that we are not helpless victims of deterministic causes after all, but are able to be kind any time we want to when the circumstances are what we deem to be to our advantage.
God says, “… Put on the new self … be kind …” (Ephesians 4:24, 32). If God says it, it is not hypocritical to do it. It is obedience. [...]
And even though her back was to me, I could detect by something in her body language that she was in the midst of the Houdini act of changing from her mad face to her kindly one.
Schizophrenic living — above emphases mine
“I just can’t help myself!” — People use that as an excuse for their unkind words and explosive bursts of temper. They feel that once the feelings start percolating and the wrongs words begin boiling, they can no longer do anything to stop themselves from doing and saying the wrong things. In most cases, the excuse is an effort to cover up an unwillingness to exercise some self-control. “I just can’t help myself” really means (at least in most cases) “I just don’t want to help myself!” If I’m stepping on your toes right now, you will likely want to challenge my assertion. Should that be the case, perhaps a simple example will convince you.
To get the example in the previous paragraph, you’ll have to read something I wrote ten years ago: The Speech of the Wise.
Item 3 in Andrée’s first paragraph above uses inauthentic where hypocritical would fit equally well. She addresses that by urging obedience. That reminds me of something I wrote several years ago:
Which is more important: holy doing or holy being? Are they really so independent of each other? I’ll try to clarify my point with another question: Which is more important to life on this planet: your body or your spirit?
Well, I’ve been challenged again to be consistently Christ-like in my demeanor.
“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3). (Speaking to Edify the Hearer)