The Consequences & Despair of Materialism

Heather Havrilesky answered a letter this week in her ASK POLLY column for TheCut that deeply resonated with a lot of people. Let's examine it through the lens of God's word.

The letter writer signs her name as "Haunted" because

I feel like a ghost. I’m a 35-year-old woman, and I have nothing to show for it. My 20s and early 30s have been a twisting crisscross of moves all over the West Coast, a couple of brief stints abroad, multiple jobs in a mediocre role with no real upward track. I was also the poster child for serial monogamy. My most hopeful and longest lasting relationship (three and a half years, whoopee) ended two years ago. We moved to a new town (my fourth new city), created a home together, and then nose-dived into a traumatic breakup that launched me to my fifth and current city and who-knows-what-number job. 

This paragraph is the essence of the whole letter. The LW goes on to expound, but we can stop here.

This person's condition is about Materialism. Havrilesky writes an extremely compassionate response identifying the core of the LW's issue as Shame. This diagnosis is correct to an extent. Shame is the flip side of Pride. Which is rooted in Fear. Which is based on MATERIALISM.

The LW is centering all her worth on what she does not have and the status she has failed to achieve. She is centering all the blame on herself. Counter-intuitively, this is Pride. More on that in a moment.

Advising someone to reframe their perspective (as Havrilesky does, as well as the people commenting) only goes so far. The issue at the root is this: The LW has a complete absence of God in her life.

She will never fill the void she is incorrectly identifying as a lack of things (relationships and status and material possessions) with those things. Even if she had what she says she is lacking, she would still have the void. Just like the people in the comments (and elsewhere) that are telling her the things she thinks she is missing have not filled the voids in the lives of the people who have those things. By now I hope we all know that there is literally nothing to be found in the world that can give us what God can. God designed it that way.

God created each of us with a longing for Him. It is something that we will either have to identify and address on our own (with help from Him) or we have the free will choice to ignore all the signs and continue to administer the wrong solution to the problem.

We must recognize we need a relationship with God, that it's the only way we will have any success as a human on earth. I'm speaking of God's definition of success, which is truly the only one that matters. When we come out of the worldly view and into the perspective that we are only travelers on a brief journey through this world on our way to eternity, we see everything clearly and in a brand new light.

It doesn't necessarily mean our problems disappear, but sometimes certain ones usually do. Other new problems will arise. The main difference though, is in how we perceive and handle them.

Having any kind of problem as a believer of God is a completely different experience than having problems as an unbeliever. Primarily because

This is the short list. And there are millions of testimonies from people that say this is true. Listen to testimonies ( they're all over Youtube) -- that is one of the main ways God says we overcome unbelief. We read reviews of movies and products before we decide and this is no different.

Even greater than that, being a believer guarantees our success in eternity. All we have to do is accept the free gift of salvation that Christ offered us when he died on the cross for the sins of the world. He rose again and is sitting at the right hand of God, making intercession for believers whenever they mess up and break God's laws. 

Unbelievers -- people who haven't availed themselves of the gift of salvation -- are not under this guarantee. They are in the impossible position of needing to atone for themselves, which no person can. Nobody has the ability to acquit themselves in the heavenly court. God is the only judge.

It's simply Pride that makes anyone think otherwise. It's Pride that makes anyone alive not comprehend that God is real and the creator of all we perceive. God even manifests himself within each one of us as our conscience

Only a prideful person would take personal credit for creating his conscience. We come up against our conscience when we want to do wrong! That's our NATURE. You don't have to teach children to lie and steal and do bad things -- we're born that way!  

And only a prideful person would think they don't need to repent (change their minds, turn away from) and seek forgiveness for all their sins. All of us need to repent and seek forgiveness. There is literally no human in the past, present or future BESIDES JESUS who is without sin.

People who deny God is real are the equivalent of fish denying they swim in water. 
The LW is in dark and polluted water. She is most certainly not alone in this condition. In fact the bible doesn't even call the circumstances of unbelief dirty water -- it calls it miry clay. You're stuck and can't move in it. You're dirty. You're sinking.

Being transformed by coming into relationship with Jesus is to leave the miry clay of the world and unbelief and become clean on the INSIDE. Overcome your pride and your silly personal offense! Accept that Jesus is the only way we will ever overcome the conditions and consequences of being a person in the world. 


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