By Don Martin
We shall be using the term “complex” rather loosely in this article. A simple definition of complex is, “The term for a psychological cause, hidden or repressed, having a strong influence on one’s character; an obsession (Webster’s National Dictionary). In our examination of some destructive complexes we shall not use the term altogether in keeping with psychiatry. As Christians, we should enjoy mental hygiene. Physically, people who experience complexes are mentally abnormal and, consequently, suffer mental imbalance. Many of these mental complexes virtually destroy people mentally and physically. This is also true spiritually. The complexes we shall consider can render the child of God fruitless, useless, and miserable.
Introversion is “a concentration on one’s inner life, to the exclusion of other interests.” Beloved, we cannot have a preoccupation with self and fulfill our obligations to God and our fellow-man. Christians are to “bear the infirmities of the weak,” “consider one another to provoke unto love and good works,” and “support the weak” (Rom. 15:1-3; Heb. 10:24; 1 Thess. 5:14). How can we perform the activities enjoined in these passages if we do not associate with others and allow them to associate with us?
Local churches on occasion experience problems because some are suffering from an “introvert complex.” For example, many who holler clique are blinded by this concentration on self-they do not allow or desire other members to associate with them and they resent other members associating one with another. God’s people are to be gregarious. We are to mix and mingle that we might influence one another for good (cf. Acts 2:47; Rom. 15:14; Acts 8:4; Heb. 10:24, 25).
Individuals who possess a “persecution complex” believe nobody likes or appreciates them. They think everybody is out to get them. Every word spoken, every plan contemplated is directed to their hurt, they believe. Because they think in this manner they frequently misjudge the deeds and motives of others (John 7:24). Many, when asked about their failing to attend the local church of which they are a member reply, “The members of that church could care less about me.” Or, “They had rather I didn’t attend; they resent my presence.”
Not infrequently, members who are characterized by this type of thinking are not only destroying themselves spiritually but are also a threat to the unity of God’s people. The paranoid member who does attend feeling everyone is out to get them, often seeks to destroy others. In many cases, you will find a “persecution complex” behind the gossip, lying, and malevolent deeds.
I have personally known capable individuals who wasted their ability and potential because they felt they could not perform the task at hand. They were constantly belittling and castigating themselves. They actually believed that they had no worth and value. The person who suffers from what we call an inferiority complex believes he does not know enough to teach others, he is not good enough to associate with other Christians or he cannot encourage the weak because he feels he is weaker.
This type of thinking involves and results in fear which can cause one to lose one’s soul. The one talent man said, “I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth . . . .” (Matt. 25:25, all emphasis throughout mine, DM). John wrote, “but the fearful . . . shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone . . .” (Rev. 21:8). Beloved, you are not “inferior” to any; you too were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26)!
In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a youth who one day saw his reflection in a pool of water. Upon seeing his reflection he fell in love with it and suffered because it was unattainable. Hence, a Narcissus complex is excessive self love.
Paul in writing of the last days stated, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves . . .” (2 Tim. 3:2). Presently, many aliens are not leaving the world because of self-love; they will not deny self (Lk. 9:23). Confessedly, some members of Christ’s body are so in love with themselves that they are puffed up and living simply to satisfy their own desires (1 Cor. 10:31-33).
Doctors are informing us that anxiety contributes to, everything from tooth decay to cardiovascular disorders. Worry drains us and can kill us physically and spiritually. Yet, we go on worrying over every little thing. Some worry so much that they have developed an “anxiety complex.” Notwithstanding, Jesus taught, “Take therefore no thought (do not worry) for the morrow . . .” (Matt. 6:34). Paul exhorted, “In nothing be anxious: but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6, ASV).
Concerned reader, we must watch and be aware of our thinking and mental status because, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” (Prov. 23:7). Many fail to become Christians and some who are Christians are fruitless and unproductive because of the distructive complexes herein set forth.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 13, pp. 219-220
March 29, 1979