The masks have endangered a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human. We can’t behold each other’s uniqueness. We have become colder, less interactive, and distant. Humans were made for fellowship and intimacy. We weren’t made to be muzzled for extended periods of time. We lose the ability to see the smiles and participate together with them. We lose the ability to see the sadness and enter into comfort with it. We have been trained to treat everyone we cross paths with as sickness and disease.
“Stay away!” “Come no closer!” “Do not even breathe in my vicinity!” “Children, walk away around that family! They may be sick!”
We are told that this is all an effort to “love our neighbors.” They even employ the emotion driven tactic of, “What would Jesus do?” That is actually a good question. What would He do?
He wouldn’t lie and pretend He was sick. And He wouldn’t encourage others to do so. He wouldn’t lie and pretend that everyone was sick. And He wouldn’t encourage others to do so.
He wouldn’t hate His neighbors by submitting to tyranny that robs His neighbors of their liberty. He wouldn’t submit to any decrees that destroyed the purpose and order for which He created mankind. He wouldn’t hate his neighbors by lying about the government’s “right” to destroy businesses, property, family savings, and livelihoods over a sickness with an over 99% survival rate.
Jesus, the Creator of humanity, wouldn’t support any decrees that distort the image of God, ruin human relationships, destroy our neighbors lives, and cause incomprehensible damage to our God-ordained face-to-face interaction.
Stop lying about Jesus. Stop tolerating arguments that do. Stop submitting to iniquitous decrees that hate our neighbors. Human beings are not beasts. We weren’t created to be muzzled.
First a little background. I came to faith seventeen and a half years ago. Old enough to be a spiritual grown up, young enough to still count half years. I was a husband and a father and I knew that I was ill equipped to fulfill my duties in either role in the way that my newfound savior would expect. I had grown up in the church and understood a few basics, but that was about it. So I threw myself into the deep end and sought to learn about God as quickly as possible. That is where this blog originally came from. A Bible reading project leading into a desire to make up for decades of lost time as I viewed it.
A Christian man (I forget his name) found out that I was new to the faith and challenged me to believe and be baptized. Then he asked me what being baptized means and I said that it was a water dunking. He responded with the first Greek word I’d ever heard. Baptizo. He told me that to be saved, you must repent/believe and then be engulfed and overwhelmed by the gospel. Halfhearted Christianity was not salvific and I needed to mature and grow, which just so happens to be exactly what I was looking for.
Rather than invite me into a discipling relationship, he told me to purchase “Desiring God” by John Piper and I read that book chapter by chapter alongside another blogger whose name you would recognize. I was being challenged with ideas that had never occurred to me before and he was my lifeline as I questioned these concepts and heard his take on them.
That was a worldview altering Book. I learned that Christianity is not rules to follow and a savior to resolve my failures. I learned that it is a lifelong battle to seek the greatest joy available, and that joy is found only in God. I now had a foundation to build upon!
Over the next few years, I attended several pastor’s conferences. seeing men preach, men whose books and broadcasts I had been soaking up. Mark Dever, Russell Moore, Albert Mohler, David Platt, Tim Keller and pretty much anyone associated with The Gospel Coalition. My personal favorites were John Piper, John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul. I was a bit bothered by the elevated platform these pastors had in relation to the many pastors who paid for tickets to these events, but the delivery and the richness of content they provided me was invaluable.
Time went on and I grew in the knowledge of my faith by leaps and bounds. Before I knew it, controversies arose among the Christian blogs. My skills as a believer in sola scriptura were put to the test. It was helpful that I came to faith while reading my Bible in its entirety and it was essential in these times that my memory for various passages would make recollections quickly and accurately. I credit the Holy Spirit.
Many topics came and went with various bloggers sharing their stance, and supporting it with biblical references and concepts. We debated the drinking of alcohol, the continuation of spiritual sign gifts, whether children killed in abortion were taken directly to Heaven, and much more. I remain shocked that we never debated how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. And through all of these debates, my ability to support my stance by the Bible was exercised and strengthened.
And that exegetical strength was put to the test by the Emergent Church. Well, not really. I had enough of a foundation by then that the postmodern Emergent authors rang hollow to me. Sure, some of their complaints were valid, but at the same time their solutions were just vacuous and lacking in any reliable biblical sense whatsoever. If any value was found in their messages, it was that the churches ought to pursue a grace filled authenticity often found in simplicity over complexity. Virtually everything else they shared was rooted in anti-Christian paganism that they would attribute to their post-Christian missional way of thinking. Thankfully, very few of their concepts are overtly found in churches today. With a few notable exceptions.
They advanced notions of social-justice in their conversations, for one. That doesn’t sound so bad to us now, but whenever you hyphenate a concept that is owned by God alone, you begin to undermine His authority in that realm. God defines justice in His law passed down through Moses, and the social-justice of the Emergent Church contradicted that law. Just as the various hyphenated justice statements of the Woke today contradict the Law of God, and thus are not justice at all, but cheap imitations of it. Before you redefine something, first you must reject its original definition.
The various celebrity pastors mentioned above rightly rejected the Emergent movement as pagan. God has been very clear in how we are to approach Him and the practices of the Emergent Church were strange fire before the Lord. As time went on, the EC pastors faded away or converted their teaching to something more orthodox. The celebrity pastors, especially John Piper, were quick to come alongside these men and guide them on a path that was true to the Bible.
How’s that for an intro?
Over time, these various pastors started to reveal that they were not who we thought they were. I first came to this realization when I noticed some troubling tweets from Thabiti Anyabwile, a prominent contributor at The Gospel Coalition. He was openly pushing for leftist causes that are contrary to the laws of God. I pushed back with scripture verses. You know, the really obscure ones like “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not murder,”you know, the ones that most leftists don’t like to think about. He didn’t relent so I copied The Gospel Coalition directly and asked them to step in, since he was using their website and their name in defiance of what one would expect from any publication with the word “Gospel” in it.
Crickets. There came no response. And none of the other TGC members or contributors gave any counter to what he was saying. I lost all hope in The Gospel Coalition as a whole when I happened to see this article.
In church yesterday, leading up to the most contentious election I have ever witnessed, with one candidate who spoke at the national Right to Life march and the other one going on record as wanting to expand abortions without limits in the US and abroad, all paid with our tax dollars, the pastor went so far as to tell us to know what the issues are and to vote through a biblical lens. He did bring up the great evils that a leftist would champion, but he did not name any persons or parties to vote for or against. That has been the norm in churches throughout our country. True Christians oppose killing babies, mutilating young children, stealing from your neighbor, and more. One party champions doing things like this and most pastors are too afraid to endorse against it. Why? Because then they could lose their listeners who love darkness rather than light (John 3:19) and worse yet, they could lose their tax exempt status.
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.
Right about now, you’re probably expecting me to tell you to vote straight ticket Republican. I won’t do that. I will remind you of what I said in my last post though. One day you will give an account for every word that you utter, every time you gave or withheld comfort from someone, every time you spent the money that God gave you to manage in ways that are dishonoring to Him. And you will give an account for your positive affirmation of how a candidate has declared he or she will use the authority that you are handing them. And I don’t want to say that I hated my God and my Neighbor by endorsing the destruction of children made in God’s own image.
Maybe you’re cool with that. Thabiti Anyabwile certainly is. And so is The Gospel Coalition. They are more concerned about the coalition than they are in the gospel and don’t let them say otherwise. So very few “celebrity pastors” have remained firm against the onslaught of wokeness, which I haven’t even defined. And honestly I couldn’t fit all there is to say in a single blog post. But wokeness is antithetical to the gospel. It denies that every debt to God was paid by Jesus on behalf of His elect. It denies that true reconciliation can only be found in the gospel. It denies that reconciliation is even attainable. There is only the punishment of your oppressors. No Justice, No Peace? To be woke is to deny the one who defines what justice and peace even are.
Most of the men who I soaked up everything they ever published have turned out like this. They have built their houses upon the sand and I pray for their repentance. I saw glimmers of this in John Piper a few years ago when some racial unrest was happening but the subject changed and he stopped speaking about reparations for sins that he didn’t commit and I thought it was done and over with. Now he has equated the murder of a million babies per year with someone being arrogant. This is the logical progression from the Emergent Church that rejected objectivity. The Emergent Church rejected the notion that the Bible is the final authority in how we ought to live, favoring emotion and the inclusion of heterodox methods of discernment. A breeding ground for wokeness.
I used to suggest John Piper books and recordings to everyone I know. I thought Mark Dever was today’s architect of how a church ought to function. I thought Al Mohler and Russell Moore had the worldview that every Christian ought to share. I thought Kevin DeYoung and David Platt were the next generation of faithful teachers of biblical truth. I thought Tim Keller was a trustworthy deep thinker worthy of being followed. The list goes on.
There are exceptions to be found, but for today I’m once bitten twice shy. If some of the names I’ve shared are concerning to you as well, and you would like some more information, I will suggest you subscribe to AD Robles on YouTube. Also, I am in the middle of an eye opening book called The Woke Supremacy that will give you a much better definition of wokeness as well as the ramifications of it on our society.
They say not to have any living Christian heroes and now I know why that is. My Christian faith is not shaken in the slightest, but I am saddened by what I have seen. And I’ll need to look at the publication date before I offer a copy of Desiring God to anyone I am discipling.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith-just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
P.S. Though their names appear in this post, I believe John MacArthur to remain a faithful minister of the gospel and R.C. Sproul has passed away leaving a legacy of faithfulness to the gospel. I have tertiary theological beliefs that differ from both of them, but I am thankful that God has preserved some who have not bowed the knee to the marxist wokeism that can be seen in our culture and in our churches all to much.
P.P.S God will preserve his church, sometimes by allowing fools to expose themselves. Romans 1 calls this “giving them over.” I pray that I am premature in this thinking.
This video briefly summarizes my objection to pastors and churches claiming that withdrawing from others, wearing masks and living lives of fear is the best way to love your neighbor. Voddie Baucham does not mention masks, but I have heard pastors attach being carried with the unscientific lunacy we see all around us (unless you live in Sweden) to the standard of loving your neighbor.
Loving your neighbor sounds like a great idea, something we really ought to consider. Setting aside your rights for the good of others really feels like the sort of thing that a Christian should be quick to do. It’s all just so… so… FLUFFY! But with just a little discernment and a little study, you can see that there is a very strong statement underneath all of the cocoa with marshmallows cozyness.
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-31 ESV
Loving your neighbor is the same thing as following the second tablet of the Law handed down to Moses. Failing to love your neighbor is not just a bad idea and not just a loss of warm fuzzies. Failing to love your neighbor is sin. Thus, these pastors are placing a sin burden on anyone who differs with them. Theological malpractice.
Anyone who visits an elderly grandparent now is questioning if it is more sinful to visit them or to abandon them to loneliness. Anyone frustrated with the ever changing statements regarding masks to the point where they choose to abstain is now left to question if they are sinning with every breath. Anyone choosing to refuse to live a life of fear is threatened with the burden of sin.
Allow me to present a different way of approaching this.
There is a principal of the weaker brother, originally used with meat that had been sacrificed in idol worship, now used frequently with Christians discussing whether alcohol should be allowed or forbidden. The most common proof text for this is 1 Corinthians 8, but I believe Romans 14 gives a better look at the concept.
Romans 14 begins by telling Christians not to quarrel over opinions. Regarding meat, one person is convinced that it is just meat and can be consumed. The other person is convinced that the meat is tainted with idolatry, and refuses to eat. Both of these people are convinced in their own minds (verse 5) and that is OK. What is not OK is when one of them judges the other for a position that is not sinful, which leads to quarrels, which leads to divisions within the church. The Bible says nothing positive whatsoever about the person causing division, also known as discord, among the gathering of God’s people. It is cited in Proverbs 6:16-19 as an abomination before the Lord.
Divisions in the church aren’t about meat today. Divisions right now are more about whether the building should be open, whether the church should accept visitors, whether the people should pre-register, whether everyone inside should be required to wear a mask. And instead of appealing to the liberty that is ours to decide for ourselves what we ought to do, people are trying to coerce others into doing what they feel is right, in some cases they are misrepresenting Romans 13 in order to do it. That is a separate post, in case you’re wondering, but I will say that Jesus is Lord of the church, not Caesar. The people pushing to bind others in ways that are not authorized by scripture should be avoided and in some cases cast out of the church. Yes, I’m serious.
17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
I have been part of an elder board during a pandemic. I know the stresses that are involved as you try to balance what to do and how to go about it. I understand how different people have different levels of fear of the unknown. I get it.
I also understand that in the Law handed down to Moses, instructions are given about infectious diseases. To summarize, we are instructed to quarantine the symptomatic. They are to remain apart from the rest of society until their symptoms have ceased and they can be verified as no longer being a danger to the population. Then they are able to rejoin society. What are the instructions to the healthy? I can’t seem to find any restrictions placed upon them at all. And before anyone says that they didn’t know about COVID-19 back then, just remember who came up with the Law that was given to Moses in the first place. No virus has caught the God of the Universe off guard.
So if you are a church official pondering how to approach this subject, please consider what I have shared here. Your job is not to place a new sin burden upon others. Your job is to foster a community of grace filled people who can make up their own minds about how to proceed and who will live according to their conscience, all without binding the conscience of everyone around them with their opinions.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Politics is inherently a contest of divide and conquer. Logical discussion is rarely involved, and it hasn’t been a major factor at all during this century. Emotions rule the day and only the news that agrees with a predetermined viewpoint will be recognized. Any other source is declared to be fake news. This has been true for years, but just now we have a word for it. Yes, Buzzfeed has been to news what WWE is to Olympic wrestling from its beginning, but Buzzfeed was never a competitor to CNN. And yes. I’m choosing the low hanging fruit here.
Just imagine the irony when anyone proclaims any source to be fake news! This implies that there is true news, which implies that there is such a thing as objective and universal truth, which our culture rejects outright. With every accusation of fake news, we acknowledge that there is a truth, a binding truth, that every related statement can be compared to. There is a standard, and that standard is not me. That standard is God. And if you try to appeal to the word of God as you plead with someone, they are likely to reject the message. Often because they reject absolute truths. At least that’s what they will tell you if you press them and ask follow up questions.
Make no mistake. A political party is a jealous god that demands your loyalty in all facets of your life. If you identify first and foremost with a party, you will fall in line with all of the planks of that party platform. This will determine what news you accept and it will color your views in every topic. There is only one God who is worthy of such devotion. To give your worship, your hopes, your aspirations to a political party places yourself into a state where your response can only be to repent. Of what? Of idolatry.
From this we may gather that man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols. Man’s mind, full as it is of pride and boldness, dares to imagine a god according to its own capacity; as it sluggishly plods, indeed is overwhelmed with the crassest ignorance, it conceives an unreality and an empty appearance as God. John Calvin, Institutes, 1.11.8
I am not saying that Christians cannot be involved in politics or claim allegiance to a party. I am saying that any worldly loyalties must be secondary to our loyalty to the one true King. After all, the words written above the head of Jesus were “King of the Jews.” To state that Jesus is King is to make a political statement. Even today. To say that the Law of God is superior to the laws of men is a political statement. To long for the fulfillment of a kingdom not of this world is a political longing.
Christians are called to find their primary identity in Christ. If you are a Christian, Christ isn’t something you add to your life. If you are found in Him, Christ IS YOUR LIFE. (Colossians 3) And the way you behave will follow this. The way you vote will follow this. You will begin to love the things God loves and hate the things God hates. Proverbs 6:16-19
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20
This video is not here by accident. I did set it to start playing at a point that will make sense if you give it a listen.
I’m not sure what things will look like on the other side of this, but I am confident that after this season of hidden things being exposed, we will be stronger for it. People who you thought you could trust to the end have been revealed to be two dimensional friends. People who you disagreed with for tertiary reasons have been shown to be trustworthy.
We will get through this though. Not without realignments. Not without painful separations. But we will get through this. Stronger than before. The hysteria will end far later than it should, but it will end. You will rely on people you didn’t know beforehand and you will trust old friends as much as you trust a fart after a trip to Taco Bell.
From a religious standpoint, this era has been painful to say the least. I had my suspicions about certain “Big Eva” pastors before COVID and the Intersectionality riots, but they have certainly been confirmed in these months. Not only have they been confirmed, but names who I held in high regard once are now meaningless to me. Albert Mohler, Tim Keller, Jason Meyer, Andy Stanley, Mark Dever, pretty much anyone in The Gospel Coalition (which is more interested in the coalition than in the gospel) have been revealed to be gospel redefiners, which is to say that they are gospel deniers.
I came to faith in my 30’s and I wanted to make up for lost time. I read my Bible and poured myself into learning everything I could. I looked for faithful pastors who would saturate me with a view of the gospel that was compelling. I read books, listened to sermons, compared my faithlessness from before with the expectations that God has for those whose hearts of stone are replaced by hearts of flesh. I wanted nothing greater than to be faithful to this high calling.
As time has gone on, most of these “celebrity pastors” have shown themselves to be unworthy of following. The most faithful pastors have generally been those without large followings and with nothing to lose. There are exceptions, of course, but I don’t intend to proclaim anyone famous as a faithful teacher until they have been dead long enough for any secrets to come forth.
Meanwhile, we are in a situation where people in the spotlight and people in the local arena are shown for who they are, and many of them are not who we once thought they were. Perhaps this is painful because we didn’t want to be wrong about them. Perhaps we had thought the best of them and found out later that the best just wasn’t the case.
Any way you look at it, people are showing you who they really are. The masks are coming off, no pun intended. You will be surprised. You will be disappointed. If you are wise, you will learn not to place your trust in the flesh of this world, but rather in the eternal faithfulness of the only one worth worshiping. Your only hope is not found in man, but in God. He has defined the terms and He has demonstrated His justice already.
Accept His definitions and His finished work. To quote Heisenberg of Breaking Bad fame, “No Half Measures.” Jesus does not add to your works. He is your works. Adding to them is actually a subtraction. Trusting in your deeds, however many or few, is folly.
Hey y’all. I was on a boat Saturday after being thrown from the tube being pulled behind it when I saw some footage of the wipeout on an iPhone. I said that I really wanted that footage and the girl said that it would be easy if I had an iPhone because she could beam it to me, but she had no service at the lake.
I thought about mentioning that this was a feature of an Android phone from years past and that it had (to my knowledge) been retired as it wasn’t widely used, but I stopped short and thought that comparing features and timelines really isn’t the point in the Android v iPhone debate. What really matters is overall experience and compatibility with the technology of your friends.
I’ve been using Android phones from the start, with my only non Nexus/Pixel phone being the Droid Incredible, and that’s only because the OG Nexus device wasn’t available on Verizon. I’m a homer who buys paid apps frequently. My history is tied to my Android account. I love buying a new phone and adding the wi-fi and watching everything just work.
But has Android jumped the shark?
Remember when Google+ came out? Sure they made a few mistakes, first of all with the name of the service. Google is a polarizing company, and naming a social media service after the parent just advertises bad vibes to anyone who distrusts Google to begin with. Then there’s the policy of requiring real names and making that spill over to YouTube as well. Despite a few miscues, they were innovating like crazy at that time. In the Google+ features, the various Google products, and also in Android. Everywhere you looked, Google was making things awesome! When is the last time a Google innovation made you do a double take and just know that this was a game changer?
What happened to Google? What happened to Android? Where did the excitement go? Have we reached a point where a few apps like iMessage, Garageband and FaceTime will eventually win the market for Apple? Is Google/Android unable to put together a compelling feature any longer? My next phone will likely be a Pixel, more because I don’t like change than because it’s a better experience than a comparatively priced iPhone 8. But will I end up regretting not getting a phone that can get away with adding retired 8 year old technology?
I ask in another way. Has Google lost it’s competitive and/or innovative spirit?
My fascination with CHAZ is a lot like my previous fascination with Tiger King. Both are train wrecks filled with terrible people doing terrible things to other terrible people, terribly. CHAZ is a six block area in Seattle and the name means “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.” According to the signage on the barriers surrounding the zone, they are no longer a part of the United States of America, hence the term “Autonomous.”
I’m not sure what is autonomous about begging others for food because you didn’t think that far ahead. They do have some huge demands against the rest of society, which is odd seeing that they are no longer a part of our country, according to their own statements. More realistic demands they have made include cigarettes, clothing, and tents. Oh, and sunglasses! They have defined their border with a wall. They patrol that border with scary looking guns. They have no police, but they do have “warlords” who apparently don’t see eye to eye with each other.
BLM members have started to complain that the Antifa agenda is pushing out their desired utopian societal demands. The… um… peacekeepers are already accused of many extortion charges and Seattle’s 911 has been called to that area at a much greater rate than previously, but the group declares itself autonomous and won’t allow authorities in.
Unless there’s a dumpster on fire in there. And of course, there was.
The community garden is a great metaphor of their worldview. It is way too small. It is only an inch deep. The ground underneath hasn’t been prepared so the roots of their plants won’t take hold. And some of their life saving plants include geraniums. Is that flower even edible?
I’m not sure what I would do if I were in charge of a city with a non-autonomous zone like this. They should be shut down. They should not be allowed to leech community resources if they are to be their own country. They should be assisted with the legal steps to renounce their citizenships if that is truly what they desire. They should be allowed to continue for now, if for no other reason than they highlight the idiocy of their worldview. All people are to be respected. Not all ideas share that biblical protection.
This will end. It will not end well. They do not have a center that can hold. The city of Seattle is just fine with it for now, and for the moment, I’m popping a tub o’ corn. But like everything else in 2020, the situation as well as my reaction to this can turn on a dime.
You’ll have to forgive me for my stance that I still hold. You see, the ever present danger I grew up with was “Mutually Assured Destruction” and we, as a society, refused to cower in fear over the Communist threat.
This generation is more interested in sprinting toward Communism and fear porn over an incorrect computer model and real world statistics that cannot be padded enough to justify our actions.
Go ahead. Tell me I’m unloving. Call me a science denier. Because you will be arguing against top scientists from Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon and other institutions of higher learning. And when I say that our reaction to this will cause more suffering and death than the virus, I am getting my projections from the United Nations.
Loving your neighbor is not the same as telling your neighbor only what they want to hear. Your neighbor is not limited only to the aged and immune compromised. This virus is hardly unprecedented, but our reaction to it is.
Mutually Assured Destruction was my generation’s fear. We were told that the nuclear stockpiles of the USA and USSR were enough to kill all life on the planet 6 times over. We went about our business. A virus that kills far less than 1%, still a tragedy and do not assume I don’t take every death as a tragedy, stops us all in our tracks.
Our economy won the cold war. Our productivity was a huge factor in both world wars. It was largely the economy that decided the Civil War. But rather than allow and expect the young and healthy to continue to live their lives while seeing to the needs of the at risk population, we abandon our greatest strengths and even undermine them.