Friday, January 28, 2011

The Cure for NIMBY

Have you ever heard of a support group for “double-minded” people? Why not? Everyone struggles with this “Adam-inherited” infection of half-heartedness. You can see it politically with people who want better airport security but say “don’t touch ‘my’ junk,” or who favor reducing National debt, but not 'on the back' of their ‘entitlement’. But this is nothing new; it’s the old “Not in my backyard” attitude—for which there’s even an acronym: NIMBY. People who don’t want a half-way house or a nuclear power plant in their neighborhood, though they think it's a good idea—just not in their backyard—are NIMBY-ers.

But I think we could also personalize NIMBY as a description of double-mindedness: those who tell others what to do, but can’t seem to do it in their own backyard! And by the way, NIMBY-ers usually have a good-looking “front” yard. And there you have the problem: the difference between your front and back yard (what people see and what you know they don’t see!).

In psychology, we call this cognitive dissonance. And it’s what drives many anxious people into the therapist’s office. The Bible is replete with stories of those who suffered from the front-yard/back-yard infection, including Paul with his familiar "when I want to do good, I don't; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway." It all started in the Garden when Satan deceived Eve, infecting her with “double-mindedness”
(2 Cor. 11:3). Fortunately, ‘Dr. Paul’ prescribes the cure: “Set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right…let heaven fill your thoughts” (Col. 3:1-2, NLT).

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