Consume or Protect? Consume or Protect…Decisions.

Today we continue the discussion of Vol. 30 of JimTalks on the “Workers of Iniquity.”

Question MarkToday’s Question: Why do we want to consume other people instead of the good things God has provided for us. In our minds, our theology, we know sin is sin and sin is bad, but there is something else at work here that is very, very powerful. Very potent.

Jim’s response is that there are two ways of looking at that question.

First from a biological standpoint:

“If you go to the back of your head, on the left side down there toward the back there is a spot that is active and keeps you from eating your babies.”

My (Carol) take on this is that the “consuming software” seems to be the very baseline wiring upon which we are to build. The next layer is the specific neurological directives that hold us back from consuming our babies. Apparently that is the extent of the pre-installed relational wiring—we are tasked with building the rest of our the relational circuitry.

Gak! How awful to be wired to consume, and yet, that is also what gives us accuracy in spotting weakness. How gracious of God to also install a prohibition to not allow that to happen. God lays the foundation but expects us to build upon it.

Second from a maturation or developmental standpoint:

God wants each of us to mature and develop into “the fullness of the stature of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13) He wants you to be all you are designed to be. To accomplish that you must build on those two baseline neurological paths. You do that by learning the gentle protector skills.

Jim gave an example of the difference between consuming and protecting—how that looks on Monday morning—in the real world. In his position of visiting professor he noticed a lovely co-ed—delightful in every way. She admired her professor. It would have been easy to use his position to take advantage of her loneliness.

Jim heard her speak of wanting to improve her relationship with her father and desiring a closer relationship with her, he asked himself what he could do to help improve her relationships.

Taking advantage (consuming) would alienate her from fellow students, add nothing to her relationship with her father and would not result in an ongoing relationship between himself and said co-ed. It would also be sin and put a wedge in his relationship with his Lord.

tender responseJim chose to go in the opposite direction—instead of consuming, he protected. He found a way to improve her relationships so that by the time they were done talking she would feel closer to her father, have more joy and more chances to share joy with others than if he had not been there.

He concluded by saying, “It was sort of interesting…at the end of the trip the young lady said to me, ‘I don’t know how to say this, but it is as though when you came to visit it is sort of like Jesus came to visit me. I don’t know how to describe that.’ I took that as a good sign that she did not feel like she’d been chewed on.”

It is far more challenging, and is an evidence of maturity to see vulnerability, know how to take advantage of it for yourself, but choose to go the next step and protect that vulnerability. The end result of protecting and strengthening a weakness is greater closeness. Consuming someone creates closeness momentarily. Protecting and strengthening a weakness deepens and strengthens a relationship, ensuring closeness for the long term.

To learn more about the “Gentle Protector Skills,” click here. (

Chris continues to work with the community around Peoria dealing with the PTSD that has become apparent in the aftermath of the tornado that tore through near Chris’s home. Their home was not touched but over 1,000 families were devastated. Please pray for these folk as they struggle to get their footing again. This is a time when people who do not know the Lord make that decision.

May your joy be full!

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, 

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                  

This post was developed from a talk by Dr. Jim Wilder for Pastor’s Weekly, Oct. 31, 2013

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