Saturday, May 24, 2008

How So Many People?

A long time poster on the Low Carb Friends message board wrote a very moving and heartfelt statement regarding her own journey into the disaster of Kimkins, to which another person posted this question:

“How many people did she do this to?”

That is a question that so many have toyed with. It is often coupled with another question: Why would so many people allow her to do this to them? Please hear me out as my statement may not resonate well with some of you, but hopefully by the conclusion of this post I will have clarified myself enough that you will at least consider what I’m saying.

I don't think SHE did that to anyone. I think most of us who are overweight have thoughts of "what if I just ..." on a pretty regular basis.

What SHE DID was she played on those thoughts and encouraged people to act on them. She pretended that she had done just that, that it had netted her fabulous results without negative consequences. She presented information with confidence which gave her credibility. When people would start to act on that thinking and would eventually start to have negative reactions (SNATT, fatigue, heart palpitations, hair loss, etc.) she would either convince them that those things were normal, short lived and without lasting consequences or - and the or is important here - or that they were experiencing those things because they were somehow not doing it “good enough”. Not counting perfectly, too big a finger pinch of lettuce or whatever. In many diet programs you are told to be sure to measure peanut butter, fat-free mayo or salad dressing by using a knife to remove any "extra" that might be mounded up. So, what she said wasn't all that foreign, just was taken to extremes. She also started with portions that are smaller than what our bodies need to thrive. Thanks to a movement in the prepared food industry – restaurants and fast food eating places in particular – to increase our consumption, we have long ago lost sight of what IS a proper portion. We just know that what we eat now is too much.

Enough of those extremes added together and you have problems. Couple that with, of course, advice leading to laxative use/abuse, suggestions to misuse Retin-A, and other devious instructions and you have a virtual Molotov cocktail in your hands.

Evil does that - it takes our human frailties and desires, targets those, massages them until they feel good, then drags us deeper and deeper into dangerous waters, sort of like the whole frog in boiling water thing. In that example you can place a frog in pan full of cool water, slowly bringing the water to the boiling point. The frog will acclimate himself to the increased water temperature, eventually cooking to death in the process, all the while oblivious to the danger he was in. While the frog had the ability to escape danger – he could hop out of the pan – he hadn’t the mind too.

The same can and does happen when it comes to things like marital fidelity, prosperity gospel, violence in television programming, music and video games, etc.

All through Scripture we are compared to sheep. What does that mean for us? How is it relevant to THIS conversation?

Well, sheep are very social creatures. They don’t like being alone. They will go wherever their group goes without question because staying together is quite important to them. An entire herd of sheep have been known to do things like walk into a raging river, because the sheep bringing up the rear would rather be in a dangerous spot with their friends than to stop and risk being alone. In fact, those rear sheep are totally unaware of the fact they are walking into danger at all, because they don’t recognize that those who have gone ahead of them are already beyond saving.

Sheep stray easily. They may become so enticed by scrumptious looking plants at the bottom of a ravine that they will work very hard to get down to it to eat it, then stand there wondering (but not particularly stressing at first) how to get back out because they have no sense of direction. They don’t know how they got there, how to get out or where they should be instead!

Sheep are dumb. They can’t be trained to do anything. Now, as people we CAN be trained, either by God, by others or by ourselves. But we still are really good at making poor choices. We reason our way into messes. We are easily seduced because we believe the three basic lies that were told way back in the Garden: 1. God didn’t really say that. 2. If God did really say that, that’s not what He really meant. 3. If God did say that, and did really mean that then God can’t be trusted – He’s just trying to keep you from something good and enjoyable. (Read Genesis 3:1-7) We learn to believe those lies at a very young age, by the way, and while we may TELL ourselves that we don’t believe them any more, our actions and choices prove otherwise.

All of this to say that it is our basic human nature that makes us susceptible to people like Heidi Diaz. It is my opinion that she is evil personified, driven by her own lust for power and her own lack of self esteem, lacking in remorse or conscious. Thankfully she is not the norm in our society. Sadly, and dangerous to the rest of us, she draws to herself others of like mind, who may not be as skilled as she is, but who find the illusion of power they get from being her cohort intoxicating. What they don’t realize is that they are merely tools to her, and quite disposable when they no longer serve her purpose. Perhaps they become her sacrificial lambs in her quest to save herself. She will have them undertake the tasks to risky for her to take, making them the targets of outrage and perhaps liability.

How do we defend ourselves against people like Heidi Diaz? I don’t know that we can 100%. By staying solidly within the reach of our Shepherd is the best protection I know of. Even at that, though, evil can and does entice us, by fooling us into believing that our Shepherd is the one who led us there. Learning His voice is vital. I firmly believe that is one reason we have been given written revelation – The Bible- so that we can test things against an unchanging voice that isn’t as easily manipulated as our inner voice.

The only other thing we can do is learn our lessons as best we can, do our best to stop each such person as we become aware of them, and warn others as much as they are willing to listen.

Until next time ….