With the last reflections, we have entered a wide area which is intended to help us to live our Christian faith more liberated. Various forms of non-freedom prevent God’s love from penetrating us completely and, despite the wonderful faith that has been given to us, threaten to leave us in some inner prisons; at least we cannot taste all the freedom that God wants to give us. “Only the Son sets you free” is what Jesus let us understand (cf. Jn 8,36).
Jesus wants to redeem us from our sins, heal the effects of sin, and also overcome the inner barriers that impair the light of God. The lack of freedom cramps us up inwardly, which in the worst case can actually lead to a kind of solidification.
Today we are looking at another non-freedom, which is considerably widespread and binds our souls. These are the so called inferiority complexes, or feelings of inferiority.
Such feelings of inferiority have nothing to do with humility. They come from a basic attitude related to one’s own self. You want to be someone, to represent something and do not realize that you do not correspond to the desired image of one’s own person. But this is not admitted in the right way and to seek help from God accordingly, but one is inwardly offended and ashamed. One is weakened in the encounter with human beings; in a way, you see yourself inferior to them and it can even easily lead to idealizing others.
Let’s take an example:
“Someone” grew up in the countryside and didn’t have the opportunity to get a good education because the parents were poor. Others, on the other hand, had more favorable living conditions and correspondingly better education. The former now always suffers from his lack of education, he feels inferior to other people. In addition, he lives in a society that values education and gives special social recognition to educated people. In all encounters with people who have a higher education, this “Someone” is cramped. He can hardly communicate normally and admires the other to the same extent as he devalues himself internally. He raises the other, idealizes him and somehow dreams of wanting to be like him. The other always has like the better condition and one feels to be under him.
This pattern of behaviour can be applied to many other areas, such as wealth, beauty, family, sports, nations …
The one who is trapped in feelings of inferiority also has an inner fence around him. He wants to hide his “shame”. He has to do a lot of things to make an impression on other people. He cannot be really himself and, because of his inner problem, he cannot respond freely and objectively to many situations, especially in the encounter with educated people. If he does not consciously deal with this inner lack of freedom, then it may even be that he treats other people to whom he feels superior with particular condescending treatment.
Often these are circumstances we did not choose, which cause such feelings of inferiority – as it is with our “Someone”.
But it may also be that we have been left with something to blame, which is a disgrace to us. This can also captivate us internally and make us extremely unfree, because we fear that the “disgrace” will come to light and that we will therefore no longer respond freely to given situations.
In all cases, it is the same way that can lead us out of the inner prison and into freedom. We must learn to understand our value from God and also internalize it. We are beloved children of God. God does not love us because we are great before the world or because we have special talents. God loves us because we are His children, just as we love a newborn in the family given by God.
This simple knowledge is very essential, and it is crucial that it is internalized and that it shapes our way of life, because it frees us from the attitude always to be special in the eyes of other people, enslaving us.
Even though we have fallen into guilt and brought shame upon ourselves, we must not live in an internal prison. If God has forgiven us – which He always does when we come to Him sincerely – then we have won the last freedom, even if people may despise us. We must then also be able to bear that our shame becomes visible and understand this as purification or another way from God. No one can capture us if we open our last depth to God.
So there are ways in which we can overcome deep inferiority complexes and gain a freedom that God gives us in dealing with other people and ourselves.