Birth of a False Belief
In my last blog I mentioned how Jesus must have enjoyed turning people’s belief systems on their heads. Just take a look at the Sermon on the Mount. Love your enemies? If you call a brother stupid, it’s equal to murder? Blessed are the poor in spirit? His words often leave me scratching my head in wonder and challenge the false beliefs I hold.
Some of these false beliefs I’ve carried have revolved around my self-worth—“I’m a failure, I’m worthless and don’t deserve good things, I’m a mistake.” Other false beliefs have been entangled with my gender and sexuality—“My entire identity is based on my sexuality, I’m a boy and not a man, should I have been a girl?” They’ve even infiltrated by relationship with God—“God won’t take care of me, God will get tired of my sin and abandon me, I’m unlovable.”
Where did these false beliefs originate? Some came from the haunting messages of shame, “You’re not enough, Scott. Not enough as a man, as a Christian, or in your ministry career.” Some came in past wounds of abuse and the negative things people spoke into my life. I’ve also incurred a lot of loss due to my false beliefs. I was too timid to explore my gifts and talents and afraid of trying new things. Thank God (literally) that He has healed numerous false beliefs throughout the years and taken away their destructive power. But what has that looked like?
Death of a False Belief: What Helps?
Putting Your Beliefs on Trial
A friend recently spoke at our Thursday Night Group on the topic of shame. Shaming messages are usually connected to false beliefs. Her recommendation was to face the false belief by putting it “on trial” and asking some of the following questions. “Is this belief true?” “What is the evidence for this belief?” What is the evidence against this belief?” “Is this belief helping or hurting me?” We’ll explore some other questions later.
Having a Sober Estimate of Yourself and Others
Romans 12:3 (NIV) says “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” I know personally how easy it is to err on the extremes when it comes to how I view myself. Either being grandiose and thinking I’m superior or self-hating and feeling completely worthless. Is it possible as scripture says to have a “sober judgement”—an affirming moderate view of oneself and others? It’s a constant prayer.
Other Voices in the Process/Reality Checks
One thing which helped incredibly in my early days at the ministry, was meeting with a couple of the WGA staff. My beliefs about myself, men, women, God, and the world were a tangled mess of truth and false assumptions. In those weekly meetings, the staff affirmed me in many ways but also challenged me often. Did I say challenge? I meant kick my butt—but in Christian love of course. It was healing to have a fresh perspective and reality checks from wise people when needed.
Another dynamic I noticed in those early counseling meetings was trying to differentiate between wounds which really happened and what was a wrong perception on my part. Once again, it helped having an outside opinion. When I did realize an actual wound caused by what someone did or said, forgiveness was usually a next step. Now I’m not minimizing this process at all and especially for someone who experienced painful trauma or abuse. There are many facets to forgiveness, like setting boundaries or having healthy confronting conversations. Patience is always helpful also, as it doesn’t happen overnight.
Holy Spirit Truth
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13 (NIV) God’s part in the healing of false beliefs is obviously the most important piece of all. The Holy Spirit has been incrementally leading me into more and more truth since He came into my life. I gratefully see Him, myself, and others clearer. And after all, Jesus says He is the way, truth, and life. Thank You, Lord.
More Questions to Explore
A false belief I have is…?
A root of this false belief is…? (Attached to a specific person, situation or memory)
Something I have lost because of this false belief is…?
When triggered by this false belief, I usually do…?
This false belief is being healed by…?
Although he holds a degree in graphic arts, he attributes his ministry qualifications to the “school of hard knocks.” God’s abundant grace continues to be the instrument of growth in his life, and he desires to be firmly grounded in the forgiveness and freedom of relationship with Jesus Christ.
Scott attends a Presbyterian Church.
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