September 26, 2012

Are You Disqualifying Yourself?

What you believe about yourself controls what you do in life.  What you believe about yourself often influences your spiritual life with God and shapes your world view.  World view is usually defined by categories such as Naturalism, Pantheism, Spiritism, Postmodernism, Theism.  People like to get philosophical, intellectual, political, cultural....in discussing the topic of world view.  I like to keep it simple and frame it as a person's ideas and beliefs about life, the world and God.  As Christian believers we should embrace many absolute moral and spiritual values as outlined in the Bible, however our personal experiences both positive and negative create the lens by which we view ourselves and our place in the world.

How we define ourselves also determines what we allow ourselves to do in the Kingdom of God.  People who are trapped in a dysfunctional lifestyle seldom contribute to others.  They are often preoccupied with self-descriminating tapes running in their mind telling them that they are too damaged to interact with others. They create belief systems and behaviors that are anchored in helplessness. People who believe they are worthless, helpless and broken beyond repair often become introspective and isolated.  Isolation leads people into deeper levels of dysfunction.

I recommend that broken, hurting people intentionally pursue inner healing and the emotional, spiritual work required to become whole.  I also recommend that they connect and remain connected to a healthy spiritual community and interact with healthy people during their healing journey.  A mature spiritual community that understands the transformation process is a vital component for people who don't know the truth about themselves.

Learned helplessness is related to negative messages that children have heard and believed that influence their self worth.  It creates a sense of helplessness that restricts a child's ability to function at their full potential.    The behavior of these children reflect the labels that have been spoken over them.  Age and time do not remove the stain of labels.  God's love and truth removes everything that is false.
Many adults enter our spiritual communities still dragging the effects of their historical labels.  They disqualify themselves from engaging in community life because their identity is entangled with their labels.

The Apostle Paul says that part of our community life should include encouraging people that are timid, helping those that are weak, and being patient with them (1 Thessalonians 5:14).  He also encourages us to love each other (4:10).  As we grow in the virtue of love for those that are weak we can help them understand that through Jesus they are labeled with truth (John 14:6).  We can help them discover their place in the Kingdom of God and their value to others.  Godly communities should release hopeless people from the darkness of historical labels into the light of belonging to Jesus, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9).



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