Sunday, September 16, 2012


{Part 3 of a series on “Understanding People as Fallen Image Bearers.” Part 1 was the subject of Post #49. Part 2 was covered in Post #50}

Let’s look at another human capacity where problems can arise that impact the human personality: Like GOD every image-bearer possesses the ability to think and use his or her mind.

Scripture places a great deal of emphasis on man's ability to think. When Adam fell, he lost the true knowledge that God had originally given him in and, as a result of his transgression, all men "in Adam have turned away from the source of truth and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie." (Romans 1:21).

The very first sin was aimed at the MIND. In Eden, Adam and Eve knew where life was to be found, but they chose to listen to Satan's lie which, in effect, was this: "You can be a more fulfilled person by acting independently of God." This is the LIE that stains all lies. Adam and Eve abandoned the premise for clear thinking and, ever since that moment, the mind of all humanity has been plunged into moral darkness. 

An examination of several Biblical passages shows:
  • Sin has interfered with clear thinking (Ephesians 4:17-18)
  • Our thoughts play an important part in human functioning (Proverbs 23:7)
  • We must fill our minds with the truth of the Word of God in order to renew the knowledge lost in the Fall (Romans 12: 1-2)


A child is a student of human nature from the moment he arrives in this world. Initially, a child does not have the capacity to understand thought processes. Due to this, the first thing that develops in the child is a keen power of observation. At this stage, images are formed. These are mental pictures of what is going on in his or her world. Then come words that clothe the images and help to solidify them. Later come beliefs or set ideas about life - assumptions regarding how to experience happiness or to avoid unhappiness.

Interaction with others however, can be painful. Hurt people tend to hurt people. The longer the delay a child experiences in getting his or her needs met, the stronger will be the belief that life depends on trusting one’s own resources. The fall has already firmly planted in the mind of every human being the idea that life can be found in self-determination and the unfolding of life's events tends to reinforce this idea.

It is important to remember that great pain exists in the personality when the crucial needs in the personal circle (security, significance, and self-worth) go unmet. It has been said that the moment a person realizes that the people in his world are unable to quench the deep ache and longing in his heart, he experiences the deepest pain known to the human soul.


Proverbs 22:15 tells us: Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child…”. Foolish thinking is the sort of thinking which leads a person to depend on something other than God for the meeting of our basic needs.

There are three main contributory causes to 'foolish' thinking;
  1. The carnal nature.
  2. Observation of others.
  3. The hurts and traumas of life.
This additional information enables us to build a bigger and clearer picture of why problems develop. The human mind, stained by the LIE that was introduced in the Garden of Eden, causes a person to foolishly believe that he can go about the task of meeting the deep thirsts and deep longings within his spirit through his own efforts apart from God. These wrong beliefs, although unnoticed or unconscious, nevertheless play a major part in causing and maintaining of personal problems.

A simple illustration for understanding the influence of thinking on the rest of the personality know as the ABC Model is as follows:

A = The Activating Or Wounding Event
B = The Evaluation Or Interpretation Of The Event (self-talk)
C = The Resulting Emotion

A is not the cause of C. It is B that produces C.

Part of pastoral care and counseling is to bring truth to bear in order that the one receiving help is renewed by it. The level to which our own thinking has been renewed and transformed is crucial.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.            
 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV


Though largely unnoticed, we talk continually to ourselves in sentences and from our inner conversation come our feelings, our reactions and, to some extent, our behavior.


Some of our thoughts have a way of repeating themselves over and over again. They drone on just beneath the level of consciousness and without our realizing it influence our lives greatly.


Foolish thinking is all thinking that is inconsistent with God's Word and is based on wrong basic assumptions. These foolish thoughts need to be recognized for what they are.


Our belief system is a powerful part of the personality. A skilled pastoral care giver or counselor recognizes this and knows how to make it work to advantage by filling the counselee’s mind with truth to replace foolish thinking.


God's Word is His expressed wisdom. Time must be spent regularly reading, studying, and listening to His Word, as the tendency of the rational mind is to turn again to foolishness.


1.     I should help everyone who needs it.
2.     I am inferior.
3.     God doesn't love me.
4.     I am too bad to be loved.
5.     It is terrible when things go wrong.
6.     Self-discipline is hard to achieve.
7.     Strong people don't ask for help.
8.     Anxiety is dangerous.
9.     My childhood will always affect me.
10.  I need to be sure in order to decide issues.
11.  I must look after number one.
12.  There is a perfect solution for everything.
13.  Making a mistake is terrible.
14.  It is better not to tell people my problems.
15.  People will let me down.
16.  Knowing “why" is essential to my peace of mind.
17.  I should never upset anyone.
18.  If I am criticized, I must be a bad person.
19.  Other people are a threat to me.
20.  I deserve to be punished for my mistakes.
21.  I am wrong if a person is hurt by my words and actions.
22.  I will get nothing out of giving pleasure to others.
23.  Crying out loud is a sign of weakness and immaturity.
24.  If people cared for me, they would know what I want.
25.  Emotions will only interfere with my ability to succeed.
26.  People are not to be trusted.
27.  There are ways in which I am defective as a person.
28.  It is better to keep my thoughts to myself.
29.  People should trust me.
30.  People must love me if I am to feel good.
31.  People should be condemned when they do wrong.
32.  I must do everything "perfectly" or I will not feel good.
33.  People ought to follow the advice I give.
34.  Possible is the same as probable.
35.  I ought to do better ... I ought to do better.
36.  I can't change what I think.
37.  Christians must never get upset.
38.  I must never show weakness.
39.  What's the use? Giving up is the best policy.
40.  I must never tell people how I feel; they might dislike me.
41.  The more I please people, the more they will like me.
42.  It is terrible if people don't like me.
43.  I am unattractive.
44.  I have no talents.
45.  I will never be any good.
46.  I must get what I want in order to be happy.
47.  I can't stand it if people don't like me.
48.  I am stupid.
49.  I can't do anything right.
50.  There I go again.

{Please listen to God over the following questions}
  1. Am I conscious of things I may be saying to myself in response to things that happen in my life?  If so, what are they?
  2. What do my dominant thoughts or beliefs about myself, life, and/or God seem to be?
  3. What was my biggest hurt or traumatic life experience?
  4. What do I say to myself today as a result of this traumatic event or hurt?

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