Thought Patterns

Published on Oct 22nd, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Thought Patterns

Thought Patterns

The other day I received some bad news. This news was not about me personally but effected me in a significant way.  My immediate reaction was to feel empathy and love for the person who was struggling.  I heard what they had to say, how they thought it affected our relationship, and I agreed with their assessment of what could or could not be done.  It was a moment of shared pain and support.  After I was done speaking with that person I began to adjust my life in accordance with the plan we had just made.  I contacted some of the people I needed to contact and then I moved on to the next task of the day.  As I completed this next task my mind would occasionally wander back to the previous situation.  What amazed me was that I found myself getting a little angry at how my life was being changed.  That led me to begin to think about how there could have been other solutions that did not affect me in such a negative way.  Then, without much effort, I connected this situation with some other situations in my life and I began to paint a picture in my mind of what a raw deal I was getting from a number of people.  Soon, I was the one who was the victim.  Please understand, these thoughts came freely and without effort.  They attached to each other with such ease that I did not need to work at convincing myself of their validity – anyone could see I was being wronged – it was so obvious!! Now these thoughts were only with me for a few minutes and God allowed me to see them for what they were but I was truly astounded at how quickly they came, how quickly they brought division between me and others, and how much I desired to play the victim.  I found myself drawn to the idea that although I was not the one who received the bad news…I was the one being inconvenienced and robbed.  I am not blaming Satan or his demons for these thoughts.  They came from my flesh.  They come from my sinful nature.  In fact, as I look back over the last several months I had been developing some thought patterns that added to this problem.  The scary part of all of this was that it was so totally convincing.  If God had allowed me to go any further I would have built such a good case for my victimhood that no one would have been able to talk me out of it.

God in his grace rescued me from my few minutes of fleshly thought. He immediately brought to my mind Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…and the God of peace will be with you.”  Immediately after bringing those verses to my head the Spirit filled me with a loose translation that I have made of I Corinthians 13…love thinks the best.  It was then that God once again replaced my selfish thinking with his empathy and compassion.  I thanked him that my first reaction was his reaction and that I did not act fleshly to the person who was really suffering.

We are fleshly people and it is amazing how quickly and easily we can walk in the flesh.  Even now, if I let myself go down that path I can build a case for why I am the victim.  I have asked God to allow me to examine my heart as to why that path is so easy for me to walk down.  He has revealed to me that it is a way to protect my heart from the pain that the bad news brought into my life.  Anger and victim-hood are easier to handle than hurt.  I thank God that he spared me going too far down that fleshly path.  I thank God that he did not allow my sin to separate me from others.  I thank God that he did not allow me to hide my hurt in anger and self pity because he uplifts and strengthens the hurting heart.  You may be totally convinced and you may have a rock solid argument as to why you are getting the raw end of life but I would encourage you to practice Philippians 4 and think about what is true…

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