January 18, 2018
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How is it that we get so messed up in our thinking, sometimes? It’s as if we get something stuck in our head, and it is nearly impossible to dislodge. Use accurate scales to measure truth.This would be great news if everything we believed was actually true. But every once in a while … Yul Brynner - The King and I

When I was a boy, world was better spot.
What was so was so, what was not was not.
Now I am a man; world have changed a lot.
Some things nearly so, others nearly not.

There are times I almost think I am not sure of what I absolutely know.
Very often find confusion in conclusion I concluded long ago.
In my head are many facts that, as student, I have studied to procure.
In my head are many facts ... of which I wish I was more certain I was sure!

A Puzzlement – The King and I.

How The Mind Works

We are created in God’s image, having the ability to think, learn and choose. As we grow, our thoughts and choices create a framework of values and beliefs. Through this grid we perceive and decide. So, it is important to know how these “facts” become so.

Observe, Interpret, Conclude, Choose, Act

  1. Observe:  We make observations through our senses, and that is how we become aware of our surroundings.  The things we observe tend to be factual, objective, and value-neutral.  You would think this step in the process would be the most accurate, and it is.  However, inaccuracies happen because of limitations to our senses.  We might not see or hear everything clearly, for instance.  Our mind tends to fill in the gaps of information by guessing.

  2. Interpret:  We immediately begin to interpret our observations by making associations with other pieces of information, categorizing according to what is similar or dissimilar in our experience.  For this reason, our interpretations are personalized and subjective.  Our pattern of interpretation becomes our "programming".

  3. Conclude:  Drawing a conclusion happens when we assign values and motives to those interpretations.  This is the reasoning of our mind.  Conclusions (answers) fall into patterns, becoming more and more entrenched each time they are supported.

  4. Choose:  A judgment is made to determine if the observable event is good or bad depending on how it aligns with our values.  If it is consistent with our "programming" then we tend to accept it and move toward it.  Otherwise, we will set up a defense against it.  This act of will is a choice.  A natural tendency is to convert this choice from active status to automatic, and a habit is created.

  5. Act:  Our response is an outcome of the choice we make based on the conclusions we draw.  It is consistent with the values we hold, especially as they are supported by our experience.  We can best manage our actions by considering our interpretations, conclusions, and choices.
For example: I observe (1) that one of my peers gets special recognition from a supervisor, and I do not. I interpret (2) this to mean that their effort or outcome is more highly valued than mine.  I conclude (3) that the supervisor thinks poorly of all my efforts and my value to the organization.  I choose (4) to resent my peer and my supervisor for this injustice.  I respond (5) by withdrawing from those relationships and planting seeds of distrust among other peers.  I am not surprised that people do not like me.  After all, who would?

As a Man Thinketh

God is Truth - True NorthImmediately we see the problem that comes when our grid is inaccurate.  We are then programmed to make bad choices and actions.  Our mind was created by God to keep us on the path of righteousness, but this sinful world would keep us deceived.  Our interpretations and conclusions build on each other, and soon we are firmly entrenched in the conclusions we've previously made.  That's why it is so important that we be calibrated to "true north" - that is, God's truth.

We need to regularly test our thinking.  Talk with a trusted advisor.  Use this format to solicit their opinion:  I observed ...  and I interpreted it to mean ... so I concluded that ... Does this sound accurate to you?  This can also be a great communication technique when dealing with potential differences of opinion.

Renewing the Mind

A Plumb Line according to the Word of GodIt requires regular discipline to renew the mind, making sure that the things we believe to be true are true according to God. Daily we must walk in the truth, guarding carefully against false suppositions and seeking after what is right. The Psalmist says: Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name (Ps 86:11).  When we put the truth into our experience, and regularly practice filtering the lies or deception, then we become ever stronger in our habits and character. God respects our will.  His love allows us to move toward the logical extension of our choices.

For bad: we drift further from truth and the difference becomes all the more pronounced.  So God is justified in condemning us, and we are without excuse.

For good: it gets easier and easier for our choices and actions to model Christ's behavior.  Our renewed mind leads us to know the will of God, and agree with it.

Get in the habit of right thinking.

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