Belief Series: (Part 10) – Characteristics of Heart Belief
Differentiation Between Heart Belief and Assumptions and Conclusions
Heart belief has distinct characteristics. It is essential that the both the Mentoring Facilitator and the Mentee learn these characteristics so they may be able to identify these beliefs when they are come upon. It is also easy to confuse a heart belief with assumptions and conclusions if the characteristics of a heart belief are not understood.
- Heart belief is the seat of our emotions. It is the source of all we feel, both positive and negative. We feel whatever we believe in our hearts. An assumption or conclusion will not produce any emotion even though they are often assumed to be the reason for what one feels.
- Heart belief is how we understand who we are (self-identity) and how we understand God to be (state of being). When life happens, we interpret it through either or both of these types of these beliefs. An assumption or conclusion is our explanation for why we believe what happened occurred. For example, “My dad left us because we could not make him happy.” Whereas, a heart belief might be, because my dad left us, “I am all alone,” (state of being) or “I am worthless” (self-identity).
- Most heart belief appears to have been established prior to the onset of adolescence. Childhood cognitive development studies appear to uphold this position. During these primary years, certain beliefs are put in place that become the foundation for the understanding of who we are and how we are to understand our environment. We learn that we are: lovable, wanted, and included; we have worth; we are “wonderfully made;” or the opposite. We learn faith, trust, security, safety, love, belonging, or just the opposite. Though there is continual cognitive development going on throughout life, it seems that most of the foundation stones are put in place before the teenage years. Assumptions and conclusions can be established anytime throughout our life time. “I feel terrible after what my boss said. Therefore, I think that he hates me!”
- Heart belief will always override intellectual belief. It is possible that those with great inner fortitude to push past their lie-based emotions and just do the “right thing”, but not without much struggle. This behavior may even be rewarded by those who are onlookers, but this behavior is not spiritual in and of itself, but it is better than succumbing to sin. How much better to be free of the lies that are causing the struggle and be able to do the right thing effortlessly through the fruit of the Spirit. Good works that pleases God are those that He produces in us (His fruit) and not what we perform ourselves.
- All lie-based heart belief is false, as opposed to an assumption or conclusion that may actually be the truth. The belief, “I am unlovable,” is always a lie, whereas, the assumption/conclusion, “My dad hated me!” may in fact be the truth.
- Most importantly, heart belief (both lie-based and truth-based) is the essence of our faith. It is what we believe experientially with our heart. Faith goes far beyond believing the truth; it is knowing that the truth is the truth. It is “the ASSURANCE of things hoped for and the CONVICTION of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
- If was in fact the truth that we were worthless then there would be no reason to ever feel any sympathy for us, However, an assumption and conclusion elicits sympathy. For example, you might feel sorry for me when I tell you how poorly I was treated and how no one loved me. Whereas, if it were indeed the truth that I am a worthless piece of trash, there is nothing about me for which you should feel sympathy.
Lie-based heart belief is believed with the heart and motivates us to many actions that are detrimental to the holy life God desires for us. The lies we believe often lead to sin, cripple our walk, blind our sight, and stifle the fruit of the Holy Spirit that flows naturally when we know the truth, “… to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God…” (Eph. 3:19). Much of what is often assumed to be “fruit” and good works is actually a vain attempt to compensate for the lie-based heart beliefs we harbor. If my good deeds are an attempt to get people to love and accept me, notice me, or affirm me, then what I am doing is not spiritual and is actually a sinful attempt to compensate for my lie-based belief.
Examples of Heart Belief in the Context of Experiential Belief and Assumptions and Conclusions
- “My father was always unhappy with me and hit me (Experiential Belief/content of memory) because he did not want me around (assumption and conclusion), which means (interpretation) there is something wrong with me (lie-based self-identity belief).”
- “He made me touch him and do bad things with him (Experiential Belief/content of memory). Because I didn’t tell him to stop (assumption and conclusion), which means (interpretation) “I am dirty and shameful (lie-based state-of-being belief).”
- “She locked me in the closet all day long and it was very hard to breathe (Experiential Belief/content of memory) because she thought I was evil (assumption and conclusion), which means (interpretation) “I am trapped and am going to die (lie-based state-of-being belief).”
- “He kept hitting her and I could not make him stop (Experiential Belief/content of memory) because he hated all of us (assumption and conclusion), which means “I am powerless and helpless (lie-based state-of-being belief).”
- My mother never cared for me and left me at my grandmothers house for weeks at a time (Experiential Belief/memory content) I was a bother to her and always got in her way (assumption and conclusion) therefore, “I have no real value. I am worthless.” (lie-based Self-identity belief.)