This sounds good doesn’t it? If I’m having a hard time I just need to say good things to myself.
- When I’m feeling weak I just say “You are strong”
- When I’m trying to do something that I cannot do I just tell myself “You can do this.”
First off, allow me to affirm the good intentions of people who circulate such things on the internet. I know that they were just trying to do something nice.
Is This True?
We Believe What We Tell Ourselves
Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.
So we could say
We accept as true what we tell ourselves
This poster suggests that I should tell myself a list of positive things. I suppose that on the surface that is not particularly harmful is it? Is it a bad thing to accept as true these many nice things?
Take for example “You can do this.” A noble sentiment if ever there was one. And a particularly helpful sentiment when you are trying to encourage someone (even yourself) to attempt something that they can indeed do. I suppose it all depends on what “this” is.
If for me, “this” is dunking a basketball on a regulation height hoop without the aid of a ladder or trampoline. I have tried at various times and I can affirm that I cannot touch the rim much less dunk the basketball.
According to this poster, if I tell myself “You can do this” (in spite of the fact that all evidence seems to indicate that I cannot do it) then if I say it enough and want to believe it to be true then I will eventually come to accept as true the idea that I can dunk a basketball. So what? I will be another 50 year old guy who thinks he can dunk when clearly he cannot. I’ve lied to myself enough so that I’ve come to believe it.
I might head down to the park, find a bunch of guys playing basketball and even tell them that I can dunk. As their jaws drop in disbelief I can take the ball in hand and attempt a dunk only to find that indeed, in spite of my belief inspired by my words I in fact cannot dunk. My words and my belief do not create the ability to dunk. So what? Does it hurt if I want to believe in a fantasy?
To thine own self be true – Polonius (Act 1 Scene 3 – Hamlet)
Recently somebody comes up to me and says “How are you doing?” and at that moment I am in severe pain. How shall I respond?
- Truth – “Honestly, I’m having a lot of pain right now”
- Lie – “I’m fine” (which really means I don’t believe you really want to know how I’m doing)
- Lie – “I’m healed and whole – I feel no pain at all”
The fact is, if I want to answer honestly I’m going to speak the truth. However I believe that Doe (the author of this poster) would caution me that if I speak the actual facts of my situation then I will in fact strengthen my belief in my sickness. Doe would probably also say that because I affirm this negative belief, I am in fact attracting pain and sickness to my life.
So… instead of telling the truth of what is, I need to tell myself a lie of what I want to be.
In her book Happiness in Your Life – Book 1 – Karma. Doe advises people in difficult circumstances to “Get out of that angry victim state of mind as soon as possible. Know that Karma does always come through.”
Karma comes through? Is this something that I should be dabbling in as a Christian? Seems harmless on the surface doesn’t it?
Who doesn’t want to be positive? After all, we all know that negative self-talk makes you feel bad and you want to feel good. Maybe Karma is just another word for God?
Karma in Hinduism & Buddhism: The total effect of a person’s actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person’s existence, regarded as determining the person’s destiny.
Karma is a belief rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism which argues that we are accountable (to the universe?) for our actions and that there will be retribution in future phases of existence. So if I am born into the lowest caste of untouchables in India then I am likely being punished because of my wicked actions in a past life. If you have compassion on me you are actually working against Karma by helping me.
Should I “Accept as True” whatever I say to myself?
If my saying something enough times to make me believe it can make that thing come true then I as a human being have the power to make whatever I speak become true for me. The New Age thinkers (including Doe) call this the law of attraction.
The law of attraction is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from pure energy, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. One example used by a proponent of the law of attraction is that if a person opened an envelope expecting to see a bill, then the law of attraction would “confirm” those thoughts and contain a bill when opened. A person who decided to instead expect a check might, under the same law, find a check instead of a bill. – Wikipedia – The Law of Attraction
Christian believers in such phenomenon call this the law of faith. Tim Greenwood in his web page Faith is a Law writes
Mark 11:22: And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God, 23: For verily l say unto you, (Jesus is saying: This is the truth! 1 promise you!), That whosoever shall SAY unto this mountain, (Your mountain may be a problem, sickness, disease, etc.), Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall BELIEVE that those things which he SAYS shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever, (Anything, in line, with the Word of God), he SAYS. 24: therefore 1 say unto you, what things so-ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, (Prior to their manifestation), and ye shall have them.
You have to SPEAK His Words concerning healing, You are SPEAKING them to:
- Confess, (affirm), to God;
- Proclaim to the devil; and
- Confirm to yourself;
that you BELIEVE, what you are saying.
So it seems that the truth or falsehood of what you say isn’t really important. After all “You can do this” is a statement that could never be true for all people and all things that they are attempting to do. Regardless, they say that you just have to say it, believe it (accept it as true) and you will receive it when you act on it.
The sad truth is that this doctrine has invaded many churches today and is being passed around between Christians as truth. People at my own church actually suggested to me that it would be better for me to say (confess) that I am in healthy and in no pain and believe (accept this as true regardless of what my body tells me) and then act on that belief.
In other words, I should tell myself something I know to be a lie under the belief that if I lie to myself long enough and believe in my lie enough that somehow I have the power to make that lie become truth.
How would I act if I really believed a lie that I told myself like I’m healed and whole?
- I would refuse to acknowledge my pain to myself or anyone else.
- I would refuse medications to treat my disease because every act of taking a medication would be an acknowledgement that I am sick. If I truly believe I am not sick, why take a medication?
- I would avoid going to the doctor. After all, that is an action which affirms that I am sick so by going to the doctor I am actually making myself sick.
Sadly, I have observed this path in the lives of people close to me. Often people with mental illness are told that those medications which the doctors prescribed to them are simply a crutch for people without faith. People with faith have no need for such crutches but simply declare their wholeness and live in it. Then when the person acts out with strange behavior because they are not taking their medication obviously they are demon possessed.
Consider this case
“Herbert and Catherine Schaible belong to a fundamentalist Christian church that believes in faith healing. They lost their 8-month-old son, Brandon, last week after he suffered from diarrhea and breathing problems for at least a week, and stopped eating. Four years ago, another son died from bacterial pneumonia.”
These people have had two children die because of the false teaching that suggested that taking their child to the doctor would indicate a lack of faith. Of course this is an extreme case but if you truly believe this line of reasoning and take it to it’s logical conclusion then they did exactly what they should have done.
Test the Spirits
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1 HCSB)
This scripture is a call to discernment. That is, the act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment.
You can make yourself believe whatever you want to believe. You can accept as true anything that you read on the internet but that would make you the opposite of discerning. Instead you would be gullible – easily deceived or cheated.
The fact is that there are many false prophets and you need to exercise keen insight and good judgement as you carefully consider what they say.
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. (1Ti 4:1-2 HCSB)
The bible does not promise that you can create reality by the words you speak. This is a fantasy that gullible people are falling for. Christians should not fall for this and they should not promote it by passing around teachings like this.