Truth: How can we use it to grow emotionally

This is a follow up to the previous BLOG, I felt it needed its own BLOG rather than just being a comment:

So one of the things I do is I work with men that are struggling with various issues. Many of them come from very loving Christian homes and they seemingly look like the perfect home to grow up in. I would not characterize their families as completely legalistic or that their parents completely misused truth as a power play. I think I might have chosen a less grandiose word for “power play” now that I think about it if I rewrote the BLOG

But I do believe the patters of their current relationship behaviors/problems often have roots in how they did relationships in their family of origin.

Here is how I think this might work.

Billy boy goes to mom and says Mom I have a problem. This kid at school has been doing XYZ behavior and it frightens me. Mom says well Billy Boy I want you to be a man of integrity and righteousness before God that always does the right thing. –A little more talking about Billy Boys behavior and responses goes on.– Mom ends with “Now Billy Boy what would Jesus Do?” She also calls the Principal to try to fix the remainder of Billy Boys problems

So on the surface this seems like a pretty good conversation from the Mom. I think all those responses are actually pretty good… but what is missing?

Well … all the response are completely about Billy Boys behaviors. Not once did the mom go deeper and validate Billy Boys fears and thoughts about his fears. And then on top of everything else she set an expectation about Billy Boys behaviors of Billy being righteous. This expectation is confirmed and reconfirmed many times by the mother on lots of other issues. Well ….The next time Billy Boy is NOT perfectly righteous Billy Boy is likely to hide his behavior! Billy Boy might even do this for many years. This is a subtle form of how truth gets abused, It completely stays on the behavioral level of conversation and often never goes deeper. Too much talking about truth and not enough applying Truth,

The men I work with often have high spiritual IQs but they often have lower emotional IQs (as did I for many years). In recent years I have started to equate spiritual and emotional maturity. We really can not have spiritual maturity without having emotional maturity as well, IMO. When we apply truth and apply grace and mercy and actually have a conversation about our sin, thoughts, and feelings we grow spiritually and emotionally. When we keep it at the behavioral level we learn to hide our sin, thoughts, and feelings.

So new question. How can truth be used to grow our emotional maturity?

2 thoughts on “Truth: How can we use it to grow emotionally

  1. Heather

    This is a good observation. As a mom I’ve really botched it at times when I’ve focused only ony “what Jesus thinks of our behaviors”
    Ironically, Jesus said that behavior is rooted in our heart attitude. Having security in a relationship with Christ helps stabilize my emotions and drive me toward better behavior. It’s a realization I now hope to remember to pattern for my children

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Yeah the transition from behavior to heart is discussed a lot in Christian circles. However, we can talk about it but what does the transition from head to heart look like? I am convinced many Christians are trying to fix behavioral problems with behavioral solutions… for more deeply rooted issues this seldom works. I like to think of an iceberg. Only 10% of an iceberg is above the waterline and can be seen. 90% of the iceberg is below the waterline. The 10% above the waterline represents our behaviors. The other 90% represents our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires, etc. Stuff the heart is made out of. If we only try to fix the stuff above the waterline without understanding what is below the waterline the behavioral issue will normally come back….. not always in the same way … but it comes back. Behavioral solutions to behavioral problems seldom work!

    For now, for me at least …. it means more time validating thoughts and feelings of others… trying to understand them. More time listening to feelings, thoughts, expectations, beliefs, and the pain of the other person. And then if any action required … more time practicing “truth” rather than talking about “truth”.

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