Psyche and Spirit
by Paul Werner
8. Human Behavior
The Essence of Human Behavior
Spiritual Influence and Human Behavior
Man today cries out for freedom and for fulfillment. He is in misery, looking for opportunities to escape his suffering, and find release from the type of burdens mankind has borne throughout the history of the world. Those crosses have definitely come as a result of man's fall from God, for that is the incident which instigated man's ignorance of God. That is the time man plunged into fear and spiritual darkness, and is what prompted man to behave according to certain patterns.
What, then, is our position? We are still pulled in a tug-of-war between God and Satan, for we have never been restored to the ideal God originally intended for us. To a great extent, this very factor determines our behavior. And this very difficulty is what makes the study of human nature so complicated.
Are such things as the environment and childhood conditioning the prime factors in determining human behavior? Could there be something more? It seems our fears may comprise some of the unknown factors, as our guilt complexes become most enunciated during a moment of stress or crisis. Human behavior has been studied by those who look at life from a certain perspective, but what is often neglected in such analysis is that just as physical forces and laws circumscribe our actions, spiritual forces also affect us, as does the struggle between God and Satan.
A little child who feels loved and protected when embraced by his parents may be obedient and loving to them. But if left alone too long or too often might behave in a far different manner, perhaps even screaming to be comforted. Even though a baby sitter might be employed to look after him, the child is unsure of that person's love and will test his limits. He could react in a certain way to get attention-crying uncontrollably, throwing a temper tantrum, or doing something he knows he should not do.
This same kind of plea also comes from the soul of man and reverberates throughout the world. We appeal for spiritual comfort; we miss our Parent, God. We are lonely, and we long to reach home. We behave in the ways we do because we are insecure, unsure of how protected we are. We don't know if God, or any higher being, is alive and really with us. And sometimes we, too, cry uncontrollably; we, too, throw our own type of "tantrum"; and we, too, do things we know we should not do. We fight within ourselves to act as calm as possible, rationalizing that our cover-up shows "everything normal." We need attention, but nonetheless, we suffer in silence.
The Essence of Human Behavior
People who become pyromaniacs work their craft not simply to burn down buildings, but as a way to command attention. Many who turn to crime clamor to discover a means by which to root out a deep-seated resentment or a feeling of repression. Most women who turn to prostitution are not just after money; they also cry for recognition and respect.
Psychologists reason that people who engage in such actions attempt to fulfill certain needs, but are bothered by subconscious feelings. Yet there must be something more, something behind even the unconscious reactions to our needs. To mesh the psychological discipline with the spiritual, we should not discount that what we term "human behavior" is actually behavior which, in some part, is instrumented by the influence of spirit persons. Acts of goodness are obviously furthered by good spirits, while acts of transgression are prompted by evil ones. And the human dilemma is that not only is each of us capable of following both good and evil forces, we definitely do.
The condition of the human psyche and spirit, then, is not a very pretty sight. Yes, we are afraid, but don't necessarily know how to deal with our fear. We run scared, then, in a multitude of different directions, some of which are abnormal, some of which are attempts at satisfying our need for love. But the human heart, which continues to retain at least some element of God's nature, is still able to be touched by God, and if bestowed with His unconditional love, does have the wherewithal to live closely aligned to His laws. Religion aspires to teach godly behavior, but there is nothing that can force a desired response, for each individual reacts according to his own conscience.
We learn behavior primarily from our parents, relatives, teachers, and friends. Our social environment "molds" us to behave in certain ways. There are so many aspects to studying the soul -- educational psychology, organizational psychology, even reverse psychology, to name a few. But the missing element is linked to the need for a study or analysis of the forces of good and evil. It will take cultivating an ability to recognize the battles between God and Satan which go on within every person on a daily basis. We do not understand enough that our behavior is determined by our intentions and desires, by our attitudes and motivations. Are we trying to cover up our sins? Are we brave enough to expose our vulnerabilities as we reach out for love? What we do or even that which we fail to do has a definite impact upon how we react and behave, whether to situations or people.
Although some of our actions might be quite calculated, we do not always understand exactly what we are doing at a given moment. No matter how what we do appears on the surface, we might at the same time be quietly intent on guarding our position and defending our rights. Words and actions -- our own and others directly affect us. We assume that those around us are our "teachers" in this sense. But what we cannot discern is that the master instructor of the human race has been and still is Satan. He taught our first ancestors, and unfortunately, our behavioral patterns even today mirror theirs. Until we accept this premise, we will never realize the identity of or face our real enemy. Yet once it becomes clear to us that he is the culprit and is still making us adhere to his set of laws, we can begin applying tactics to defend ourselves against his attack, and indeed to separate from him.
Behaviorists feel that all animal and human behavior can be explained in terms of conditioned reflexes. Freud had his own school of thought; he denied the existence of any higher motives in man. He theorized that man's tendencies could be equated with the sexual impulse found in animals. He discovered that man had the "will to pleasure," while Adler suggested that man's basic motive was the "will to power."
Some people feel God is abstract and cannot directly influence the observable world. Some philosophers even promote the idea that God is dead. They feel that if the spirit is indeed real, man must be able to detect the effect of it within the physical world. Some who theorize about behavior deny the existence of the spiritual realms, and their impact upon man's life.
The Principle concurs with the belief espoused by many religions that "these" are the Last Days, a time when the problems which have existed throughout the history of man are intensified, and indeed seem out of control. It is at this juncture that the war between God and Satan is peaking. Both God and Satan are desperate for the right to claim and direct man. The increases in violence, drug abuse, murder, incest, adultery, pornography, homosexuality, and so many other "social diseases" are manifestations of Satan's activity; he is desperate to retain his position and domination over us. He wants to continue as supreme adjudicator of man and dole out his mandates, instructing what people must and must not do. He is angry that God has been able to widen His foothold in this world, and in his anger, has been tightening the screws which he uses to bind man's spirit. So many of the wounds inflicted upon man's heart are still fresh and raw, and unfortunately man has no idea how to heal them.
Man is in the midway position between God and Satan. In his ignorance he still allows Satan to victimize him; he desperately seeks answers, but does not know where to find them. Even if he happens to stumble across some solutions, he has a tough time putting them into action; the "psychological" possibilities he might employ on one level will help, but there is a further step he should take. And unfortunately, many people are either reluctant or uninformed about this one: it is that man must take steps toward God. Further, man must beseech God's help to accomplish this. The spirit of God must reach man, and the representative of God -- the Messiah -- must teach man how to behave as a child of God. We are fallen people, in dire need of what religion refers to as salvation, but what psychology might label "solutions." To be rescued or "saved" from his fallen state, man must learn and then willingly follow the word of God. Doing that will have tremendous impact upon the way man behaves.
Individuals continually confront the hostile and anti-social feelings within themselves. We have not realized our spiritual potential. Our behavior, then, may be more on the destructive side. We continue to hide our true nature by acting in a way that is so contrary to the way God would desire us to behave.
We have difficulty knowing exactly how to deal with our pain, therefore, we often try to avoid problems. By eluding them, though, we also escape the possibility of maturing and becoming more stable. But if we do not nurture our spirit, it will wither and die.
If only we could understand the need for self-therapy. Concentrating on our spiritual health and well-being, we would naturally gain self-respect, and our behavior would change accordingly. We would not live by the standard of Satan, but gain God's perspective. We would be less defensive and more open, more realistic in our perceptions of ourselves and others. And we would naturally embrace and accept others with more love, and consequently grant them more dignity. The greater our personal integrity, the greater the goals we will achieve. We will become more realistic, more honest in dealing with ourselves and the others in our lives.
Some religious people have nurtured the idea that man's basic nature is sinful; while that is true, rather than bemoaning the fact that we commit sin daily, we should try to recognize our potential, and then work toward accomplishing it. This will entail realizing that we do have value as a person, and indeed, it is not unlikely or unusual that others like and even love us, that we feel the same way about them.
By the same token, we can discover that even if we dislike doing so, at different times each of us wears masks. They have the capacity to somehow take away some of the pain we feel. We live based upon what we think we should be, not necessarily what we are. Therefore, we become reluctant about overcoming our problems. We cover ourselves with layers of defense, but do little about mastering the points which trouble us most. And in an effort to evoke a different reaction, we might act out things contrary to what we hope will happen. Sometimes we underestimate the positive aspect of a crisis or confrontation in our life of faith, or life in general. Yet overcoming these situations could provide our jumping-off point to a rebirth. If we avoid confrontations out of fear, we merely postpone the inevitable. There is no way to avoid collision with Satan as we try to separate ourselves from him. It is simply a matter of choice whether we do it today, or tomorrow.
Spiritual Influence and Human Behavior
Fear and Insecurity
Man is fearful. Although we rationalize that we have "nothing to fear but fear itself," in a moment of crisis, the lump in our throat and the pit in our stomach might make us react differently. The shadow of fear looms above us with alarming regularity, and it is hard to destroy.
Fear and insecurity are results of the Fall. At this time of greatest confrontation of good and evil, fear is pandemic. It is one way through which Satan manipulates and controls man. No matter how "fearless" a person might appear on the surface, internally he might be completely paralyzed by his insecurities. Satan is an expert at exerting leverage through planting subtle fears. And through our give and take with him, we have made a habit of feeding those fears. How much more constructive it would be for us to make a practice of affirming our desire that God live within us, than to yield to Satan's trickery! When we are constricted by fear, we become our own biggest hurdle, for it is often our tensions which prevent the flow of love-from or toward us.
Surely the feeling of insecurity rages within each human soul, and any resulting sensation-from feeling utter inner conflict, to a loss of values-definitely affects mental health and behavior. Our psyche is often over pressured with stress, anxiety, and uneasiness; our coping mechanisms are taxed to the limit on a daily basis.
People might be insecure if their parents divorced, or if they themselves were victims of child abuse. They feel -- and are in some way powerless to do anything about it. A child who is the product of a broken home, or comes from a home in which there is addiction to drugs or alcohol, would "learn" certain behavior he might carry with him throughout his life. On the other hand, a child who has a strong and healthy family life would surely feel more secure than a "latch key kid." This phenomenon, often a spin-off from a two-income family or divorce, might cause a child to feel unprotected. Although having a key allows him the freedom to walk in and out of his house at will, the child surely experiences a great many apprehensions, especially given the incredible rise in -- and even just talk about -- child kidnappings, crazed killers, rapping, and the like. A child may hear statistics about this, see television programs or the news, and become quite confused and scared. Even if he lives in a neighborhood in which there is a Block Parent Association, he might feel that such "parenting" has little effect on his life, and so his tension builds. He fights his insecurity, but might express it in some way -- be that through bullying, nervousness, or by throwing himself into study or a hobby. Such an insecurity could be magnified during his adolescence, and gather more steam during his adult years; given that such behavior has become an integral part of him during his physical lifetime, he might well bring it with him to the spirit world. These are the little-thought of "facts" of life which we would rather ignore, because even the concept seems foreign to us.
It is inevitable that we will meet people who will accuse us; that cannot be helped. But it is something each of us still fears deeply. The question is, how much truth is there to what they say? We should try to behave in a way which guards against anybody bringing forth a justifiable accusation. Once allegations are made against our good name, people tend to believe what may be nothing more than rumor or the opinion of one man. Then no matter what we do to rectify the situation, certain odds have already been stacked against us. All of us have been affected by this to some degree or another, and once the damage has been done, we feel insecure and unsure how to act around those people who verbally or even silently condemned us. This feeling not only pervades the particular relationship, but could erode our relationships in general, as we fear it will happen yet again.
Have we ever stopped to consider that this is an instance of being hounded by a great many spirit persons -- spirits who were bothered by the same kinds of fears and insecurities in the relationships they made during their time on earth? That those spirits tend to reinforce our problems? These feelings and emotions certainly do affect our personality and our behavior, but instead of working to combat them, we might turn inward. We might begin to doubt things about ourselves, and wonder whether the accusations might be accurate, after all. When we do not clearly understand spiritual influence, we feel, and to a great extent are, defenseless.
Satan and evil spirits work in such cunning ways. For example, a prankster may telephone a woman, tell her that her husband is seeing another woman, and then promptly hang up. Whether or not the accusation is true, a certain amount of damage was done to the trust between that husband and wife. The few words planted fear and anxiety in her mind. What does that woman do with such information-Ignore it? Confront her husband? Desert him and leave only a condemning good-bye note? It depends upon the type of person she is. She and her husband may have had a deep and loving relationship, which was injected with the poison of suspicion in a matter of moments. Whether or not she ever discovers the truth, she will not soon forget the possibility that her husband may have cheated on her.
Most people who answer their phones only to hear silence on the other end immediately become paralyzed by fear, or become anxious. Such a thing might consume the mind and heart, but how does it affect the spirit? And what can we do on the practical level to "fight back?" We are conditioned by society to look for explanations in the obvious. We could initially rationalize that the person who did such a thing is playing with other peoples' lives. We then might look for ways to seek revenge and play a trick on someone else. We want justice done, and thus we fight back in whatever way possible. We could call the police or might change our telephone number as a way to deal with our fear. But what we may not realize is that we are fighting against some invisible force. Perhaps an evil spirit is working to torment a certain person on earth, or even a certain type of person, so as to revenge a wrong someone committed toward him during his lifetime. Thus, a spirit person influences such pranks. Although it could in part be a spiritual battle, this kind of thing has definite repercussions on someone's life. It might generate such waves of anxiety, the person cannot help but "modify" his behavior. The problem is, that modification is generally of the destructive variety.
We cannot go on living so blindly. If we are ever to halt human degradation, we must start to uncover more about human nature. To recognize how Satan's wiliness is manifested in our own behavior will take keen observation and a dissection of our attitudes and actions. Despite our ties with Satan, we must do our best to prevent him and his cohorts from working and living through us. The question of how resurfaces. What should be our plan of attack? What kind of ammunition can be stockpiled to fight against these invisible forces? One thing is clear: we should surely evoke the spirit and power of God and the good spirit world.
Compulsive behavioral traits are surely considered social "reactions," but obsessive behavior is not easily tempered. The psychologist might reach the id, the ego, or the super ego through therapy, but be unable to stop the person from exhibiting the symptoms displayed by the "compulsive" personality -- whether drug related, connected to overeating, smoking, or drinking, compulsive shopping, lying, kleptomania, or the workaholic. Why are these so difficult to control and combat? The answer is that spiritual influence is often the root of these addictions. Spirit persons who had a difficult time to keep these particular behaviors in check during their time on earth, find a common base with someone, then influence them.
On the positive side, such influence could be evidenced in the gift of phenomenal memory or the "compulsive" desire to do good, while on the negative side, could manifest in incest, or the abuse of child, spouse, or parent. We must begin to find true solutions to the addictions which plague people, something which also calls for an analysis of both the spiritual and psychological causes.
The "Anonymous" support groups -- such as those for alcoholics, gamblers, overeaters, etc. -- have formed appropriate variations of a basic creed, which is neither wholly physical nor spiritual in nature. These creeds emphasize the need to abstain from the affliction one day at a time, and to work on restoring one's relationships. Interestingly enough, they also stress the need to surrender to the Higher Being -- whatever the person conceives him to be. Surely, a one-sided approach will only be half-effective; it is only when both dimensions are blended that long-lasting solutions can be implemented.
Man does not comprehend that spirit persons have brought their fears and insecurities with them to the spirit world. Emotions can surface within us, then, based upon the influence spirits have over us. When someone is confronted with something that he dislikes or fears -- such as flying or snakes -- he might experience a sense of sheer panic, and even develop a phobia about it. This can be induced and come to be strengthened by the reactions of spiritual beings. Those who suffer from acrophobia, vertigo, autophobia, demophobia, or claustrophobia, for example, cannot "see" that spiritual beings working with them experienced panic or perhaps even tragedy at a great height, through dizziness, being alone or in crowds, or in a closed-in place. They do not realize that if this spiritual reality would be taken into account, their "unexplained" fear would actually be defined and could be fought against by not allowing the spirit to control.
Developing a phobia and allowing it to be reinforced time and again, will greatly affect a person's behavior. The individual might find it hard to contend with unless he can recognize which feelings are his and which are from spirits. We should also remember that even the fears and phobias we are bothered with will also be a part of us once we live totally in spirit world. Thus, we should fight against making bases which allow spirit persons to work through us and thus reinforce their feelings.
Man must recognize that without exception each of us uses defense mechanisms, but further, that we learned such behavior from Satan. He has committed countless crimes, and works to keep people from God. But he is sure that once people learn of those assaults, they will do their best to change and ultimately shut Him out of their lives. So he behaves as we might expect him to, doing everything to protect his position as our ruler. And we follow suit; we naturally want to hide our sins and discrepancies. We constantly fear they will be exposed. Intuitively we also know that once we can find the way to rid ourselves of sin, we will have nothing more to hide. The difficult thing is coming to that point.
If we meet a person who seems extremely orthodox and stubborn and whom we feel is too set in his ways to change, we must make a decision: will we take the time and effort to burn through his protective devices to reach his heart and love him anyway? We have to realize that he might fight us because he does not want to lose his protective shield; he "fears" that we are trying to take it from him, so he "fights back." As a result, he may have a "don't touch me" attitude and be extremely defensive. We must be resolved to look beyond his defense mechanisms. If we sense that his true nature is encased in fear, we should work to uncover it. If we realize he does not love himself, we should attempt to show him those wonderful qualities within him which we have found are indeed lovable. Every person is unique and must be treated with consideration, for we do have a part to play not only in changing our own behavior, but also in shaping the behavior of others-by helping each person change according to his particular personality.
It is hard to recognize that many of our responses have their inception in the spiritual world. That the way we act certainly has a bearing upon the type of spiritual beings we attract. When sociologists, behavioral psychologists, or psychiatrists study youth gangs or immoral sexual behavior, for example, do they unanimously agree this should be labeled as a "conditioned response"? Does such a simple answer hold true in the abnormal behavior exhibited by paranoid schizophrenics, criminals, or the insane, for instance? Professionals still look for effective solutions to treat abnormal behavior. The unfortunate thing is that they do not also take into account the spiritual realm. We could change our behavior and help others change theirs, if we could learn how to effectively and responsibly deal with spiritual influence.
If our previous habits and patterns of thought have not brought us success, why don't we simply abandon them? As we mature, we must be prepared to make internal and external changes -- to dress differently, think differently, deal with people differently. We can overcome sin and change our present demeanor to godly behavior once we realize the need, and can see and follow a clear pattern of how to do it. As has been stated before, God takes the responsibility to provide man with a mediator, a Messiah, who teaches us correct behavior as a child of God. But once we are shown the pattern, the ball is then in our court. To go on from there, we should strengthen our strong points in order to root out our weaknesses.
Every person is confronted with large and small things at the same time. We can never just concentrate on breathing alone. We cannot just focus on listening to the words someone speaks, for at the same time our intellect is stimulated by what we hear, we also definitely have an emotional response to what is said.
Many times we analyze our deficiencies, and even psychoanalyze ourselves. But to change our ways is the main point. Even though we may hear about the laws of God, we may not do anything about them, lacking the needed willpower and determination. If we know the truth but do not act on it, it cannot "set us free." That is part of the human dilemma. Satan's power over us is strong and he wants us to believe his words. He has perpetuated the idea that God's laws-even God's very existence-is a far-fetched scheme, an impossibility. He plants seeds of doubt that do take root; and he further nurtures them with constant care. As a result, some people feel it is crazy to even believe in God, much less make steps to nurture a relationship with Him. But this is a "habit" we must stop.
We each encounter personal shortcomings we find difficult to change. We sometimes recognize in other people the things that are their stumbling blocks, but which they themselves may not even realize. We may become more concerned with wanting others to change, but should instead focus on changing our own bad habits.
We have to get in touch with ourselves. We might make a goal of changing that which we don't like -- be it manners, dress, facial expressions, weight, etc., and take steps toward reaching it. More important than the external changes, though, are the internal ones. People may have told us certain things about our own behavior at which they took offense. Even if they might be wrong, we have to consider there is an element of truth to what they say. We can only become better by adjusting our behavior, thus we should give their advice a try. If instead we refuse to change, we might collide with others again and again, and in the process, discover that we have fewer friends. Our spouse may come to tolerate, rather than love us. We might feel a need to justify our behavior in front of others, but again this is nothing more than a self-defense mechanism. We must recognize that God often speaks through other people to tell us what our shortcomings are, in the hope that we will heed their advice and grow. He knows our habits better than anyone else. And He knows what should be tolerated, and what should be changed. It is God who even knows what behavioral traits are actually from a spiritual being working through us which are our own. Unless we listen to God's guidance and act upon it, we will continue to behave as before, much to His disappointment, and ultimately, our own.
Husbands and wives might be accepting of one another, but should try to help their partner change certain behaviors that need attention. Spouses need to feel free to open up to one another in faith, having the assurance that even after bringing forth their feelings, they will still be respected and loved.
But isn't that what we hope for in any relationship? When we attempt to help one another change, we must do so by exercising extreme sensitivity. People live with a great deal of hurt inside because of comments others have made directly or just implied. It could be that they anticipate others will hurt them further, so they "become" behave like different people. Yet mastering the art of cover up will not make us free.
We do not always recognize how Satan works in our lives, and thus we often waste so much time complaining about and/or judging situations and people. We secretly think other people have to change, but vocalize nothing. And in our silence, we might seethe when we don't see change forthcoming; we feel we are right, and go so far as to think they should think so, too!
How much do we resent the habits of others -- how other people dress, how they walk, the noises they make -- the list is endless. Yes, we should strive to behave properly and ethically, and it is normal that we might wish everyone else would, too. But by whose standard should we judge? What is considered good manners in one part of the world is thought to be barbaric by another. It is often the "nitty-gritty" that blocks us from loving other people, and then lands us on an island-spiritually. We have to see that everybody is lonesome. If we don't love anybody, how can we expect that anyone will love us? If we afford little tolerance to people, we can be sure that sooner or later, people will exhibit little tolerance toward us. We have to help each other change, but not at the cost of destroying another human soul. We don't focus on what might be the hidden crux of the problem: that spiritual influence is a major part of our behavioral problems and difficulties.
Human beings are imprisoned through the inherited nature that resulted through the Fall. Most people do not know what God originally intended, therefore, most of us refer to our actions and behavior simply as "human nature." Psychology has noted some common tendencies, but much of the emphasis as to "why" is placed on conditioning and environmental factors. Yet we must understand that one important and little considered factor why we behave as we do, is because sinful nature is deeply imbedded within us.
We learned from Satan far too well and we have virtually become like robots, repeating the same commands time and again, finding it quite impossible to break out of that pattern. Man has not known that his mind and his body -- his psyche and his spirit -- can be controlled and manipulated by Satan and evil spirits, and indeed are! If we can come to embrace this understanding of our psychological predicament, our next question must be what to do about it. How do we overcome the fallen nature? Only the Messiah can show us how; only he can "save" mankind from this plight. If man evades his personal responsibility to overcome his sins, the Messiah's teachings and the sacrifices he makes on behalf of man will not have the greatest possible impact.
Everybody has to eventually triumph over sin. With the development of new cultures and civilizations, certain behavioral patterns have changed throughout the centuries. Nevertheless, we cannot escape the fact that our original ancestors sinned and this "habit" is something each of us has inherited. Man's struggle with his fallen nature has only increased. The multiplication of sin, too, has become greater and more perverse. We human beings have inherited quite a burden. If we do not recognize our sins, it becomes difficult and nearly impossible to adequately deal with our psychological problems.
No matter how loving we may be, we are still apt to commit sins of omission, neglecting to love those who need our care and compassion. From time to time our mind may harbor impure thoughts; this is natural because we are not yet perfected. It is up to us to recognize our sins and learn how not to cast a first stone and indeed also to "sin no more."
Why does fallen man feel so much guilt? And why does he have such a hard time to remove this "boulder" from his heart, something which oppresses him so? Simply, it is because man still sins. Part of man's problem is that he has buried his heart under guilt. One reason could be that he has repented far too little. Many people may be unaware of the need for forgiveness. They may have heard about it, but ignored its importance. Yet if we took the time to review every action we could still recall from the time of our childhood to the present, we would discover thousands and perhaps millions of seemingly small and insignificant slights, words, and actions in our relationships with others which could constitute sins of commission and omission. Once we recognize this, we need to do something about it.
If we set up many walls between ourselves and others, we will never feel inner peace. Instead we will be extremely constricted, and probably quite tense. If we do not confess our sins to someone either to God in prayer or to another human being -- and continue to tote this millstone year after year, we will remain bothered by them. We have fear because we have made mistakes, but a further complication is that we are afraid to speak about them, because we feel so guilty. But guilt just multiplies; people might fabricate more lies or commit even more mistakes as a way to cover up lesser transgressions. They feel desperate to protect their secrets, and thus make even more mistakes in an effort to shield their sins.
Guilt is a psychological problem that is very real. Some people exhibit arrogance or drive others mercilessly. In reality the offenders are hurting inside, but their behavior indicates something totally different. The offended feels accused and spiritually trampled by such abrasive nature. He may spend his time and energy reviewing his own actions to discover what must have caused the offender to be in such a bad mood, and what he can do to repair the rift. The offender feels desperate to protect himself, and does not care in the least about how the offended feels. Because of his actions, he is quite unfree internally and this also manifests in his behavior. He might, then, continue to lash out.
We must become liberated, and help others to free themselves of guilt. We must become free enough to be our true selves. Our behavior often hinges on our identity, our development, and our relationships. Our self-image is so important. Yet if we have fear, we cannot develop the greatest capacity for loving or reflecting God. Neither can we develop a healthy dose of self-confidence. People stay closed because of fear-fear of losing, fear of having their sins exposed, fear of being found out as a pretender. If their fear could be vanquished, they could more easily open up and love others, for then nothing would stand in their way. Relationship to God brings relief, and a definite lessening of guilt. But repentance is also key.
The longing for love felt by every person is a real and viable one. Man may seek for satisfaction in various substitutes, but his intuition reveals that none are satisfactory. And the guilt he feels about his sins continues to keep him from coming closer to God.
If we would be totally obedient to God, we would feel free. The guilt we feel and that we confront over and over accuses us time and again. Our relationship to Satan plays a major role in our attachment to guilt. Self-accusation from the guilt we feel is most often destructive; it can make us literally shake inside, and even affect our bodily functions. A guilt complex can slowly dissolve the closer we come to God. The behavior which reverses the action of the Fall is to obey God's will. Doing this will rid us of our guilt rather than make us guilt-ridden.
Living a religious or faith-oriented way of life in itself is confronting; a person is shown a standard, and that in itself automatically engenders a feeling of regret. The tenets of religion make people realize how far from that example they are. There are those who simply want to push away the possibility of belonging to God, and yet that attitude can ultimately bring even more guilt. The power of God's love is stronger, and when it can reach the human heart, will bring relief.
The guilt people bear which is associated with the inability to conceive children or which those who conceive out of wedlock feel, can be quite overwhelming. So much psychological pressure is exerted on those involved, and there is little they can do to relieve the burden they feel. They often find some other alternative to help appease the problem, for example, the childless couple might find a surrogate parent. But the moral and ethical issues raised through this are growing and being fanned by such fires as the importance of a mother's rights. What cannot be ignored is that guilt is an essential factor, as well. Those who conceive out of wedlock and do not marry but give up their baby for adoption, often suffer from remorse years later; sometimes the parents even search for the long-lost child, perhaps partially out of emptiness, but also partially out of guilt.
How do we handle the deep-seated emotions accompanying our feelings of guilt? How do we best alleviate any mental depression we might feel as a result of actions we took years before? When we think of preventive medicine, we usually do not consider it has any bearing upon decision making which could affect us years later -- decisions like not drinking and driving, not abusing drugs, or not using contraceptives which might harm child-bearing. If we would focus more on preventive mental health, we as the human family would do much more to supplant decisions that would have any detrimental long-term results that would affect our spiritual health and well-being.
Guilt and self-accusation are like blood clots to our mental health, but also cause a "spiritual" thrombosis which has to be relieved in some way. Psychoanalysis might help, yet once we start digging, there is no end to what we will discover about ourselves; it becomes a vicious cycle -- the more we unearth, the worse we feel, and the bigger the "hole" inside. Psychoanalysis can surely be one part of the solution, but it is not the end-all. Every human being is in need of a standard -- a virtual substance-which he can use to fill the gap between his heart and mind. We need to familiarize ourselves with the laws of God, and then work toward fulfilling the goals He has set for us. The only thing that can successfully open and fill the heart is unconditional love, and that must come from the reservoir of God. To receive that gift from Him, though, we must open ourselves to Him.
Many of the things in our heart simply do not belong there. This is an important point for our personal psychology. It is the same thing with self-accusation. Accusing ourselves diminishes us and strips us of our power, rendering us weak and vulnerable. This also invites the presence of Satan. When Satan has the base to accuse or invade us, he will do everything in his power to separate us from God. That is when we find it extremely hard to realize-even remember-that we are a son or daughter of God.
Life is not a part-time job. We must be serious about how we live ours. So many good people are blocked by their own misunderstandings and misgivings-from religious concepts, to political ideals, to psychological blocks. People often justify their behavior by uttering "I'm only human." It must be recognized that "human behavior" is actually "fallen behavior." Furthermore, we must realize that if we are ever to reach perfection, that "human" behavior must be changed to "divine" behavior.
Man's most basic need is that of survival -- not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. Because of his sin, he feels a certain inner anxiety-never feeling completely comfortable or satisfied. He may wonder what he is doing wrong, and rationalizes his words and actions. With the help of Satan, evil spirits "speak" to him and assure him all is well. He may even consciously realize that he is trying to escape from his inner conflicts, but not perceive how they started, or what he should do about them. So, up go his defenses.
The self-defense mechanism has become an integral part of human behavior and it, too, is a learned technique. Satan wanted to be "number one." Once he began his rule of mankind, he created many self-protective devices which enabled him to justify his behavior and stay in command, but at the same time, hide his true nature from us.
For man to stay "in command" of himself, then, he also erects shields to protect his position. It is a fact that first impressions last. We should think seriously about how we appear to others. We tend to behave according to how we believe others see us. Projecting ourselves in a loving way, for example, will ensure greater possibility that we will be loved in return. Yet if we find there is a gap between our real feelings and what we reveal, we should work on narrowing it.
Man was victimized by Satan in the past, and is still exploited by Satan today. The idea that behind the spiritual forces and the names "God" and "Satan" exist personalities, may be an unusual one. Yet if a person could accept it, he may have a much better grasp of that with which he has to contend. We can understand that a person can attack or mistreat another, but it is hard to rationalize how this is possible only by a "force." The understanding that there are spiritual beings, not simply powers working in conjunction with God and Satan to coerce us, is much more plausible. Subconsciously man knows he must do whatever he can to survive the attacks of Satan. Yet as man comes closer to perfection, he will no longer need to erect self-defense mechanisms as a means of protection.
We are afraid of being hurt, afraid of losing face or position, and thus we do not behave freely. All human beings desire to be "number one", and so they "control" some of their fate by erecting shields to dodge any bullets of accusation, or as a protection from having to deal with this hurtful world. They may do it out of habit, but not always recognize just what they are doing, or understand why.
This world is full of pain, full of abuse. Life seems virtually overflowing with hardship and suffering. People have to cope with a given situation just to come out alive. People have to drive defensively; we never know what the other guy will do. We have to be ready to react quickly, to be alert at all times. That is what human behavior has become. If it gets too difficult to act defensively, some people even begin to "drive" their life offensively. People who believe that someone might hurt them automatically put up their guard. This is true in all segments of society: the employee in a business often regards his boss as the enemy. And the greatest adversary for a union is the owner. One feels pitted against the other. So much friction and in-fighting occurs that one is virtually forced to learn how to defend one's self. But is all of this necessary?
We are on the defensive in the work place, in our family situations, in our marriages, and even within ourselves. We attempt to defend ourselves against Satan's actions, and try to guard against interference from evil spirit persons. Yet rarely do we employ self-defense mechanisms against spiritual beings. We do not necessarily perceive their presence, thus could be quite vulnerable and unable to defend ourselves from their influence or attack. But this is something we must learn to do.
The shield we keep trying to erect should defend us against Satan, not God, and not the qualities of God in other people. Unfortunately, this is not stressed as a major point in "self-help" psychology. Rather, people in therapy are urged to focus on significant familial and social relationships to identify the causes of their problems, and to aggressively seek ways to "win." Psychologists may urge us to dig into the past -- but they do not show us that we must go much farther back than our parents and grandparents. To recognize something more of our problems, we must go back to our spiritual roots -- reviewing the problems made by our original ancestors, and the pattern of their struggle. We must identify our prime antagonist -- who is none other than Satan.
If one emulates a certain person he holds in high esteem, he might imagine himself to be like that person. Living vicariously through our daydreams, then, we may not accept our true identity or reach our particular potential because of the difficulties we encounter along the way. Although spiritual beings do influence us, to some extent, a person will behave as he desires-whether in a mature, childish, introspective, introverted, or extroverted way. We might create a regime which we alone happily control, but we might become so completely caught up in that little world that we forget we need others. We may become intensely focused on minute details, and then project what we feel we or others have to be "perfect" in. We may not realize that in our way of speaking we actually order them to do certain things, and that what we say to them certainly affects their behavior. But the Walter Mitty syndrome is very real: the vehicle of mental escape is available to all of us, and we tend to use it, especially when the going gets rough!
We are enslaved by Satan, and we must gain our freedom from him. But to do this we have to learn to recognize and cut off from him. Jesus tells us to love our brothers and sisters, to love our neighbor as ourselves. But just knowing the formula does not get us very far. We have to take action. Little acts of love we perform can help correct our behavior. The more we look from our own viewpoint, the less we see that our perspective might just be an obstacle to our personal spiritual growth and health.
When every individual has to have his say, problems are bound to arise. Everybody thinks his own hypothesis is best, and thus justifies his stance and backs up his opinions with logic. What we might not realize in the moment is that this can be a manifestation of Satan's behavior, and one we need to work on changing.
It is hard to distinguish what appropriate behavior actually is. We behave in certain environments differently from the way we do in others. We might behave as we see right and as we desire, or as a way to fulfill something asked of us. To some degree, we act based on what happens to us, yet shouldn't we try to learn correct behavior? To whom should we turn to discover the standard we should adopt?
There is much good in people. We can see that movements advocating human rights are adamant in their approach to help citizens who live under repression. People develop shelters to help the homeless. And charity of heart is certainly a factor in initiating runs for cancer, muscular dystrophy telethons, and the like. This, too, should be considered human behavior, the kind which stems from the desire to help our fellow man and to promote goodness. This is the "human" behavior stimulated by God and the good spiritual world, and the kind we should do our best to multiply.
At the same time we feel a certain emotion, we might also "feel" the need to release our tensions. What is the responsible way to control our them? If we start slamming doors, people might be curious about what is bothering us. They only see the effect of a certain emotion, not what goes on inside. All kinds of things can happen if our emotions run away with us. Therefore, controlling those passions becomes crucial. We are not free to do exclusively as we like, for all of us are bound by universal laws. Overeating or under-eating will have a definite impact, as will jumping off a bridge. We ultimately are the only ones who can control our reactions. But again, the factor of spiritual influence is so real, we must guard against being "controlled" by negative spiritual forces.
Sometimes human beings become so aggravated by a situation, they cannot think clearly. To "sleep" on a problem rather than make a hasty, and perhaps rash, decision is one way of exercising self-control.
Our conscience has the ability to inform us that some decision we made was a mistake. If we do not include God in our decision making, we can easily make a wrong decision. By sensitizing ourselves to God, we become sensitive to something more than ourselves. We should therefore check our feelings before we act. Yet we should be careful, because the first impulse -- generally the one which comes from the intellect -- may not always be the right one to follow. We have to come to trust our conscience; the hard part is to center our conscience upon God and the truth. If we do and then consult our conscience, we should follow the answer we receive.
Cartoons sometimes depict a person who is "forced" to listen to miniaturized characters -- one with a halo and wings, and one with horns and a pitchfork. It is a cute attention-getter, but also quite close to the truth. Each of us must contend with our divided conscience our original mind, the vehicle through which God can reach us, and our evil mind, the means Satan uses to work through us. We must do everything possible to ensure that our conscience is totally centered upon God and His absolute truth. It is our conscience which can tell us if we are on the level, or if we are making mistakes, for the conscience is the agent of God within us.
We eventually judge ourselves and others by what our conscience tells us. In fact, through our conscience, we are able to know more about God, ourselves, and other people. It is by listening to and heeding the advice offered by our conscience that we learn how to adjust our thoughts and actions -- our behavior. For example, if we were internally free, we would not find it necessary to be arrogant or prideful, full of fear or insecurity. Neither would we feel guilty. Even if we just think we cannot do as much as everybody else, we might tend to feel guilty; but this feeling is related to sin. Our conscience knows the quality of our thoughts. In fact, our conscience is our best judge, for it can detect which of our thoughts are evil or insincere and should be changed.
We may be able to trick people, but we cannot fool our conscience. The evil and murderous thoughts circulating within our mind imprison us; they are what constrict and prohibit us from being free. The world outside of us is more lenient with us than the "world" inside of us. God and the spirit world can surely see our thoughts, words, and deeds, and our conscience can be pricked through the influence of good spirit persons. While our conscience can direct us to act properly and responsibly, we may "hear" something, but blatantly refuse to listen. We may feel pangs of guilt over it, and as a result something which may damage our self-respect. This will have an adverse affect upon our behavior. Everyone might think that we are a good person, but only we know what really goes on inside us.
We look into our own mirror-our conscience every day. If our conscience informs us about things we should change, but we do nothing about following this advice, the situation will only become worse. If we continue to do the same thing again and again, we will ultimately be forced to apologize and repent. To clear the conscience is essential. If we did something wrong, we should straighten out the situation. Whoever ignores his own conscience puts himself in hell. We do not have to correct our conscience, but rather listen to it, for when we center our conscience upon God, it knows best what is correct.
Our heritage and culture have a bearing upon the behavior we exhibit within the family, and even our chosen role in society. Those who were raised in accordance with strict religious directives surely have a different code of personal ethics from someone who came from a home in which there was no ethical standard. The ethics of the time also have certain bearing upon the way people think and act. The Puritan era, for example, was wholly different from modern day; the standard of behavior expected of people in those times could even be considered quite opposite to what is "normal" today.
We need a global perspective. We are in the process of creating a new civilization. The old will be destroyed, as it had no lasting value in the first place. But once we see how God works, we will also see the result, and then come forth with new ethics -- whether in business or within society -- on the individual, family, national, and even worldwide level. This, too, will bear heavily upon the way the world develops.
If this world is indeed restored to the original ideal intended by God, then people will naturally surrender themselves to God's will, and not only follow their own will and desire.
What some people do not realize is that they cannot go to God empty-handed. Each of us has responsibility not only for our personal restoration, but restoration on the level of the family, society, nation, and cosmos. We can approach Him only if we have victoriously restored certain relationships. That is part of what could be considered the little known "psychology" behind fallen man's behavioral difficulties and disorders. A point buried even deeper is the psychology behind God's behavior for He, too, has resentment against Satan for what he has done to man. But because of man's own ignorance in discerning spiritual entities, God has been powerless to act. Isn't it about time we changed the situation?
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents