Your Thoughts Lie to You
“And when the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side, the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them.”
– Joshua 22:11-12
Imagine your boss calls you on Monday to set up a meeting for Friday morning. You have a week to prepare, but you are not sure what the meeting is about. When you talk to your coworkers, they tell you that they heard your company is laying off some people and the first round of layoffs is coming this Friday. The week goes by slow. You can’t sleep, worry, and even have panic attacks thinking you might lose your job. The long-awaited Friday arrives and your boss informs you that he’s promoting you to a higher position in order to train new staff. Your fear, worry, and anxiety turns to elation! You go from being scared to ecstatic.
Our emotions change based on our perceptions. On Monday, you thought you were losing your job, but on Friday you were handed a higher position with better pay. These scenarios happen more often in our lives than we realize, and the Bible records of one such scenario.
After Joshua and the Israelites conquered the land that God promised them, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh crossed the Jordan to live in the land they chose for themselves. They built an “imposing” alter and the rest of the Israelites THOUGHT that the altar was built to worship pagan gods. The Israelites assembled themselves to attack the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh. They also assembled elders and priests to speak to them first. They essentially said, “How dare you do such a thing.” These two and a half tribes responded by letting the Israelites know the reason they built the altar. Not wot worship pagan gods, but as a witness between them and the Israelites that they can enter the land and worship the true God there. The Israelites are satisfied with the answer and everyone goes home.
If the Israelites acted on their perception, two and a half tribes would have been innocently killed. The Israelites would have had innocent blood on their hands and God would have judged them for their actions.
Sometimes we come up with wrong conclusions about people around us. We think their actions mean one thing when in reality they mean a completely different thing. Just like the Israelites, we need to take some action. Here are a few steps.
- When a friend, coworker, or family member says or does something that you perceive hurtful, go them.
- When you go, make sure you are going to clarify what you are thinking. You are not going to attack.
- Give the other person the opportunity to explain their actions or motives.
- Give the person the benefit of the doubt and accept their explanation.
- This step is not mentioned in this story, but I would recommend that you pray together.
- Move on! Don’t hold it against them and don’t let your wrong thinking affect your emotions!
Memorize Philippians 4:8 and pray every day…
Lord, please help me to fix my thoughts on what is true, RIGHT, pure, lovely, and admirable. Help me to think about the things that are excellent and worthy of praise. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
Women’s Ministry Director
First Baptist Broken Arrow