For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… Proverbs 23:7
I like to play with words and phrases. A particular one recently popped up in my mind: “the benefit of the doubt.”
We’ve heard this expression before. It denotes largesse, a generosity to not write off a person or circumstance so quickly. As it rolled around in my spirit, its opposite phrase sprung to life: the detriment of certainty.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
The old adage goes, “there’s no reality, only perception.” And, indeed, isn’t perception a major element in addiction? Genetics, brain chemistry and predisposition factors aside, aren’t we also altered by our personal view of life?
… “According to your faith be it unto you.” Matthew 9:29
Doesn’t this influence us as to whether or not we reach for something external?
Faith, be it positive or negative faith, plays its role in self-fulfilling prophecy. Scripture gives us examples of both persuasions. It’s not to judge someone for their so-called faith failings. Rather, it’s to illuminate the reality of our human condition.
We have the capacity for faith, every single one of us…
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3
That, I think, may be the first pit stop to where we get off track. Some of us believe we don’t have “enough” faith, we don’t possess “the right kind” of faith and do not execute our faith “as we’re supposed to.”
But we’re all in faith school. Each of us is on some personal learning curve. Many of us have to unlearn some harmful stuff before we even begin to apply a healthier version of this attribute. ALL of this is messy, sometimes embarrassing and frustrating. And no one gets it exactly perfect.
Yet, “the detriment of certainty” can kick around in our brains, convincing us only the bleak outcome is that bankable sure thing for our health, our recovery and every aspect of our lives and destinies.
“The detriment of certainty,” a/k/a, a negative faith perspective, purports it’s hopeless. Scripture tells us human beings can have their tendency to go to the worst case scenario almost instantly.
“…We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” Numbers 13:31
And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size… We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:32-33
“The detriment of certainty” usually has its favorite words uttered, muttered or thought within our sentences: “can’t,” “won’t,” “should” or “shouldn’t” (take your judge-y, situational pick).
We’re all guilty of possessing negative faith. However, it can be a stepping stone to our educational, spiritual experience as human beings, provided we don’t stop and camp at the disempowering site.
And, even though this may sound like exhausting and frustrating news, it is, indeed, good news for each of us. We don’t have to remain stuck where we are. We can continue the transformation process.
Scripture, likewise, also tackles the more positive approach in what and how we believe. This exists when we choose to operate from “the benefit of the doubt,” of our imperfect faith.
“…Go! As you have believed, so will it be done for you.” And his servant was healed at that very hour. Matthew 8:13
“…Take courage, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was cured from that very hour. Matthew 9:22
We are believing something. It’s ever fluctuating. Sometimes, we’re struggling, especially concerning the myriad of issues surrounding our addictions.
Sometimes, we can only wallow in the imaginations which declare we are not “enough” to deserve, practice and live healing.
And, if that is where we find ourselves, Scripture has its healing balm of reassurance to even that “perceived certainty…”
“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.” Matthew 12:20
Spirituality is never far away from choice.
“… Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He asked.
“Yes, Lord,” they answered. Matthew 9:28
Maybe, getting real, without any pretty red spiritual bows tied on, we are not honestly responding with a “yes.” Maybe our choice is the bleak “no.”
And, to that, I say, even that defined “poor choice” is not beyond the Most High’s reach.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
~William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”
Or, if Shakespeare doesn’t do it for you, how about this?
But as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9