Once, as I was researching youth behavior, I came across a term called “cognitive dissonance.” When the human mind has conflicting thoughts, or information, we have a human tendency to resolve our conflict by eliminating one or the other so we can formulate an opinion. Cognitive dissonance is when we are not able to do this, so our cognitive thoughts create dissonance (conflict or clash). In child development, we begin life with simple interpretations, assuming what we have been told by our parents and authority figures is true. Our confidence in our caregivers gives us a sense of peace that comes from the inner assurance that they know what they are talking about. As we grow, and begin to have a desire to formulate our own opinions, we can have conflict if those opinions are contrary to what we once believed to be true. Oftentimes, for teenagers, this leads to open rebellion or living a double life. We live our own life; then have this other life we live for the benefit of our parents.
The word hypocrisy means to have a double life. This is something we learn at an early age, so hypocrisy is normal in the human condition. We do this so we can choose a side, and be comfortable in our minds, as we do not want to deal with opposing thoughts. After a while, your brain will make you see what you want to see based on your choice. This has created an enigma in our present society. The people in our society, who claim to be open-minded and accepting, are very angry and militant against people who disagree with them. Their minds tell them that this is the way it should be, because there can be no openness when so-called closed-minded people are around. This has led to a very closed-minded attitude in our world, but the people cannot reconcile the conflict in their mind; so in reality, they are acting out the actions they despise in other people. The mind has a way of playing tricks on us. This is the reason our mind cannot be the ultimate place of choice. Our mindsets are more powerful than our ability for free choice. The end result is bondage…where the things we want to do, or even be, are impossible.
The Burden and Victory Belong to God!
As Christians, we must understand God’s way. The scripture tells us that there is a spirit in man, the “God Breath,” that gives us understanding. We should realize that we have been given the ability for understanding deeper than human, or natural, thought. Our spirit should give us the capacity to be inspired for behavior even when our mind is in “cognitive dissonance.” In our present time, our society needs Christian engagement. We are called to be salt and light in our world. America needs an awakening, and it must come from the people of God. In Isaiah 52 it says, “Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!” Note: “Arise and Sit down.” That is an oxymoron. Talk about cognitive dissonance! This means that at the time we are called to arise and take action, we must do this from a position of rest. This is possible if we fully believe God sits on the throne of heaven, and rules in both heaven and earth.
Faith says that although I must do my part, the one who makes it happen is God. My involvement in the affairs of the world is not personal; so let’s stop taking everything personally! I am involved for Christ because He has called me to do so; the burden and the victory belong to God. I don’t look at the other side as my opponent or the enemy. Through my spiritual understanding, I see them as candidates for the kingdom of God. I am not trying to beat them, but rescue them. I am not fighting for my life; I am giving my life. Does this sound like somebody you know? It reminds me of my Savior, Jesus Christ. In Psalm 17 is it says, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” My end game is not to win, but to be like Jesus! Will you join me?