"A self-fulfilling prophecy
is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become
true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive
feedback between belief and behavior. A positive or negative prophecy,
strongly held belief, or delusion—declared as truth when it is actually
false—may sufficiently influence people so that their reactions
ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy."
"Any positive or negative
expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a
person's behaviour toward them in a manner that causes those
expectations to be fulfilled." (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/self-fulfilling-prophecy.html).
If we look for good in ourselves and others we find good,
If we look for bad in ourselves and others we find bad.
People sometimes act out the expectations that the others put on them.
If someone is seen as quiet and boring, that person will be excluded
from social activities that provide some opportunities to develop
We unconsciously build mental pictures (true or false) of the world and
the others in it based on our own experiences when we interact with
others. The way we see of ourselves and others are based on those
experiences and mostly determines how we treat ourselves and others.
This can lead to a kind of circular thinking and behaviour. For
example, if a teacher is falsely told that Fred is bright and Bob is a
slow learner, Fred will be treated differently to the Bob. The other
students may treat Fred/Bob the same way the teacher treats them. Fred
will more likely feel respected, and therefore have confidence in
himself (valued), and Bob may develop a lack of respect, value, and
confidence in himself and others (devalued). If I have been treated
badly or abused by others, I may lack the confidence to develop
friendships and relationships. Alternatively I may strike out at others
in anger and pain and treat others the way I have been treated.
A feeling of belonging
God has made us social animals. Yes, there are people that live unhappy
or solitary lives, but if we have an opportunity to have a look into
their lives, we may find the reasons why...
Family history (Generational curses)
- A sin that is passed down through generations. Love of
money, control of others, depression, family illnesses may be passed
on. Where there is no love in the relationship between mother and
father or a child is born out of lust, greed or abusive/controlling
desires, that child may suffer.
- Negative traits or habits in your life that have been in
your family line for generations such as greed, alcoholism, verbal or
physical abuse, pornography, racism, bitterness, or fear.
Learn from parents
- Parents may say to their children:
- "You are no good."
- "You are to be seen and not heard."
- "You cannot do that." "You will hurt yourself." The child
may never climb a tree, swim, or ride a bike because of what he/she
have been told.
- "Don’t play with those children (Aborigine, Chinese, Muslim, etc.) they are no good."
- Children that are not loved/wanted are left alone and may become withdrawn and reclusive.
- Children that are over protected may become insecure and unconfident in themselves in the real world.
- Mum or dad may love you but do not know how to show it.
- Have preference for one child which leads to jealously, competition etc.
- Family pecking order. Last child gets the hand me downs.
- Born into a privileged family and used to being served.
- Age differences in children.
- Sibling rivalry.
Daughters may marry their fathers and sons may marry their mothers
- When a child is growing up he/she learns about the world and
others from their parents. They feel a sense of comfort and familiarity
in those relationships (whether good or bad), and, when they get older
they may feel a sense of comfort and familiarity in a potential partner
who shares similar characteristics as their parents.
- Children who have been abused may find themselves with
abusive partners. Alternatively, they may be attracted to someone who
has the opposite personality, e.g.: a shy person may marry an outgoing
social person, an intellectual person may marry a not so intellectual
person or, a rich person may marry a poor person.
Follow in someone’s footsteps (role models)
- Children are innocent and often identify with someone that
shows any interest in them. They can take on the positive or negative
characteristics of that person.
- Children that have no parents are particularly vulnerable to bad influences.
- Young adults may find life so miserable that they prefer to live in a retreat or alone or even resort to suicide.
Our body chemistry
- Our hormones often get in the way of love. When we are
attacked our adrenalin kicks in and we often go into fight/flight mode.
This opens the door for a spirit of unforgiveness, violence etc.
- Stress can cause a lot emotional damage. We often live with
a lot of stress day to day. Family issues, sickness, work problems
etc., all brake our spirit one by one, just as the last straw broke the
- Emotional burnout can happen when we become obsessed with an
idea or activity. We need to take some time out and spend some time
with people we love and care about.
- Being alone, lack of exercise or involvement in something
negative can allow the mind to wander in all sorts of unhealthy
Peer groups (peer pressure)
- We become the company we keep.
- We all have a need to belong and be a part of a group.
Sometimes the values of the group become more important than our own
values and we find ourselves doing things we would not normally do to
fit in to the group.
- Sometimes our hopes and dreams are taken away from us by
doubters or scoffers to keep the balance of the group or dominate
others (alpha male mentality).
The world we live in
- We assume others know what we are thinking or doing.
- We interpret words and actions differently to what was intended.
- We become institutionalised into a set way of thinking.
- We are constantly bombarded with messages that we need to buy stuff to make us happy.
- We have to have the latest car or the biggest house to show others that we are important and valued.
- We like to control others or put others down to make ourselves feel better/important.
- We compare ourselves to others. "The grass is greenest on
the other side of the fence." Outward appearances become important and
we strive to be someone/something we are not.
- We all see the world through different eyes (but not
always). Males may have a practical bias, and females may have a
maternal bias. An artist may see the world as colours, design and
beauty. A teacher may see the world as rules and regulations. We become
disheartened others do not accept us for who we are.
- We go through life with a "chip" on our shoulder. We fight
others for our rights. We act as if the world is against us. We create
enemies by treating others as our enemy.
- We become lost and confused and look to alcohol/drugs to keep us going.
Social stigma (Labeling)
- Valued labels
- Hero, role model
- Talented etc.
- Devalued labels
- Train wreck
- Is a user
- Has backslidden
- Slow learner etc.
It is possible for any person to be valued/devalued for any reason in
any community. Some studies were done with school children a few years
ago where the class was divided into groups (Jane Elliott's Blue
Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise). Children were divided into two groups, those
with blue eyes and those with brown eyes. The group with blue eyes were
told that they were in control and superior to the brown eyed group.
The results clearly showed that people become disadvantaged quite
easily. Doesn’t this happen in the churches and other places today?
Just as Muslims were targeted a few years ago because they may be
terrorists, all Muslims became disadvantaged. The same thing has
happened to the Jews and any number of other groups of people. The same
thing can happen in any community. If I wear my P.J's to work (which
has happened in America) I am seen as someone who is different. In some
communities a particular characteristic can be an advantage. While I
was traveling around the Northern Territory I certainly felt like a
second class person in the shops. I spent some time living in an
Aboriginal community and it took a while to become accepted as a part
of their community. If a group of people are treated as superior to
another group, they will feel important and do not tolerate any attempt
of the members of the inferior group to be treated equally.
Male/Female, White/Black, Catholic/Protestant, Christians/Muslims.
Just as labels can be valued or devalued, the roles that are attributed
to the label can be modified or changed to reinforce a particular
characteristic, to support, justify or legitimise our treatment of a
particular person or group. In all the above examples it can be seen
that if society wants to portray (label) a particular person or group
positively, then the positive characteristics are reinforced, and as a
result a positive role is assigned to the person or group.
Alternatively, if society wants to devalue a person or group, the
negative characteristics of the person or group are reinforced, which
means that the role is devalued. This happens in all parts of society,
both on a conscious and unconscious level. People with high support
needs that do not have the support structures to provide for their
needs are often seen as a burden on society and as a result are
assigned labels and roles that describe their circumstances. A person
that has a mental illness, for example, may be accommodated in a
hospital because that is the setting that is most able to accommodate
the person's needs.
Society unconsciously associates the picture of a hospital with all
people with a mental illness and, as a result, that label and the
associated roles are assigned to the person or group.
The bible is full of examples of people that have been victimised
because they have stepped outside the excepted ways of behaviour. Jesus
was the greatest example of victimisation. He was seen as a threat to
the established ways and was treated as such (the mob mentality). The
story of Job also shows how disadvantaged people are treated
The story of the Good Samaritan shows us that love goes beyond class or
labels. Jesus was describing the difference between a Religious Spirit
(conditional love) and a Christian Spirit (unconditional love), i.e.
the Samaritan had more love for his fellow man than the Jews. Self-
The greedy and the needy
Yes there are greedy people out there. But who are we to judge them? We
don’t know their history or situation. Just as the rich man asked Jesus
"what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life" Jesus asked
him has he done this and that and the reply was "Yes". Jesus’s reply
was to "give all your money away". These are the very people that need
to feel loved the most. Instead of judging them, when we meet greedy
people we should plant a seed of giving and encourage them share with
others. We should show them that there is another way to live and that
money or possessions are not everything. "A person cannot live on bread
alone". If we see others as greedy, bad, up to no good, lazy, full of
pride, useless, hopeless etc., we should try to find something positive
and try to bring out that quality. We may be surprised what we find.
Just as the fisherman who gave a person fish, could have said to
himself "that person is a greedy/lazy good for nothing bludger" and
told him to go somewhere else. Instead, the fisherman showed him
forgiveness, patience and kindness (love), and showed him how to catch
fish. The person was empowered and had more control of his life. He
also had the opportunity to empower others.
What is Love?
Unconditional Love: patience, forgiveness, letting go, empathy, compassion, nurturing, persistent.
Conditional Love: Agape, Phileo, Storge, and Eros.
If we are confused, lonely, feeling down or unloved, we need to be in a
warm supportive and loving atmosphere. We need to feel safe. We need
the support of someone we love (husband, wife, brother, sister or
friend etc.). We need the fellowship with others who care.
"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not
self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always
protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1
Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV))
We can say to each other "God loves you", but the real question is "Do
we really love each other as we are loved"? Our love for God is
reflected in our love for each other and our love for each other is
reflected in our love for God. Love is more than a feeling, it is an
action that is felt in one person to another. We feel loved because we
know we are loved, and, we know we are loved because we feel loved.
Love gives us the confidence to enjoy the things we have been given and
to share with others. If we have love, other things become less
important to us. If we have an unconditional (Gods) love for each other
there will be no need for prophecy, tongues or knowledge (1 Corinthians
Only a small start can lead to something greater.
Find your balance in life
Whatever happens in life there is always going to be the good, the bad
and the ugly. The trick is to learn to find your balance and accept
what happens and deal with it appropriately. Of course there are going
to be times when you hurt others, or are hurt and, learning the
triggers and ways to deal with these are important.
The Chinese have a philosophy of yin and yang; that everything is
balanced by its opposite, and when these opposites get out of alignment
then serious problems can occur. This view is supported in the bible.
God gave us the choice between good and evil. If there was no evil
there would be no good, just as you cannot have day without night. Do
we not look forward to the winter when the summer days are 40+ degrees?
If the climate was warm, still and comfortable all the time, wouldn’t
we find some complaint and get sick of it.
Just as Solomon had everything and lacked nothing, found no joy in
life, we to, will take it all for granted and look for something else.
Doesn’t God mix things up to keep us alive? When we have the bad, it is
to remind us, and be thankful, of the good. If life is always good we
become complacent and take it for granted.
God did not make us perfect for a reason. We have free will here. We
can choose to live in greed and hate or we can live in sharing and
love. Most of us live with a balance of both. We need to have a certain
amount of greed to ensure our survival, but we also need to be able to
share with others to give life meaning.