Understanding Identity. Day three...
Let's say an unmarked car pulls up behind me at a stoplight in my hometown. Suddenly, the music on my radio is drowned out by a voice over a loud speaker saying, “Please step out of the vehicle and place your hands on the roof!” Do I respond or do I ignore?
In looking at the vehicle through my mirror, I see no evidence that this is an official law enforcement vehicle—no extra antennas, no government license plates. So when the light turns green, I continue through the intersection, making sure I follow the traffic laws, and drive right up to the front door of the nearest police station.
If, however, the voice had come from a clearly identifiable law enforcement vehicle, I would have stepped out of my car and put my hands on the roof, as requested.
What's the difference? Authority! The same words—spoken with authority—have a different result.
The words we hear from an authority figure have a different effect on us than the words we hear coming from a source with no authority.
But we have trouble understanding who is telling us the truth based on real authority and who's not—going all the way back to childhood.
And add to it the reality that some authority figures in our lives didn't/don't necessarily speak to us from a position of truth—but from a position of lies (a negligent parent or some other influential person, for instance).
As an example, the negative effects on a child's future should be obvious from foolish statements such as these, made by foolish parents:
- You're just as worthless as your dad!
- You'll never amount to anything!
- Are you so stupid you can't figure out such a simple thing?
- You're the laziest kid I've ever been around!
- If you live to be thirty it will be some sort of miracle!
But the negative effects on a child's future are not so obvious, when foolish words are spoken by people having no real authority in the child's life… but are treated by the child as if they did.
And as children, we had great difficulty telling the difference between the words spoken over us with authority and those spoken without. “Who was telling us the truth?”
“You're so stupid!” coming from the seven‐year old you had a crush on in second grade didn't necessarily get cancelled out by hearing “You're so smart!” coming from the teacher. In other words, insults by irresponsible classmates carried as much weight in our young minds as compliments by responsible adults. And if you add to this mix parents who dished out the verbal put‐downs as easily as the compliments, can you see how we enter into adulthood with some confusion over whose words to take seriously?
As adults, whose words should we take seriously?
Several years ago an employee of mine asked me to play the piano and sing during her marriage ceremony. Just a few days after the wedding, she had the marriage annulled. The parents of the groom lived in the same town where my factory was located. Somehow, they were convinced that I had something to do with the annulment, and vowed to put me out of business.
I was certainly irritated by their irrational behavior, and I did have to deal with the Department of Natural Resources after they complained to the agency about some supposed violation regarding my factory. But other than that, the very short‐term in‐laws of my employee had no long‐term effect on me because they had no authority over me.
But I could have just as easily looked over my shoulder for months—feeling threatened by the words this couple spoke over me. And I would have, if I hadn't intentionally refused to give their words any authority in my life.
Are you convinced of the power in all the words spoken over you?
I realize this is difficult because most of us can't even remember what was spoken over us. But I can assure you that you live with the effects of those words each and every day.
I am not suggesting that you intentionally dig into your past and dredge up all the lies. No… God will do that when necessary.
I am, however, suggesting that you intentionally dig into the words you are both hearing and speaking right now—today—and discern truth from fiction.
How do you tell the difference?
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)
The words that have life in them are truth and have their authority in God. The words that steal, kill, and destroy have no life in them and have no authority from God… and consequently, no authority over you.
Have a good day,