“Cognitive dissonance is a term for the state of discomfort felt when two or more modes of thought contradict each other. The clashing cognitions may include ideas, beliefs, or the knowledge that one has behaved in a certain way.”
You can’t go through life and never experienced Cognitive Dissonance (CD). Its insignificant that we have CD, but as to how we handle CD. From Biblical Christian values, its not counted as sin to be honestly wrong, its only a sin to be a false witness, use faulty weights and measures, or suppress the truth in unrighteousness (such as making a judgement without evidence or in spite of evidence). This seems to be particularly true with pet theologies and histories that contradict ones beliefs.
Is CD the same thing as Hypocrisy? The short answer is, “Not necessarily”. But it has the potential to grow into more serious mental illnesses such as hypocrite. Anytime there is anxiety due to the dynamic tension between two opposing ideas, and one of those ideas the holder is emotionally attached and alots more weight through a presuppositional prejudice is Cognitive Dissonance. This WILL lead to twisting of Sacred Scripture and distortion of facts.
We must acknowledge there are people that carry mental and emotional burdens, and dealing with heavy loads and aren’t in a position to resolve more complicated business. But we can still guide as the Holy Spirit directs with love and patience, especially as it pertains to righteousness.
For example: A man who learns that his eating habits raise his risk of illness feels the tension between his preferred behavior and the idea that he could be in danger. If he says, “I know its killing me, but I don’t care”, that is Not CD. But he may try to tell himself, “no weapon formed shall prosper, so I shall not suffer harm”, if he has any weight in his balance then he knows that by denying the facts is only lying to himself and he will have to eventually pay the price. He may begin to feel uncomfortable if he views himself as a fundamentally honest person. But when it involves other people and harm or misguidance of other people, that is sin and violence against the Kingdom of Yah.
As Christians we KNOW the Bible is the Word of Yah and is our Ultimate Authority. Not changing your diet is no sin (unless that person is violating the dietary instructions). But we don’t have to guess about what our Creator expects in this regard:
- Exodus 20:16
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
- Deuteronomy 25:15-16
But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
- Exodus 23:1
Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
- Leviticus 19:16
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor: I am the LORD.
- 1Peter 2:1
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
Another dynamic is if he isn’t sure if the facts are true. Yes there is some CD but he is correct to first weigh all the evidence before making a judgment. I have personally held 2 conflicting ideas for YEARS, others for months, others can be vetted in minutes. But when Im not sure about a matter, I try to always express that to the hearers.
How Should We Handle Our Own CD?
You REPENT! If you are holding a false belief about yourself or others, stop doing that. Turn away from the lie. Do your best to repair any damage you may have caused by your indiscretion. Then PRAISE your heavenly Father for guiding you with His Holy Spirit and revealing this confusion to you.
If you are in a state of CD and are not sure about the facts, then reserve your judgment. You can NOT make claims without knowledge. But there are times when you HAVE to make a judgment without facts. For example, you may not be sure which Biblical Calendar is the correct calendar, but if you make NO JUDGEMENT then you cannot KEEP THE COMMANDMENT! This is called a “Moral Dilemma” and beyond the scope of this article, only to say, you would take into account all the Father has Revealed to you up to that point and make your BEST judgment call.
What If You Are The Brunt Of Someone Else’s CD?
If you are targeted because you call out someones sin, or warn them of a false teacher, etc… If they get angry for it, then your not talking to the person, you are dealing with their flesh. We all have UNCRUSIFIED FLESH, thats why we need good brothers, its part of the definition of “edification and correction”. At other times, you may be dealing with a false Christian who has crept in unawares (thats a very serious charge, I would be slow to make that accusation). And you will come across people who are outright demonized.
The man that cant let go of his pet belief, in light of contradictory evidence, is a man that can’t repent. There is no such of a thing as a Christian that can’t repent. That man will walk through life building faith in something he knows is incorrect. Men with that kind of faith are quick to denounce their faith when faced with the prospect of being fed to hungry lions, buried alive, burnt at the stake, or hung on crosses.
Forgiveness and Repentance Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin
This topic is again beyond this simple article, but a very valuable topic. Forgiveness and Repentance is Christianity 101. Its basic milk of the word… so the idea is simple, but a lifetime to master. Here are a few biblical concepts you may enjoy:
Forgive that man struggling with his flesh and trying to overcome CD:
- Forgiveness does not mean the matter is settled
- Forgiveness does not mean you forget and let your guard down
- Forgiveness does not mean you will NOT have to set new healthy boundaries
- Forgiveness does not mean you are now friends
- Forgiveness does not mean you have to let them in you life
- Forgiveness does not mean you endorse what happened
- Forgiveness does not require reconciliation
- Forgiveness means you are not going to allow it to control you
- Forgiveness means you let go of all debt and release the offender and pray they will on their own repent.
- Forgiveness means you will not allow emotions to damage you, especially anger, resentment, or self pity.
- Forgiveness means you accept the loss, and have made peace with it
Forgiveness is NOT A FEELING
Forgiveness is counting a sin debt owed to you as fully paid. If you forgive someone and you are still upset about it, then you did infact forgive, but you are now struggling with YOUR OWN uncrisified flesh.
When doing your own research on the matter, I would strongly suggest STAY AWAY from rainbow gummy bear psychologist. Look for a stable Christian preferably who has a legitimate education in the field or has written a book on it. A strong bible based, righteous walking man who has experience and has been around the sun at least 45 times.
The Spiritual Mind
Have you ever felt angry about something, but then (and usually later) you feel small about feeling angry over that situation?
Almost like rising above yourself and observing yourself as you go through life, doing things and feeling feelings and thinking thoughts. But like a Higher Spiritual you, you look down and have different thoughts about your own thoughts, or different and sometimes contradictory feelings about your own feelings?
Yes, I know that just sounded pseudo-psychedelic. Maybe I dont’ have the right words to express that properly… all it means is to filter our behaviors and thoughts through the Christian Bible. We cant do that unless read and learn those glorious Words. And we will not believe those glorious Words, until we “make them our own” by dying to self and putting on the nature of Yah (walking by His Holy Spirit).
Christians allow the Word of the Living God to be our moral compass as His Great Spirit gives us revelation. If you haven’t don’t so yet, memorize the 10 Commandments, and when you are ready to taste the Goodness of Yah, never break those again. Then add to you knowledge, here a little there a little, precept upon precept.
I write this article for me and those like me. Pray I will learn to take my own good advice.