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Entries in accusation (6)


How we accuse our hearts of all kinds of things...

Too often, when we talk about "the heart," we tend to view the heart as our entire internal world; that is, anything and everything that's going on inside of us - whether good, bad or ugly.  This catch-all, kitchen sink view of the heart has led us in some really unhelpful directions. 

Notice how we often frame what's going on inside of us:

  1. "I had to really examine the motives of my heart."

  2. "My stubbornness means that I have a 'divided heart.'"

  3. "You haven't given your whole heart to God."

In each of these instances, the accusation is clear:  Your heart will mislead you.  It is not to be trusted.

This simply isn't true. Your new and noble heart isn't capable of deceiving you or leading you astray.  Let's look at each claim:

1.  "I had to really examine the motives of my heart." 
Yes, you may have poor motives in this or that situation, but those corrupt motives are not originating from your new heart:  They emanate from your flesh - the old programming left over by your old self, or the "old man."  That old self is no longer here; but it's imprint was left behind.  That is where your faulty motives lie.

Another source of bad motives comes from the virus that lives in your body:  sin.  Notice that I didn't say your "sin nature."  Why?  Because you no longer have a sin-nature.  After your sin-nature was removed at conversion, there remained a sin virus that can leave collateral damage in its wake, but it cannot become you; and it isn't you; just as you might have the flu, but are not the virus itself.

A third source of bad motives comes from the Enemy of our hearts.  The foul beings will quietly come up beside you and whisper in your ear all manner of wicked things, and pin those thoughts on you!

2.  "My stubbornness means that I have a 'divided heart.'" 
No.  You don't have a divided heart.  Your new spirit [heart/will] may be in conflict with your flesh, but your heart [true nature] itself is united with Christ and inseparable from his nature.  There is no separation between your heart and his: One cannot be distinguished from the other.  As Luther declared, “You are so entirely joined unto Christ, that He and you are made as it were one person; so that you may boldly say, ‘I am one with Christ,’ that is to say, Christ’s righteousness, victory, and life are mine.”  Because his heart cannot be divided, yours cannot be divided.

3.  "You haven't given your whole heart to God." 
False.  It was never about giving your heart to God.  [Surprised?] Jesus wasn't asking you to offer him your old heart:  He was asking you to receive!   The heart you used to have wouldn't have done you or Him much good.  It was beyond repair and needed to be replaced.  Not fixed; but replaced.  "Getting saved" wasn't about offering a ruined and wayward heart to God, hoping that he'd fix it one day:  Rather, it was about receiving a new-hearted nature from God.  It has always been first about receiving.  He doesn't require anything from you that he hasn't already deposited within you. [1]


Try this:  For three days, write down some of your own internal dialogue about your heart and its motives.  What are you accusing your heart of?  What's the real source of those undesirable thoughts or motives?  Then apologize to your heart:  There's no shame in this:  After all, its no longer in your heart to accuse your heart anyway. 


[1] Dwight Edwards, Revolution Within


Wounded By Accusation


Here are some posts I've written that speak to those who find themselves particularly wounded by accusation:  

"Generalized Accusation Disorder:"  My Story



"You're Getting Hit With Accusation - The Warning Signs"



"Conviction is Different Than Accusation"




Especially for introverts:

"Why Accusation Is So Debilitating for Sensitive Hearts"


"Were You a 'High-Reactive/High-Sensitive" Introverted Kid?"

"Introverts and the Church:  The Pain of Performance and Perceptions"






My story: "Generalized Accusation Disorder"

I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd done something wrong.  My parents had taken my sister and I on a cross-country trip during our Junior High years; but I felt chronically guilty for much of it.  I remember driving along a West Virginia highway in our rental car, feeling like the principal had caught me smoking in the bathroom.

But I had done nothing wrong.  There was no sinful choice or shameful act to point to.  My hyper-sensitive conscience was creating a smear campaign designed to discredit my integrity.  A higher susceptibility to guilt and remorse can also be one of the characteristics of a highly-sensitive or "high-reactive" person.  I was being forced to take the stand in the absence of any proof of guilt.  In fact, if you asked my parents, they would have agreed, "No...Jim didn't do anything wrong.  I'm not sure why he would think that." 

The truth was, even the most staunch Southern Baptist could have examined my motives and actions then and found nothing immoral - but I was convinced there was something I'd done wrong. During the months we traveled across country, the oppressive guilt remained like a hall monitor scanning the halls for the wayward student.

What I call "Generalized Accusation Disorder" - this entrenched and unjustified belief that I was guilty of something, anything-  stole my childhood joy in those long months.  I'll never get that time back.


Accusation is designed to disable.
Accusation will disable a person more quickly than almost anything else.  It's no wonder the enemy of your heart favors it as his preferable toxin. 

Even in my late fourties now, I'll experience a similar sensation when watching a crime drama:  "That's where you'll wind up someday, Jim.  Just like the man who compromised his integrity one too many times.  Someday, you'll cross that threshold as well ...and the iron bars will slam shut behind you."

Or, that vicarious guilt I feel when a close friend gets divorced because he's shattered his family through an affair that neither he nor we saw coming:  "Jim, what makes you think you're stronger than your own friend?  Why would you be able to resist sexual temptation when he couldn't?" 

Accusation's deceptive voice:
Accusation will disable the truth about your good and noble heart faster than anything else.  Why?  Because it comes disguised as "humility" and a "contrite heart."  Accusation wants you to believe that, "therefore, by the the grace of God, go I."  Accusation creates suspicion:  "Is your heart really as noble as you think it is?  Are you really a 'new creation' possessed by the goodness of God?"

Accusation masquerades as healthy remorse or "good guilt."  Though healthy remorse and repentance are often truly helpful, accusation is a trick of deception.  It's message:  "Your heart is the problem.  There is more than the act of sin here...because there is the condition of sinfulness.

It is a lie.  Your enemy will even have you believe it is the Spirit's own voice of "conviction."  Even if you have sinned, Generalized Accusation Disorder will have you camp there in the mess, rather than celebrate a new God-given purity and noble goodness waiting to be released from your new heart.

Ally, not enemy.
Trust the goodness of your God-given new heart.  Your heart is now your ally, not your enemy. 

*The book I wrote, RECOVER YOUR GOOD HEART, may be particularly helpful for those of you who have suffered with "Generalized Accusation Disorder."  


Were you a "high-Reactive" introverted kid? [High-Reactives: Part-two]

Here's part two on "high-reactive" people, and the unique ways in which they suffer as well as can do well in the world.  Excerpts from Quiet:  The Power of Introverts In a World That Can't Stop Talking.

High-reactive kids and adults:
Although much of the research with "high-reactives"  has been done with kids, "the footprint of a high- or low-reactive temperament never disappeared in adulthood" when those same persons were tested in adulthood. 

In other words, you certainly have the free-will to change some parts of your personality, but certain aspects will follow you into old age.  According to the "rubber band theory" of personality, we can stretch our personalities to a degree, but they'll always snap back to a preferred default position.

More characteristics of a "high-reactive" temperament:

  • These kids are more at risk when there's "marital tension, a parent's death, or abuse.  They're more likely than their peers to react to these events with depression, anxiety, and shyness." 

  • But there's a beneficial side to having high-reactive kids - especially if they're parented well under a stable environment:  These kids will "tend to have fewer emotional problems and more social skills than their lower-reactive peers, studies show."  They can even be more resistant to the common cold when in a nurturing environment.

  • These children [and presumably as they grow into adulthood] are often "exceedingly empathic, caring, and cooperative.  They are kind, conscientious, and easily disturbed by cruelty, injustice, and irresponsibility." 

According to Jay Belsky, "'Instead of seeing these kids as vulnerable to adversity, parents should see them as malleable - for worse, but also for better.'"  The ideal parent for a high-reactive child:

  • "can read you cues and respect your individuality;"
  • "is warm and firm in placing demands on you without being harsh or hostile;"
  • "is not harsh, neglectful, or inconsistent."


Creating a new environment for high-reactives [and probably everyone else as well]

As I read this research, it was obvious to me that "high-reactives" in particular need a grace-filled environment  - absent of accusation and shame.   Certainly, though, everyone could benefit from gracious relationships; but particularly "high-reactives." 


  • Respond without reactivity.
  • Refrain from controlling and accusing.
  • Confront [when necessary] with information, not condemnation.
  • Celebrate the new heart in the other before jumping in.


Related posts:


What about you?
What did you experience as a "high-reactive" kid?  How has it carried over into adulthood and what benefit has it brought you?


Why accusation is so debilitating for "sensitive" hearts.

I have a particular empathy for those who are "sensitive" and tender-hearted - particularly because they are more vulnerable to accusation, or even perceived accusation, than most.  It's probably one the reasons I wrote, RECOVER YOUR GOOD HEART

I also happen to be one of those "sensitive types."  It's not surprising that I'm a writer and a solo piano artist, callings that require introspection and a willingness to feel deeply.  My mentors are books and my piano is my therapist.

In her extraordinary book, Quiet:  The Power of Introverts In A world That Can't Stop Talking," Susan Cain lays out the research on people called "High Reactives," a trait that often corresponds to introversion but not always.   These children and adults "react" more intensely to changes or perceived threats in their environments than "low-reactives" do.

Here are some characteristics of "high-reactives:"

  •  Sensitive nature
  • May be “quicker than others to feel sickened by violence and ugliness,  and likely to have a strong  conscience.” 
  • Will experience a “more intense mix of guilt and sorrow than a lower-reactive kid.” “High-reactive kids seem to see and feel things more.”
  • "...The reactivity of these kids' nervous systems makes them quickly overwhelmed by childhood adversity, but also able to benefit from a nurturing environment more than other children do." 
  • “High-reactive types …are more like orchids:  they wilt easily, but under the right conditions can grow strong and magnificent.”

My own opinion, based on reading these findings, is that accusation will do more injury to a "high-reactive" because they're likely to feel a "more intense mix of guilt and sorrow" and more likely to internalize perceived accusation, even when it's not their fault.

Yet, there's a hidden blessing to functioning as a "high-reactive:"  Others will likely benefit from your courageous, yet tender heart.  People need your vulnerability and ability to feel deeply with them.  You'll also benefit from knowing just how tender and kind-hearted Jesus can be.

I'll share more characteristics of "high-reactives" in the next post.


You're getting hit with accusation -- the warning signs

Warning sign #1: The conversation centers around compliance -- getting you yield to an alleged standard of thought or behavior of some sort. This could be compliance to church standards of "holiness" or to corporate standards that determine how things have always been done. Or, this could be unspoken expectations one picks up from one's family of origin and carries into the job, the marriage, the parenting.  Or, you may have adopted a more healthy set of expections, but your family hasn't. 

Warning sign #2: The accuser needs to be right-- at the expense of the relationship.

Warning sign #3: Spiritual arrogance masquerading as "love." ("I'm only saying this because I love you and want what's best for you.") Hmmm...that's not what I'm picking up here...

Warning sign #4: Fight or flight? You either want to fight or run. You're wounded and want to place as much distance between you and your accuser as possible, but you don't want them to get away with it, either.  Paralysis?  Retaliation?  "Feeling overwhelmed....loosing my spiritual footing."

What about you? What have you experienced when you've been under accusation's sting?