The sinful actions that we took a look at yesterday don’t just spring out of nowhere. They come from our sinful thoughts and attitudes. Today we will examine some of these, represented by the branches and the trunk of our tree graphic.
In our example yesterday, we labeled our tree with three outward actions: yelling, lying, and tuning others out. Today we want to ask what thoughts and attitudes lead to these actions. In the cases of yelling and lying, we might find that these really spring from a fear of being rejected by others. We might be yelling to try to justify ourselves—to somehow “get through to them” that we are in the right. And we might lie to make ourselves look better in the eyes of other people or to avoid conflict. If these are the thoughts and attitudes that produced these actions, then you would write “Fear of rejection” on the trunk or branch of the tree graphic. In the case of tuning others out, it might come from a self-focus, or seeing yourself as the most important person. If that is so, you would write “Self-focus” and “Self most important” on the trunk or branches of the tree graphic.
Begin to ask yourself today what you are thinking. What are the thoughts and feelings that are behind your actions? Yesterday, you may have been able to list some of the outward signs of sin, such as losing your temper, being critical, or wasting your time in front of the TV. Now go back to your tree and fill in not only the fruit of sinful behaviors, but also the thought processes that produced the fruit. (Use the printed images from Day 1 or draw a simple tree. Use today’s image as a sample to follow.) Here are a few questions to help trigger your thinking:
Are you consumed by what others think of you?
Are you concerned that you aren’t measuring up?
Do you feel the need to be perfect?
Are you distracted by the television, the internet, shopping?
Are you feeling sorry for yourself?
Are you afraid? Worried?