Why do we have a strong urge to protect ourselves? What are some things we are protecting? For example, most of us want to protect our reputations, physical comfort, egos, heart, and so on. But, if you are in a physically abusive situation, you need to protect yourself and seek a safe place to go. Often, we do not help someone because we fear for our safety, especially in a high-crime area. That kind of protection is reasonable. Unhealthy protection develops because of emotional pain. When we set up walls to protect our hearts, it also prevents us from showing kindness, and I will explain why.
Every experience we have in life affects our perspective going forward. Our perspectives create healthy and unhealthy beliefs. For example, if someone wearing a black ski hat robs you, that will change how you view everyone wearing a black ski hat. Do you see what I mean? My website is about changing unhealthy beliefs to experience a new reality. What we think and say comes from what we believe, which directs our attitudes and behaviors. Our choices determine how healthy our relationships will be. In this series of posts, I will expose the unhealthy beliefs that control our lives and how to transform them with the truth to experience a new reality.
What is the purpose of protective beliefs?
I can only speak for myself, but my experience should be similar to many others if I am like the typical human. My unhealthy protection belief began very early because I grew up in a volatile, unstable home, so I had to protect myself to survive my childhood. I will not discuss the many ways we protect ourselves because there are many ways. Let God show you and ask Him to heal the painful memories that developed your protective behaviors.
Protecting our hurting hearts is similar to putting a cast on a broken arm. The cast protects the arm so it can heal. But once the arm mends, the cast has to come off; otherwise, your arm can’t grow normally because of the restriction. In the same way, we need protection while our hearts heal, but if we don’t remove those protections, it will cripple our ability to show love and kindness.
The biblical truths I share in this post are difficult to apply in our strength, especially when we are hurting from an evil done against us. We need to depend on Christ’s strength through His Spirit in us. Ephesians 3:16 states, “According to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” Applying these truths through Christ Jesus’s strength and power will remove the restrictive protection beliefs so you can be free to love and be kind.
Where Does the Protection Belief Come From and What is the Truth that Transforms it?
When you are in an unfriendly environment (i.e., work, home, school, and so on), you feel the need to set up boundaries to protect yourself, which may be necessary. We often avoid the unfriendly person or hide, so we do not have to interact with the unkind or hostile person. You may not see the unkind person as an enemy, but dictionary.com (11/06/2021) defines an enemy as “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.” Read my post about how to set healthy boundaries: Healthy Boundaries for Toxic Emotions and People.
The truth: Luke 6:35-36 states, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Fear causes us to develop an unhealthy protection belief, especially irrational fear like prepping, which is preparing for something that may never happen. I have to confess, I have a touch of that myself, especially with the fear that Biden’s vax-mandate will crash our economy when essential workers walk off the job, then we can’t buy food or other essentials (irrational fear, I know). But will my fear prevent me from showing kindness to my neighbor who is hungry and needs food? To learn how to overcome fear, read HOW FEAR CONTROLS YOU! – ANXIETY: Protected by Worry and Fear Strongholds
The truth: Hebrews 13:16 states, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” And Philippians 4:5-7 states, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Betrayal causes us to protect ourselves. I feel betrayed when the people I thought should have loved and protected me are unkind and cruel. We protect our hearts to prevent being betrayed again. Sexual abuse and adultery, I believe, are the worst kind of betrayals. Being betrayed leads to trust and anger issues, which are forms of protection to keep people at a distance. Read my post about how to overcome betrayal: Pt. 1: Forsaken? Betrayed? How to Trust Again.
The truth: Ephesians 4:31-32 states, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
The protection belief generates trust issues. When you are hurt or offended by an unkind word, a breakup, an unfair action, ostracized from a group, criticism, and so on, you naturally protect your heart from being hurt again. This type of protection often results in passive-aggressive behaviors and depression. Unfortunately, we live in an evil world of hurting people who do evil to others. Ask God to show you the ways you were or are hurtful. One of the definitions of evil is being harmful or detrimental (dictionary.com). You can read my post on overcoming trust issues here.
The truth: 1Peter 3:9-11 states, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10For ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.’” And Romans 12:17-18 states, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
A person spreading gossip or who is lying about you produces self-protection reactions. Anytime there is lying, it destroys reputations and relationships. A person who lies, gossips, or slanders has insecurity issues and is easily controlled by the devil. You can learn how to overcome insecurity by reading this post: Freedom from Insecurity, which is Protected by Betrayal and Control Strongholds
The truth: 2Timothy 2:24-26 states, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
All the situations described above cause painful memories and protection beliefs. These painful memories reinforce our need to protect ourselves for years to come. The protection beliefs prevent us from showing genuine kindness to people, especially to those we feel don’t deserve it. Only through the strength and power of the Holy Spirit in us can we overcome and transform the protective strongholds in our lives. The e-book on my website will help you overcome painful memories and unhealthy beliefs. Begin reading 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories
How To Change Unhealthy Beliefs
1. To transform unhealthy beliefs, recognize you have them. Listen to what you are saying and pay attention to your thoughts. Ask God to search your heart and mind to reveal your unhealthy beliefs.
2. Submit the wrong thinking to God and ask Him to show you the truth.
3. Ask God to show you if there is a painful memory controlling your thoughts and decisions.
4. Pray and put off the unhealthy belief controlling your thoughts and put on the truth God shows you from His Word.
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