6 Destructive Lies We Tell Ourselves — And How to Fight Them!

Sometimes we humans seem to act unpredictably or irrationally. But every action has a purpose, rooted in an underlying or “core” belief. Our core beliefs are what guide our behavior.

The way core beliefs are formed is complex. Our environment, the media, our peers, and mostly the homes we grew up in are the major contributors to the things we believe about ourselves and others. Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about this, but the beliefs are there regardless, and contribute greatly to much of our behavior. Core beliefs deeply affect our parenting. For example, if conflict was treated as a problem and swept under the rug in the home I grew up in, then I will likely feel very anxious about conflict and will work hard to avoid it or put a quick stop to it in my children. My core belief may be, “People should be nice and not have conflicts.”

What “tapes” do you play in your head?

The funny thing about core beliefs is that they become almost imperceptible repeating “tapes” that play over and over again in our minds. When we learn to say them out loud they sound almost ridiculous. But they hold power over us until we can replace them with new “tapes” or phrases that grow from truth.

Read more about core beliefs in our book, How to Grow a Connected Family.

An important key to maturing in life and faith is to examine our core beliefs and consider which ones are true and helpful and which ones are not. As we do this we can invite God to keep transforming our beliefs to align with truth. We can learn to live by the new truth phrases and not the old false beliefs. Below is a list of six common unhelpful and even untrue messages many of us grew up with that have become core beliefs in many parents:

  1. You’re most loved when you behave well.
  2. The way things look is what matters.
  3. Parents are responsible for their children’s behavior.
  4. God’s blessings make life work smoothly.
  5. Women are here to serve men.
  6. Kids should obey the first time, every time.

Below is a list of truth phrases and corresponding Bible verses that we’ve seen help parents replace their unhelpful, untrue core beliefs with helpful and true ones. Bookmark this page, or print and post this list where it can serve as a frequent reminder of your value as God’s beloved child. Then join Lynne and I in the ongoing work to let God replace our faulty thinking with his truth!

6 Scriptural Truths to Combat the Lies

Click here for a printer-friendly, downloadable PDF version of this list!

1. Each family member is beloved and treasured by God, despite failings or imperfections.

Romans 8:1 & 37-39,  Ephesians 2:4-5,  1 Thessalonians 3:12, Ephesians 3:16-19

2. What matters is what’s real, the things rooted in faith and love, not pretense.

Galatians 5:6, Psalm 51:6, Luke 11:39

3. My children are responsible for their own behavior.  I am responsible for my behavior.
(The fruit of the Spirit is self­-control, not control of others!)

Matthew 16:27, Romans 14:4, Galatians 5:22-23, Galatians 6:7

4. God is present and working even in our worst situations and will guide and counsel us.

Psalm 73:21-25, Isaiah 43:1-5, Philippians 1:6 & 2:13, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

5. Women are first and foremost disciples – partners with men to serve God’s purposes.

Luke 10:42, Phil 4:3, Genesis 1:27

6. Learning obedience is a process – for us and our kids!
(When we are first-time-every-time obedient to God, our children will gradually learn to do the same.)

Ephesians 6:4, Phil 4:9 (modeling obedience), Colossians 3:20-21

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7 thoughts on “6 Destructive Lies We Tell Ourselves — And How to Fight Them!

  1. I stumbled across your site while I was on Pinterest and I’ve been so incredibly blessed and encouraged by your ministry. Thank you for your service to families and to Christ. Lord bless you!

  2. Struggling with number six. Disobedience to God is a sin — not showing grace to our kids is a sin as well but seems odd to consider that statement a “lie” when God would actually want us to obey him first time every time ideally. obviously the method you use to enforce that expectation could be unhealthy but I still have a hard time viewing that statement theologically as a lie.

    • Andrea – you raise a good point. However – and you identified this – the problem of parent’s sin muddies the waters on this one. Our experience is that believing that immediate obedience is a goal parents should strive to achieve leads to demanding first time obedience from children, and then punishing them immediately when they inevitably fail. It makes behavior, not learning and heart change the priority. To your point though, technically you are correct, and we could have taken better care to consider the “lie” and explain ourselves more deeply. Thanks for you input – it sharpens us!

      • Even as grown-ups, we are still God’s children. God is so gracious when we sin. While disobedience is still sin, He does not punish us immediately but rather calls us to repentance. It is so important that we handle our children’s missteps in the same way. Of course disobedience is sin, but the lie is that God punishes us swiftly. He does not nor should we.

  3. I am doing the online course and came across this post while on your blog. There’s a very popular parenting curriculum used in a lot of evangelical churches that states we must expect first time obedience. I took the class when my son was a baby. He’s 9 now. I never could reconcile the statements about first time obedience and other parenting musts in the book because where is Gods grace? They even had a chapter on how to spank correctly and I was wondering where that came from because it’s definitely not in the bible! One part stated that after age 8, spankings were over. I don’t spank but if I did and was told that was biblical, I would say, where is that exactly? I don’t recall reading that in scripture. I think many people have twisted scripture to suit their ideas so it’s always good and wise to commune with God and really seek His wisdom instead of mans. With that said, I find CC very biblical and haven’t felt confused by it as I have with other parenting resources.

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