The Value of Introspection

What is the value of introspection?  Well, with regular (often instant) analysis of one’s own thoughts, desires, and motivations you can gain great insight into your own heart.  This has tremendous value for yourself as it will solidify your character by providing your mind with an understanding of your heart.  If you are out of touch with your own desires and reasons for doing what you do, you will experience a disconnect within yourself.  And you will also be more susceptible to the influence of  thoughts, emotions, and outside forces.   Basically, it’s good to know about yourself so that you won’t fall prey to internal and external forces.   But that’s only part of the value of introspection.  The other value, and this is more important, is the enhanced ability to serve and understand other people.  If you are at the mercy of your own desires and untamed will, how do you expect to love other people in any meaningful way?

I’m missing something extremely important, and I didn’t do this on purpose, or just for effect.  Sometimes I do things for the effect, but this isn’t one of them.  The ability to gain insight into your own heart is impossible without first accepting something outside of yourself.   What am I talking about?  If you believed that you were a god, and that all of your actions and thoughts were right and good, what would you see when you looked inside yourself?  You would see a righteous heart with righteous motives.  Even if you stole or lied, you would easily justify those actions to fit your perception of self-righteousness.  If no one is informing you that you’re evil, or more importantly, you didn’t accept their judgement, wouldn’t your natural inclination be to believe in your own rightness?  Argue with me, please.  Tell me that people are actually good in their heart of hearts, and if left to their own devices would choose good.  Tell me that, but be sure to inform me of what GOOD means.  Is good simply not hurting people?  Or is good something more than that?  What is your reason for believing anything about what is good or evil?  Is that belief based on your feelings, or is it a belief in something, or someone outside of yourself?  I know people who believe that society shapes us at the core, but what informs society?  Or there are others who blame genes and believe that anything and everything has to do with an evolutionary benefit to our species.  We react this way or that way, or maintain monogamous relationships, or convince ourselves of a deity because in some way it improves the odds that our genes will be passed on to another generation of purposeless apes.  Once again, this is a belief that shapes how we see our own hearts, and how we determine good and evil.

To go back to my original point, we must first accept something outside of ourselves before we can look inward and determine the shape of our hearts.

It really does matter what you believe.  It matters for how you value life, both your own and those around you.  I believe in the God of the bible made known through Jesus Christ.  But why!!!??!!  Because my heart cries out to Him for life.  Life for myself and for other people.  Accepting God allows me to look into my own heart and see two critical things.  The first is my self-centered nature and propensity to choose things that do evil against myself and other people.  The second is a sense of self- worth made possible by the acceptance in God’s undying love for me.  By accepting Jesus Christ, the one who at once acknowledges and then forgives our evil, and informs us that we are loved enough for God to come to earth and die for us, I am able to see my heart as it truly is.  This ability to acknowledge my sin without being crushed or blinded by it, allows me to accept what is true of myself.  Accepting what is true of myself without being crushed by the hard truth frees me to love God, myself, and other people.  Now I can act beyond my heart’s selfish nature by embracing the heart of God, which at once gives a value and meaning to life that doesn’t come from anywhere else.

If loving God wasn’t of such a significant benefit to myself and the people I care about, I wouldn’t be writing these things.  And I wouldn’t be trying so hard to express to you what I know in my heart is true of this life.

Know what you believe.  Look within yourself.  But know that when you look, you have to look from some point outside of yourself.

From where you’re standing, what does your heart look like?

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Posted on June 5, 2011, in Everything Else, Religion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Would you agree with Socrates’ statement “The unexamined life is not worth living”? I think that many people actively avoid introspection…but why? Because it is easier? Perhaps it is an effort to not have to deal what lies within…or possibly to escape from submitting to something outside of ourselves.

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