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Believing Things That May Not Be True

In poker, you make money whenever your opponent plays differently than he would if he knew what cards you have. When you do the same, you lose money. In other words, whenever you act in a way that you wouldn't if you knew the truth, you're making a mistake.

The same could be said for a lot of life. The more of the truth you face and accept, the better off you're going to be. Sometimes it's hard to hear the truth and sometimes it's even harder to accept it, but we're always better off when we do. This is one of the reasons my good friends and I always give each other harsh criticism: it helps us see and accept the truth.

There's one counterpoint to this idea that I'll suggest: sometimes you're better off intentionally believing things that aren't true, even when you know they aren't true. This is a special sort of of belief, though, because you know that it's not completely accurate, but you decide to act as though it is, and to truly try to feel as though it is.

I'll give you a few examples that I hold:


On grow

I started reading a book entitled You Are Not Your Brain written by Jeffrey Schwartz and Rebecca Gladding. The authors specialize in a field of study called neuroplasticity, which is when neural pathways change in the brain due to changes in behavior or the environment, for better or worse. In their book, they claim that we can direct these changes as opposed to having them change against our will.

They use the example of a woman who suffered from a stroke and her journey through rehabilitation and recovery. Parts of her brain shut down as a consequence of that event, but through effort, she was able to regain certain functions that were ultimately assigned to other active parts of her brain. She used her behavior and her environment to recover from otherwise tragic circumstances. She was persuaded that by making the changes necessary, she could reverse the damage.

The word "persuaded" is important because it comes up whenever Jesus talks about faith. You see, faith is being persuaded and convicted by truth. Sometimes, when Jesus healed someone, he would tell them that their faith made them well. And other times he would tell the people that he healed to go and sin no more. So, there's an element of belief and another of action. Remember that time Jesus couldn't heal anyone in a town that had so little faith? (It's in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew.)

So, how do neuroplasticity and Jesus go together?

As I read this new book and when I reflect on the gospels, I see Jesus directing more than doing. I see him teaching, conducting, and persuading. He's showing people that they can be restored, but they have to do two things:

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