Yesterday’s comment that ‘one worm ruins the barrel is only helpful if we are going to do what it takes to find and get rid of the worm. In our life the worm is any one of those negative behaviors that keep us from experiencing God’s best and in fact which has the power to destroy the joy in our lives.
Finding the behavior is a matter of honest reflection. If you ask God to search your heart and see if there are any deceitful or hurtful things in your life, He will reveal those to you. But beware, like finding a worm in a piece of fruit, it won’t be a pleasant experience. You will be offended by this dark thing in you. And if you are not, you will not be ready for the next step of removing it.
In classical Applied Behavioral Analysis, it is well held that we maintain certain unhelpful/hurtful behaviors in order to get things we want (tangible things or attention), to get out of things we don’t want, or because it just feels good. What kind of behaviors might this include? Pouting, yelling in anger, hurtful words, the silent treatment, slamming doors are some examples. Repeating negative thoughts, dwelling in anxiety and worry, greed, meanness, and envy are others. Could we agree that these are harmful at best and manipulative at worst?
Being light in the world holds no place for these because these are behaviors of darkness, not light. And each of these need to be removed ‘surgically’. Some may be impossible to remove on your own power or even with the help of a friend. Some require an absolute surrender to God. That was the case 32 years ago. In desperation, I needed God to remove my anger and bitterness because I could not do it simply on my own. Yes, I still have brief moments of anger, but anger no longer defines who I am. It no longer controls me.
Having an accountability partner will help. This is a mature friend or mentor you meet regularly with about your goal and progress in surgically removing this ‘worm’ from your life. Monitoring your own behaviors, thinking about how you interact with others and observing their responses is essential to the removal process. Making a list of alternative behaviors that are actually helpful and using these, will give you a way out. In truth it is nearly impossible to get rid of a negative behavior without replacing it with a helpful alternative behavior. As the bible instructs, we must put off that which is harmful AND put on that which is good. Maintain calm, compassionate and honest communication with others, with yourself, and with God.
Get rid of the worm. Enjoy the fruit God intends you to have.