You’ve probably heard the Biblical term,”a double minded man,” right? But do you fully understand what it means?
If you’re not sure, how do you know that you’re not afflicted with the condition? If it can cause you to be unstable in all areas of your life, isn’t it a good idea to understand precisely what it is, what its symptoms are, and determine whether you have it and how you can avoid it?
There seems to be no agreement about what double mindedness is. Some describe it as hypocrisy; others say it means that someone follows two masters. In fact, the only consensus I’ve found is that it is undesirable. Oh, and one other thing: No one thinks that he or she has the condition. It’s always someone else who’s exhibiting the symptoms.
Does it mean that you’re bad?
Being double minded does not mean that you’re a bad person. I also don’t believe that it indicates your faith is weak, as some have claimed. In fact, I have seen lots of individuals who have unwavering faith and their minds couldn’t be more split.
If you enjoy self-discovery, and you want to know if you’re operating with a single or dual mind, I invite you to take the simple and painless diagnostic test at the end of this post. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Diagnosing double mindedness
I’ve carefully observed this phenomenon for decades. During that time, I’ve detected some common traits (or symptoms) that aren’t mentioned in any of the articles I’ve read on this topic.
My first observation: The values, beliefs and behaviors of double minded individuals strongly conflict with each other. In particular, their values and beliefs are so diametrically opposed that they believe that opposites are the same: For example, demonic behavior is divine or the Divine wants them to do something demonic. You can see how that would make them “unstable in all their ways” and how it could negatively impact their lives and that of those around them. Large groups and entire nations can be double minded.
Second: Those afflicted with this condition typically have no idea that their beliefs and values contradict each other. I have surmised that it’s because they didn’t develop their beliefs independently, consciously or by examining empirical evidence. They were told that doing so reflected a lack of faith.
The purpose of this gift was benevolent. It was to keep them safe from harm. In fact, attached to it was a tag that warned that if they rejected or altered these beliefs in any way, they would be ostracized now and would suffer excruciating and never-ending pain throughout all eternity. That’s incentive enough to do as told.
Bred, not born
Double-mindedness has been nurtured and lovingly transferred from one generation to the next for centuries. For the most part, each generation meant well; but they were acting on little information and the information they did have was misconstrued.
In fact, confusion is the third trait I’ve observed in every double minded person I’ve ever encountered. They sometimes seem disoriented when asked the simplest question, as if they’ve awakened in another universe. Most often, they deny that they are confused, become frustrated or even angry, and cling more tightly to these contradictions.
They were given these beliefs by someone they loved and trusted. Their loved one would not tell them something that was not true. But what if the loved one didn’t know that it was untrue? What if they also blindly accepted this heirloom belief?
Believing without thinking is the primary cause of double mindedness. Eddie Murphy satirized the phenomenon in his movie, “Vampire in Brooklyn” (1995). It’s insipid, but insightful.
All jokes aside, adopting someone’s beliefs as our own, without questioning their veracity or carefully considering their implications, can result in double mindedness and knock us off-center as persons of faith. The good news is that there is a cure: It’s called self-awareness.
I’ve developed a quick poll (ten simple, multiple choice questions) to help you pull back the curtain on a phenomenon that may be destabilizing your life. I hope you take advantage of and enjoy this opportunity to discover something new about the person who’s with you 100% of the time. It starts by asking yourself…
Am I double minded?
There are no right or wrong answers. This simply should sharpen your awareness of your beliefs and the implications of those beliefs. That awareness has the power to help you move stronger and more single-mindedly as a person of faith.
There’s space for comments, if you like. If you have questions, I will happily answer them as immediately as possible.
Online polling is now closed; but I encourage you to scroll through and ask yourself these questions. After all, the answers are critical to you, not anyone else. Want to know how others responded? I discuss the early results in the next post, here.
Much love to you—and thanks for playing!