Introspection – discovering our inner pain

Introspection – discovering our inner pain

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. – Psalms 139:23-24

Psalms 139:1-12

 1 O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

 7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.

 9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

 10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night–

 12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

What is introspection? Introspection is a psychological process that involves looking inward to examine one’s own thoughts, emotions, judgments, and perceptions. In everyday use, introspection is a way of looking inward and exploring one’s internal thoughts and feelings (Kendra Cherry).

The term introspection, also referred to as experimental self-observation, describes a research technique that psychologist Wilhelm Wundt first developed. Wundt’s technique involved training people to analyze the content of their own thoughts, feelings, and motives (Kendra Cherry) carefully and objectively. The goal is to lead to increased self-awareness.

The inherent dilemma is that personal introspection is not objective. It is subjective.

Hidden trauma, abuse, learned responses, and even unknown agendas lurk beneath the surface of each individual. These hidden soul-suckers are deceptive, and we are often unaware of them. They create a natural barrier or limitation to genuinely understanding ourselves. Consequently, our efforts and results are often inherently skewed.

Further, the human heart is untrustworthy. It is deceitful and evasive. It is essentially unknowable.

Jeremiah 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?

Is there an objective way to discover who we really are? David shows us the way!

David wants to know if there’s anything in him which causes pain for himself, others, or the Father.

REFLECT & PRAY

“If we cannot deceive God, escape God, or ignore God, is it not sensible to obey God? Yes, it is reasonable, but there are those who prefer to oppose God and dispute what He says . . . in His Word” (Wiersbe).

Father please search my heart. Reveal what is inside of me which is offensive to You and hurtful to myself and others. Remove the dark spots that remain on my heart.

INSIGHT

The Father God is all-knowing. He knows everything all the time. His evaluations are not only objective, but they are also totally accurate. He knows everything about us and always has. Nothing is hidden from Him. If we had a medical condition, would we not seek a medical professional for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment? When we have harmful internal spiritual conditions, who better to seek help from than the all-wise, all-knowing living God? Every child of the King can seek counsel from their Father.

David is well aware of the Father’s personality and essence. In his prayer to Him, he acknowledges his all-knowing wisdom and understanding.

Psalms 139:1-7

 1 O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

 7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

Therefore David asks the Father for an evaluation. He requested the Father to examine him and accurately determine what was lurking within.

The context of David’s request is revealing. David had just criticized and prayed for the destruction of his enemies. It is almost as though David wonders if he is justified. David is sagacious and had hidden God’s Word in his heart. He seems virtually prescient of biblical principles that the Lord Jesus Christ would teach a millennium later.

Was it wrong of David to cast the first stone (John 8:7)? Did his own agenda and sin cloud his conclusions? How often do we do the same thing but never consider the potentially faulty objectivity and accuracy in our negative criticism of others?

Luke 6:41-42

 41 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?

 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

He wants to make sure there is no log stuck in his eye.

Psalms 139:23-24

 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

 24 Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

The two phrases in Psalm 139:23 are synonymous Hebrew poetry and rhyme in thought. They say the same thing as each other. They reiterate the perspective at the beginning of Psalms 139. The Father has searched him and known him. He asked the Father to do it again. David recognizes his emotional state and anxious thoughts. He does not want his judgment to be biased or prejudiced. He wants any grievous way to be exposed.

He wants to know if there’s any way of pain within his heart that has skewed his assessment.  

The Hebrew word translated as wicked (KJV), grievous (ESV), hurtful (NAS), offensive (NLT, NIV), or painful is otseb. Otseb refers to an act that offends another. Otseb comes from the Hebrew verb asab. The verb asab encompasses both physical and emotional pain or discomfort. It can be literally translated as a way of pain. Such internal pain or offense can prejudice any of us. It can also be felt by those they come into contact with. Worse still, our pain becomes the Father’s pain. It can be a source of grief or sorrow for God (Ephesians 4:30).

“When we cannot understand ourselves or comprehend our feelings, God invites us to take our internal struggles to Him and ask Him for insight. He understands what we do not, and knows what to do when we don’t” (Stanley).

¯\_()_/¯  

© Dr. H 2022

2 thoughts on “Introspection – discovering our inner pain

  1. Oh my !!!….Thanks so much, Holy Spirit, for inspiring DrH to share this verse and all the insights You gave him. This is one of my favorite verses from The Amplified Classic Edition…… “Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139‬:‭23‬-‭24‬ ‭AMPC‬‬?….” God is GOD, and you are not Lorna….don’t judge yourself!….come unto Me First!….so I say to You oh Holy Spirit …I will to will my will to Your Will today! “ (Romans 8:5-14…AMPC)

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