Overcoming Foundational Root Judgments

A Guide to Freedom from Bondage by the Power of the Holy Spirit

The latter part of this article is designed to be a practical working model to be used to identify lies from your past and present that are keeping you in behavioral bondage today. This model is a guide designed to lead you through a process of discovery, and ultimately, freedom from bondage by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Resentments Toward Parents

When a person is experiencing recurrent tendencies toward ungodly behavioral patterns in his life, it may indicate that there are foundational root judgments that he has formed about himself, about life, or about people in his past that need to be addressed. Hebrews 12:15 cautions us, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” “Bitter roots” from the past often grow up into weeds of ungodly behavior in our lives today.
Sometimes, we are in bondage to repetitive sin patterns because of judgments we have made toward our parents or guardians. Deuteronomy 5:16 says, “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” It seems reasonable to conclude then, that in the areas in which we have shown dishonor to our parents, it may not go well with us!
In many cases, if we have made judgments against our parents, we may be especially susceptible to ungodly behavior in similar areas in which we have judged them. We may be reaping in ungodly behavioral patterns today from what we have sown in ungodly judgments toward our parents in the past (Gal. 6:7, 8).

From Judgments to Beliefs

Judgments are formed by the way we interpret events in our life. From past interpretations we subsequently formed foundational root judgments about God, ourselves, other people and the world we live in. For our purposes, we will be referring to foundational root judgments as judgments from the past that support personal beliefs that have a spiritually negative impact on the way we think, feel and act today.

First of all, these judgments are not always formed against somebody. Very often, they are simply about somebody or something. In the following example from my own life, you will be able to observe how, as a small child I interpreted an event and then quickly translated this interpretation into foundational root judgments about myself and about my parents. These judgments contributed to the development of a stronghold of fruitless striving that persisted throughout much of my life. This memory is from childhood and may not be accurate in every detail, but the important thing is how I perceived the events, how I reacted to my perceptions, and what judgments were formed as a result. In grade school I had no trouble understanding that reading, writing and arithmetic were required course subjects. These were the classes that I attended and I received instruction in these subjects. I also received homework in these subjects, so I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about and trying to understand the subject matter for these classes.  But, in those early years, I did not understand why two other subjects were showing up on my report card every semester. Two subjects that I was not even being instructed in! I had not received any homework in these subjects nor had I spent any time studying or trying to understand them. I didn’t even understand what they meant. Yet, I was being graded on them! It seemed extremely unfair to me.

Since the grades I had been receiving in these two subjects were generally poor, my parents were often upset with me. They tried to convince me that if I were to receive better grades in these two subjects, I would get better grades in the others. They implored me to behave myself and try harder in school!  I couldn’t figure out how behaving myself and trying harder could possibly improve my grades in two subjects I had never even been taught or tested in. I was entirely frustrated. The two subjects were – Conduct and Effort!

At some point, perhaps in exasperation, one of my parents looked at me and said,  “Don’t you know what the words conduct and effort mean?” I still remember vividly the look of surprise on my parent’s faces when I replied with a bewildered, “No.” My parents overcame their astonishment and proceeded to explain to me the meaning of these words. It was, of course, a significant revelation for me to discover that my teachers were grading me on how hard I tried and how well I behaved in school!
But, unfortunately, I interpreted this to mean that my parents were also grading me on my conduct and effort. I noticed they would demonstrate displeasure when I would receive low grades in these subjects and exhibit happiness when I received higher grades. I perceived this to be acceptance of me on the one hand and rejection of me on the other. I interpreted their reactions to my grades to mean that they loved me more when I tried hard and behaved well, and they loved me less when my performance was not up to the expected standards. This was the mistaken judgment I made about my parents. The judgment I made about myself was that I was only as lovable to my parents as the level of my “acceptable” performance would dictate.

Because of the high degree of credibility, I, as a child, ascribed to my parents and the influence of the competition-based society I was growing up in, it was only a small step for me to universalize these judgments into the basic belief that it was necessary for me to perform well in order to be loved by anyone – including God.
My perceptions, from this single situation, substantially contributed to the formation of multiple root judgments about my parents, myself, God, and life in general. From root judgments like these came years of fruitless striving and angry, frustrated rebellion, as I strove to earn what I mistakenly felt I needed most – conditional love from mankind! (Luke 15:28-30)

God’s Unconditional Love Defines Our Value

Before sin came into the world, mankind was able to personally experience God’s unconditional love on a daily basis. Certainly, God’s perfect love enabled Adam and Eve to feel secure and maintain a positive definition of self-value. Before the guilt of sin stained their souls, Adam and Eve had no need to strive for acceptance through personal performance. Their sense of personal value was plainly evident in God’s love for them. Competition with one another for the affections of God was not even a consideration for Adam and Eve. Sin’s guilt and shame had not yet distanced them from the profoundly intimate realization of God’s never ending love for them. They would have no problem with low self-esteem, feelings of low self-worth and the multitude of personal insecurities mankind struggles relentlessly to overcome today.
But, after man sinned, mankind became distanced from the intimate realization of God’s unconditional love and began for the first time to exhibit a performance-based, conditional love and acceptance for one another. And now, as a result of sin, though it is God’s unconditional love we all need most, instead, we determinedly pursue the love and approval of other people in our lives. It is, in fact, our perceived deficit of man’s conditional love and acceptance toward us that initiates the formation of many of our foundational root judgments.

The Yielding of Our Will to God

Much of the sinful behavior that we act out today arises from root judgments. This sinful behavior is often fueled by judgments we have made in response to personal insecurities. Many of these insecurities arise from past perceived rejection by significant people in our life (Gen. 37:3,4).
Root judgments form the foundations of beliefs that we develop, usually as children, as we try to make sense of the world around us. We are all born into a sin-damaged world. Our souls were not originally designed to exist in this distorted spiritual environment. God did not design our souls to experience rejection and abandonment. Our souls were designed to experience His perfect love and everlasting provision.  Making sense of the world around us and who we are in relation to this world and in relation to God is now a difficult task for a soul that was originally created to dwell in harmonious union with an infinite God’s unconditional love.

As children, we begin to form what we consider at the time to be necessary judgments about life, ourselves, other people, and God, as we struggle to survive the barrage of rejection, abandonment, betrayal, and performance-based conditional acceptance from the people in our life. We learn to survive the emotional bombardment of sin-damaged relationships by making judgments that we hope will help to protect, secure, or build up our own sense of self-worth and personal safety. Add to this our natural tendency (as a result of original sin) to insist on being in charge of our own destinies (like Adam and Eve in the garden) and we have a superb recipe for relationship disaster. As we unwittingly participate in the construction of a self-protective “building up” of our souls through the judgments we make, we form a barrier from which we will eventually fear and resist the foreign concept of healthy intimacy later in our lives.

Our souls have become structured over the years by layers of self-protective, self-centered lies that we have judged and accepted as beneficial to our mission of obtaining and maintaining positive self-esteem. This dysfunctional soul structure that we have constructed on the foundation of self-centered, self-protective striving must be deconstructed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Judgments that have become the foundation of beliefs residing in our soul which encourage and support the ungodly choices that we are making today must be detected, unearthed, and removed in order for Christlike character to be developed within us (1Cor. 11:28-31). Sin strongholds arising from root judgments will never be overcome in our life by simply suppressing negative feelings and urges or avoiding certain situations and circumstances. These measures may be necessary, but they are only temporary, stopgap measures and do not deal with the real source of the problem (Col. 2:20-23).

If we truly desire freedom from our pervasive struggle with “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19), we must be willing to allow the law of the Spirit of life to set us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8: 2). The law of sin and death only has power in our lives through the lies working in our souls that are keeping us from the freedom of truth. The law of the Spirit of life is effectually the power of truth, by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross working in our souls to free us from the power of the lies. The law of the Spirit of life is the Holy Spirit actualizing the finished work of Christ in the individual Christian.
In order to effectively yield our will to God, there must be both a sincere desire to stop sinning and a complete trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to expose and disable the ungodly judgments and beliefs that have brought dysfunction to the soul (John 16:7-15; Rom. 8:13,14). When we are no longer impeded by the effects of our foundational root judgments, we can more fully experience a close personal realization of God’s unconditional love for us. Secure in our Father’s love, we will no longer need to strive through sinful thoughts, desires, attitudes, and actions to maintain the delusion that we need to exhibit dysfunctional control of our lives and the lives of others in order to experience love.
When we have surrendered to the Holy Spirit to accomplish this work in our lives, we can expect to experience significant freedom from the emotional agitation of the soul that has accompanied our frequent failures to achieve victory over repetitive sin patterns in our lives (Gal. 5:22).

A Basic Misconception

As we struggle with sin in our lives, we may think that we are in the midst of a battle to overcome the power of sin. But, we would be mistaken. Christ has already overcome the power of sin for us on the cross! (Col. 2:9-15) The power of sin to continue to cause repetitive and pervasive ungodly desires in our souls today persists primarily when we are holding on to the ways of our old nature by harboring  foundational judgments from our past.
Therefore, we must continue to be, as we were at salvation, open to receiving the benefits afforded to us by Christ’s victory over sin. These benefits are received through our personal repentance of current sin in our lives and our faith in His finished work. Among these benefits are the personal realization of God’s love for us and the daily peace and joy, which accompany a holy lifestyle (Rom. 15:13).  We come to realize these benefits as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit for the transformation of our souls by the renewing of our minds.
The renewing of our minds (Col. 3:9,10) which brings freedom to our souls is accomplished, in part, by the methodical rejection of foundational root judgments as they are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit (John16:13). These old judgments must be replaced with new judgments forming a foundation based on biblical truths from God’s written word.

STEPS TO FREEDOM FROM PAST FOUNDATIONAL ROOT JUDGMENTS     

These discovery steps  may help you to both identify and gain freedom from past foundational judgments in your life. Please, try not to become rigidly dependent upon the step format I am presenting. These steps have been an effective method for many people I have discipled, but it is certainly possible that God may use multiple variations of this format or an entirely different means to reveal foundational root judgments in your life.

DISCOVERY STEPS

  1. First, spend some time in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom (James 1:5-7).2. Next, take a few moments to focus on the particular ungodly thoughts or feelings about yourself, other people or life in general from which you desire freedom.  Write down these thoughts and/or feelings.Usually, but not always, these thoughts and feelings will be related to a past interaction with a significant person in your life, e.g., your father, mother, sibling, relative, teacher, or friend and the resulting rootjudgments (whether positive or negative) about your own personal value/worth/lovability as a result of what was happening. Most significant foundational root judgments and their resulting behaviors in our lives are associated with memories and judgments from childhood.

These past judgments are likely to be the foundational roots of the specific recurrent ungodly thought and/or feeling you are experiencing today. This often occurs because we have translated the judgments we believed to be true about ourselves into either a self-reliant pride-based perceived strength upon which we have come to depend, a shame-based weakness that we have tried to overcome or a fear-based behavior we have developed in order to manage what we perceive to be unsafe situations.

Because sin has corrupted the condition of our souls, pride, shame and fear are intricately woven into most of our foundational root judgments.

Ask the Holy Spirit for help to identify these foundational root judgments in your life. (For help with this, see ROOT JUDGMENT EXAMPLE PAGE )

As long as these judgments are securely entrenched within our belief system, we will live by these judgments ourselves, and, very likely, place unrealistic expectations on other people as a result. We place these unrealistic expectations on other people as we seek soothing, compensation or control based on the strength of our root judgments.
The following example is not my actual experience, but may be a useful conceptual model: The ungodly thoughts and feelings that I may be experiencing today are critical thoughts and angry frustration toward my adult son for not volunteering for overtime at his job. The memories from my childhood are of my father as a hard-working provider for the family. I recall that my mother seemed to admire him for this, occasionally voicing her approval. I remember that when I had my first full-time job, she enthusiastically insisted that I should work whatever overtime was offered to me that I might gain approval and promotion from my superiors.
I begin to form foundational root judgments by interpreting these memories to mean that hard work and long hours are necessary to gain acceptance and avoid rejection as a son, a husband, or even as a man. I also interpret my mother’s insistence in these matters and her admiration for my father’s efforts to mean that a potential future wife would consider me personally acceptable by virtue of my job-related efforts.
So today, even though I may be experiencing a strain in my relationship with my family because of the work time I am spending away from them, I nevertheless angrily insist, influenced by my root judgments from the past, that my son also volunteer for all the overtime available to him! I sincerely believe that I am advising my son on the best course of action for his life.
From this single example, I have made judgments from early childhood about myself, about other people, and about life in general.  As a result of these judgments, I have come to believe that I must depend on my own efforts, working long hours away from my family, to secure my definition of personal value, worth and lovability.

RELATIONAL ROOT JUDGMENT FREEDOM DECLARATION 

First, take a few moments to consider the various ways in which personal experiences and judgments from the past may be linked to a pride-based strength on which you have come to depend, a shame-based self-image that you are struggling to overcome or a fear-based behavior you have developed in order to manage what you perceive to be unsafe situations in your life today. Pride, shame, and fear are often deeply involved in many of our formative root judgments and the resulting behaviors we experience today.

Relational Freedom Declaration:

Lord God, I now surrender to you the pride, shame, or fear-based thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that have formed in my life through past personal experiences and formative root judgments.

And I reject the false judgment that my value, my self-worth or my personal lovability could ever be determined by my performance or by the words, actions or inaction of other people in my life. The truth is that my self-worth is determined entirely by the fact that I am created in the image of God.

I also reject the false judgment that I can find lasting fulfillment, peace or rest for my soul through my performance or by meeting the expectations of other people. The truth is that the sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of my sins has demonstrated your non-performance-based unconditional love for me.

I forgive and release from my judgment all who have offended me. And I invite the Holy Spirit to transform the thoughts and attitudes of my heart through my faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. I ask you, Holy Spirit, to circumcise the flesh from my heart in this area of my life which was previously not surrendered to you so that my soul may be transformed into the image of Christ. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of resurrection truth and life which has now entered my soul, replacing the beliefs and behaviors that have developed from these past judgments. In the name of Jesus Christ, I command every unclean spirit that was claiming spiritual territory because of these false judgments to get out of my life! Through my trust in the work of Jesus on the cross, I declare that you have lost your territorial rights to harass my soul. Be gone forever, in the name of Jesus.

I give praise to the Lord God Almighty and I declare that His kingdom will reign forever and ever within my soul. I welcome you, Holy Spirit, to dwell within my heart with great power, filling me with the glory of your presence as you are transforming my soul into the likeness of Christ, with ever increasing glory to God. Amen.

Situational Root Judgment Freedom Declaration

First, take a few moments to consider the various ways in which personal experiences and judgments from the past may be linked to a pride-based strength on which you have come to depend, a shame-based self-image that you are struggling to overcome or a fear-based behavior you have developed in order to manage what you perceive to be unsafe situations in your life today. Pride, shame, and fear are often deeply involved in many of our formative root judgments and the resulting behaviors we experience today.

Situational Freedom Declaration:

Lord God, I reject the false judgment that my source of true happiness or inner peace and contentment could ever be determined by the material things or circumstances of this world. And I reject the judgment that I can ever find godly self-esteem, peace or rest for my soul through social recognition, acceptance, admiration or respect from other people.  I invite the Holy Spirit to transform these thoughts and attitudes of my heart through my faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. I ask you, Holy Spirit, to circumcise the flesh from my heart in this area of my life which was previously not surrendered to you so that my soul may be transformed into the image of Christ.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of resurrection truth and life which has now entered my soul, replacing the beliefs and behaviors that have developed from these past judgments. In the name of Jesus Christ, I command every unclean spirit that was claiming spiritual territory because of these false judgments to get out of my life! Through my trust in the work of Jesus on the cross, I declare that you have lost your territorial rights to harass my soul. Be gone forever, in the name of Jesus.

I give praise to the Lord God Almighty and I declare that His kingdom will reign forever and ever within my soul. I welcome you, Holy Spirit, to dwell within my heart with great power, filling me with the glory of your presence as you are transforming my soul into the likeness of Christ, with ever increasing glory to God. Amen.

© 2017 R. Thomas Brass – Jericho Ministry
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