The fourth mentality I listen for when counseling an “addict” is a perishing mentality and is based upon Ephesians 5:19-20 (as well as Proverbs 31:6 but I won’t cite that verse in this blog post):
“…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
What does this perishing mentality sound like? “Woe is me. Nothing good ever happens in my life.” It sounds a lot like the voice of Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh! It is an opposite sound from what is described in these two verses in Ephesians 5:19-20 which describe music in one’s heart and in the ears of those who are listening to the transforming “addict” talk. It is a stark difference and one that will be easily discernible by a careful listener and biblical counselor.
Think about it: when one thinks they are entitled to anything they want (entitlement), consume it upon themselves alone (consumer), finds out it fails to satisfy very long, and cannot envision that they are responsible for their own misery (victim), then they are going to feel sorry for themselves, filling with self-pity (perishing mentality). Psychology calls it “learned helplessness” and it certainly is learned behavior at its worst that begins with one’s thinking.
It’s hard to help someone who thinks this way but not impossible. The good news is that the put-on mentality opposite the perishing mentality is to “Be Grateful.” A thankful heart is key for overcoming many problems, not just “addiction.” We must cultivate a thankful heart and find God’s blessings in all things. God abundantly provides good things for His children in this broken, fallen world and we must learn to think on these things (Phil. 4:6-8). It can only be accomplished by God’s grace.
-Mark (learning myself to be grateful, even for the trials and suffering in my life)