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False Fears

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."1

Business professors Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad wrote about an experiment with four monkeys. In their cage was placed a pole with a bunch of bananas suspended at the top. When one of the monkeys climbed the pole, just as he reached out to grasp hold of a banana, he was doused with a torrent of cold water. Squealing, he quickly scampered down the pole. The same thing happened to the three other monkeys. After several more attempts, they abandoned all hope of reaching the bananas.

The researchers then replaced one of the monkeys with another monkey, and as soon as the newcomer monkey began to climb the pole, the other three monkeys pulled him away. After several more attempts, he too gave up. A second one of the four original monkeys was replaced and the same thing happened to him. He, too, was pulled away from the pole when he attempted to climb it. In time all four of the original monkeys were replaced; none of whom dared climb the pole even though they never knew why and had never been doused with cold water.2

False fears, which may have had validity at one time but are no longer valid, are not only taught and learned by monkeys, but also by people. Such fears can be learned through an early traumatic experience—or learned from a parent—and be firmly programmed into our unconscious mind, and hold us back from becoming and doing all that God envisioned for us to be and do. For some people, irrational fears can be crippling. Only as we see and know the truth can we begin to be set free.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to confront all of my fears and see them for what they are. Help me to overcome them and be set free to become and do all that You planned for me to be and do. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. John 8:32 (NIV).
2. From Failing Forward, by John C. Maxwell. Thomas Nelson Publishers.


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.