Know Yourself
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22. Know Yourself

Jesus ChristYou may think of changing humanity but never think of changing yourself. This concept is especially true in today's society. The ultimate change for Christians, of course, is to be "transformed into Christ's image" as in 2 Corinthians 3.18, which reads, "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." The words "contemplate the Lord's glory" can equally be translated as "reflect the Lord's glory." But this is something that we cannot do for ourselves. We have to realize our needs, open our lives, and allow God to enter into our being. The essence of the Christian message is that this change is possible for everyone. We must endeavor to know our self to begin this process. A helpful visual aid in this quest is called Johari Window, or as I have named my updated version, "the Self Window." The "Johari Window" was invented by and named by psychologists Joseph Luft (1916-2014) and Harry Ingham (1916-1995). The "Johari Window" was described by Dr. T.R. Badden (1904-199) in his book "The Non-Directive Approach." If there is openness, there is also the possibility of growth in our relationships with others. For example, when we see how defensive and closed we are to strangers, we can do something about it.

Personal Disclosure

Windows to the MindSay you met a stranger and began a conversation with them. Initially, you and they would each know little about one another except what you could see from their appearances and hear from their voices. The small "free" area was all that was visible, but as you talked together and felt more comfortable, you would probably have disclosed things about each other from your "hidden" areas, from your selves. You may have talked about your families, your likes and dislikes. As you did, the boundaries of your "free" areas would have moved back and are now visible to the other person. If as you conversed, this person informed you of something about yourself that they had seen in your "blind" area that you were bearing a grudge against someone, then this was good feedback to help you know yourself better. The other place, the "dark," square is unknown both to yourself and to others. Only God knows this area of your life. Only God can deal with that and reveal it or part of it to you as God wishes. The Johari window is a helpful way to know and understand yourself, be open to change, and relate to others. The Johari Window or the "Johari House" was named in 1955 by its developers Joseph Luft (1916-2014) and Harrington Ingham (1916-1995) in the United States. Their names "Jo" "Seph" and "Harri" "Ngton" combined to form the unusual title of this analytical method as "Johari."

The Johari Window

"The Johari Window" is described as a cognitive psychology tool. Joseph Luft wrote in "Of Human Interaction," in 1969, "It is one of the most useful models describing the process of human interaction." I believe it is a beneficial technique to understand relationships with others and with ourselves, and ultimately with God. In a developed and refined version of the "Johari Window," I have renamed and Christianized the four quadrants in the Johari house called "Open (or Arena), Hidden (or Facade), Blind and the Unknown" and also indicated how each relates to the "free" area. In the new "Self Window," these four Christianized areas are now called "Free, Hidden, Blind, and Unknown." We can learn certain basic principles from the Johari self window. They will help us understand ourselves and relate better to one another. They will prevent us from becoming closed-minded, even to the point of denying others' influence, even God, in our lives.

Understand Openness

Roman Satirist JuvenalThe first thing the Johari self window teaches us is that we need to know ourselves. "The maxim 'Know Yourself' came down to us from the skies," wrote the Roman satirist Juvenal in the 1st century AD. He continued, "It should be imprinted on the heart, and stored in the memory, whether you are looking for a wife, or wishing for a seat in the sacred senate." The Christian might add to these ancient words, "or leading another to Christ." To know and understand yourself is a first-order priority for any mature individual. When we begin to understand ourselves, we start to enter into the possibility of change, hopefully for the better. We already know and understand the "free area," but now we can become open to others' feedback in our "blind" area. We can be exposed to the "hidden" portions of our life by a counselor, but insights from the "dark" place emerge from prayer and meditation to receive revelations from God himself.

Games People Play

Jacob wrestles with GodConsider the self window as a way to know yourself, to understand others, and to be open to change. Dr. Eric Berne (1910-1970) writes about the "Games People Play." Consider the self window concept.
Share instances from your own experience where this has been true.
Are you an "Open Window" to God?
Going back to the diagram, how do you and God relate? Are you a
A. Good friend?
B. A Stranger?
C. An Intimate Friend?

How does God's knowledge of your "dark" area affect your approach to God?
Consider Jacob in the light of the above, particularly the occasion when he wrestled with God (who was here called "a man") in Genesis 32.24, "So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man." In Genesis 32.27, "The man asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Jacob,' he answered. Then the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.'" What is the importance of knowing someone's name?

Sharing Possessions

Early Church FollowersConsider those occasions in the Early Church when the followers of Jesus shared their possessions, such as Acts 4.32, "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had." What lessons can we learn from these stories concerning one's openness to God?
For those who consider themselves close friends, sit down in pairs, and write down some of the things in your "free" box, the "hidden" one for yourself, and something from your neighbor's "blind" box. When finished, exchange papers and discuss your answers together. (Be very careful of one another's feelings!)

Transactional Analysis

Games People PlaySome other interesting insights are exposed by Dr. Eric Berne (1910-1970 AD), the Canadian-born psychiatrist in his book, "Games People Play." These are added to by his followers who study the new science of "Transactional Analysis." While this study tends on the one hand to be a cold search of the human soul, on the other hand, it can enable us to see more clearly what happens to one person when meeting another.

"Know Yourself"
by Ron Meacock © 1982-2021

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