The false identity that many of us have developed didn’t just form in a vaccum. It has a specific cause and a specific root, perhaps, even more than one. What is intended here is to identify some of the root causes of false identity. There may be several others; however, many will fall into the four categories that are listed here. The four main root causes of the false identity are: Curses and Curse-like judgments, self-imposed oaths and self-pronounced curses, shame of sin, and evil/demonic spirits.
I realize that much of the teaching on blessings and cursing has been lost in our modern western church culture. However, the loss of this teaching neither negates the spiritual effects of blessing and cursing, nor does it eliminate the potential harmful effects that are released when a curse is uttered. It is not the intention of this work to delve into a complete study of blessing and cursing. (1) It is; however, our intention to identify a spiritual outworking that may be wreaking spiritual havoc inside the souls of Christians. A curse is defined as, “To utter a wish of evil against one; to imprecate evil upon; to call for mischief or injury to fall upon; to vex or harass by imprecations.” (2) In essence, a curse is a spoken utterance of words that releases a spiritual force into the life of another with the intent of destruction. (We will discuss the power of words in the chapter called, A Word about Words) Our words release spiritual power. This is the essence of prayer and prophecy. When evil is spoken about a person it releases a spiritual force that attacks the individual. When the attack is successful, it can cause depression, suicidality, and an overall loss of identity within an individual. The general cause is an evil spirit that has been released because of an utterance of evil by another individual. The curse must be renounced, in Jesus names, and the general symptoms will improve.
Curse-like judgments are very similar to curses. However, they don’t operate on the spiritual level that involves a demonic spirit. They operate on the emotional level. Frances MacNutt writes, “When we were little, our parents took on something of the authority of God, and we absorbed their judgments as if these judgments were true. (Psychologist call these judgments parental injunctions.) Even when children rebel
against false parental judgments (Judgments like “You’re stupid and will never amount to anything”), something deep down the child believes it. These negative judgments -curses, really-may slice into the child like a knife and remain for a lifetime, until Jesus frees him and replaces the lie with a true estimate of who he truly is. These distortions can destroy the child’s self-esteem. (It is significant that shame, a feeling of basic worthlessness, is now seen as the root of all kinds of addiction.) And this “hole in the soul” usually results from the child’s belief that he has been rejected by the parents.” (3) This may be the number one cause of the false identity. It gives us insight into how carefully a parent should choose their words with their children. Once these judgments are believed, they become the identity of the individual. People will fight against the lies they have believed about themselves all of their lives if these are not identified and renounced. The person needs to forgive the parent and then renounce the effects of the judgmental curse. Prayer should follow asking God to restore to the individuals life all that has been robbed by the lie. Amazing results can happen. (more on this in the chapter, The Solution.)
Self-pronounced curses are the outgrowth of the judgmental curse. When an individual believes the lie, it has become their reality. Hence, they begin to speak the lie over themselves which further solidifies the false identity. Let’s take a look at a previous example. Suppose a woman was teased as a child, by her father or her peers or siblings, that she was fat. Then she believes that she is fat and begins to speak this over herself. The more she feels fat, the more she may focus on her weight. Each time she goes to the mirror, she sees areas that appear larger than they used to appear. Each time she tries on her clothes, they seem tighter than they used to be. She begins to ask her husband if she is fat. She starts to say things like: “I feel so fat!” and “I just can’t loose this weight!” If left unresolved for a long period of time, this woman will ultimately embrace obesity as her identity. Eventually the woman, who thinks of herself as “fat,” will develop a tendency to overeat and begin living a lifestyle conducive to gaining weight. This creates a cycle of weight gain that can be very difficult to break. What we speak over ourselves becomes our reality. Thus, when a lie is believed about our identity, we use the spiritual power given us through words, and pronounce curses over ourselves. These self-pronounced curses are rooted in the lie that we believed from a judgmental curse. Again, forgiveness must be extended and the lie broken and replaced with the truth of who we are in Christ.
Self-imposed oaths are the reaction of emotional pain. The basic idea is that “I have been hurt and wounded by someone I loved. In order to prevent this from ever happening again, I will never really love anyone.” This mindset of “hurt me once, shame on you, hurt me twice, shame on me” will keep us in bondage and not allow us to experience love at its fullest. Indeed, love is a risk. God knows this. It was risky business for God to send Jesus into the world to die for a race of humans that were, by nature, living a lifestyle that provoked His wrath. His love motivate Him to take the risk. Again, forgiveness must be extended to the offending party and inner healing must take place. (again, more on this in the section called, The Solution)
“The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25 NIV) It is interesting to note that the first bi-product of sin is shame. When shame is rooted in the soul, is causes unrest in the soul. A restless soul is a stronghold waiting to happen because it seeks relief of the shame. When the shame is believed, the person generally feels their own worthlessness. Thus, they are not “good enough” to pray to Jesus for deliverance, so they seek rest from another form. Mainly, some type of addiction. The shame of sin when it becomes an identity causes people to believe in their own worthlessness. The Bible clearly speaks otherwise. “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes say my unformed body.” (Psalm 139: 13-15 NIV) Clearly, God created us with goodness in mind and the entire mission of Jesus was to remove shame far from us by removing sin far from us. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as far as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for whose who fear him as far as the east is form the west, so far has he removed our transgression form us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:11-13 NIV) Shame is not part of the Christian identity. Forgiveness and reception of the grace of God into our beings eliminates this as a cause of the false identity.
Once again, it is not the intention of this work to completely discuss the role of evil/demonic spirits. (4) Suffice, for now, to say this. Evil spirits, in short, are parasitic demonic forces that prey and feed upon the souls of the wounded. They are opportunistic spirits which can cause infestations inside of people who have believed lies about themselves. Sometimes, they can be the source of the false identity when curses are involved. Oftentimes, when a father or grandfather makes a covenant with a demonic spirit it has a right to inhabit the children and grandchildren. This is extremely unfair, however, evil cares little for fairness or justice. It cares only about wrecking the destructive force that drives it however and whenever it is capable of doing so. Satan and demonic forces are driven by an extreme hatred of the image-bearers of God and desire to only destroy them. Demonic spirits need a host to inhabit and the wounded are susceptible for infestation and demonization. These oppressing spirits keep people in bondage by re-enforcing the false identity and oftentimes, even causing it. They must be cast out and the wound that allowed them in, healed to prevent re-infection.
1. For in depth studies, the reader is referred to Derek Prince, “Blessings and Curses, you get to choose” Chosen Books, and Frances MacNutt’s Deliverance from Evil Spirits, Chosen Books.
2. Webster Noah, American Dictionary of the English Language 1828 edition, San Francisco, CA, Foundation for American Christian Education, 2006, page 53.
3. MacNutt, Frances, Deliverance from Evil Spirits, A Practical Manual, Chosen Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, page 121-122.
4. The reader is referred to the above quoted book by Fances MacNutt and Derek Prince, “They shall expel Demons.”