The first thing I heard in the Spirit before getting out of bed this morning was the word: “shrike.” What is it that you want me to know, Lord?” I asked, expecting bird thoughts would soon be coming. He immediately reminded me of a book I read a long time ago called “Healing The Wounded Spirit” by John and Paula Sandford. The information I found in a section of it specifically about shrikes was not just God’s answer to my question, but one to recent prayers as well. God is so good and so faithful to answer our heart cries. I will be quoting these authors verbatim with a few added words of my own written in italics. I believe enlightenment on this subject is very much needed for the body of Christ to be able to discern, deliver, and set shrikes free,… not shoot them! Fortified with the understanding that we can be shrikes and still be Christians, let’s look at what I believe our Lord wants people in troubled relationships to know:
“A shrike is a bird which impales its victim on a thorn and then tears it apart muscle by muscle. In human terms, a shrike is a person who gathers all the righteousness to himself or herself that everyone else must act out wickedness. The essence of shrikism is that it establishes personal righteousness at the expense of others. Not all performance oriented people are shrikes, but all shrikes are performance oriented. Having bought the lie that they must perform well to be loved, yet insecure about their performance, they are driven unconsciously to contrast themselves with others; others must look bad in order for the shrike to look good. The shrike fears rejection more than anything else.
People in proximity to shrikes perform less well than they normally do in proximity to anyone else.
The final check for a shrike is in: Which do you see first and most easily: Do you see the other fellow’s faults, or yours?… In an argument, do you seek to bless and protect the other’s heart while finding truth together, or do you seek to prove him wrong and you right?
Shrikes always have a reason, an excuse, or an alibi to justify what they do. The fault is never theirs. If a true accusation is inescapable and they must admit they did a wrong thing, someone else has put them into an untenable position. They had to do it. Unconsciously, to them blame is tantamount to not being loved: They cannot conceive that someone could love them despite their faults, so they must never have any faults
Shrieks often impute their own unconscious motives to others and bitterly charge them.
Shrikes carry tales.
Shrikes cannot arrive at a knowledge of the truth-… the simple truth that they are incapable of hearing is that they are loved unconditionally.
Shrikes rewrite history.
Shrikes are always controlling.
Shrikes perceive attempts to help them as attacks.
Shrikes cannot rest.
Shrikes resist inner healing because after all, nothing is wrong with them. It’s those other people. If they do allow themselves to be ministered to, it is only so far as they remain in control, revealing nothing which might lead to seeing their real inner depths of sin. They are role-playing the righteousness of humbly being minister to.
Shrikes usually have slumbering spirits, but not all do.
John wrote that he and Paula “were not confirmed shrikes, but we had plenty of it in us.” I believe this is true for most of us. As for me, “seeking to prove the other wrong and myself right” hit me between my eyes. I pray that everyone who reads this takes inventory over any and all shrikism in their lives. John wrote that “we ALL have “unconscious demands on each other” and that “they must be brought to death through prayer and discipline.”
After many years of counseling and teaching others about the transformation of the inner man, John stated that “setting a confirmed shrike free was the most difficult work that he and Paula encountered.” He relayed that: “Those who minister to shrikes must be people who have the ability to confront and rebuke, lightly but firmly, again and again. Shrikes must be told when they are shrikes, and in no uncertain terms.”
This past year I have cried out to God with many tears asking Him: “How can a spirit-filled Christian continually deny wrongdoing when confronted with it?” Now I know and so do you! Let us begin on our road to recovery by repenting and dealing with any shrikism in ourselves first of all, and then pray God give us the wisdom, grace and patience to help others and set shrikes free, not shoot them down.
Oh Lord Jesus, how we need you!