Correct With Love

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photo credit: Kurdistan Photo ???????? kurdistan via photopin (license)

 

The next time someone is wrong on the internet, let’s try to remember that correction requires a loving relationship, or it won’t be received well. Usually, it is best to just stop and pray. If God does ever ask us to correct his children for him, it is wise to first connect with God’s children and positively and nurture them, meeting their needs in a loving manner. If we take time to do that, we will be much better received. In this context, correction is a positive affirmation of relationship instead of the negative rejection it is when it is disconnected from a warm, nurturing relationship.

Let’s also remember we need loving correction ourselves and seek nurturing relationships where we will get nudged into the right direction safely. We can get through bad days by relying on a nurturing relationship with someone we can trust to lovingly, gently correct us while praising what we get right more frequently and patiently listening even if we don’t say everything as respectfully as we should. I strongly recommend we all have that relationship with Father God and Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you happen to have a good parent or spouse who qualifies, too, great. However, we need to keep the Lord as our first go-to person or our loved one will become an idol. Three reasons to avoid that. One, idolatry hurts God like our spouses committing adultery would hurt us. Two, even the best people won’t always be there for us, but God is always with his people. Three, idols often will fall off of their pedestals, but God will never fail you. So spare God and yourself a lot of pain and keep God first.

Now, some of us have conditions like Attention Deficit Disorder which cause rejection sensitivity. When triggered, it produces a physical anxiety that some would call “negative energy.” Whatever we call it, we are often tempted to think this comes from the person triggering us, blaming them. In reality, it comes from our own flesh’s response to our own perception of rejection.

Perception is not reality. Nonetheless, our flesh reacts to our perception. Our flesh’s reaction often triggers more negative behavior in the other person. And it can cause rejection where none had been. This cycle can be broken, if we can change our perception of others’ negative behavior. For example, what if, instead of perceiving rejection, we saw an indication the person is hurting and needs help? How would we respond differently? How might our more compassionate response improve their disposition?

This is far from easy, of course, and we do all need to be careful if someone truly means us harm.

Still, God can help us if we pray, acknowledge our weakness, and ask him to give us his eyes. He can also help us to treat others with respect and love even when we still find their behavior disrespectful and unloving. Again, abuse survivors, this does not mean we must let abusers keep hurting us. It means to set boundaries with respect and love. Typically, an abuser will decry any manner of boundary-setting as rude and unloving, so don’t allow them to be the judge. Let God show you how to love and respect the abuser as you also stop enabling them to keep sinning against you.

Finally, when you or a loved one is honestly struggling and truly wish to do better, give yourself or your loved one grace. Recognize where your and/or your loved one is at that day and set reasonable expectations of what can be accomplished. Lower the bar clear to basic safety levels, if necessary. Decide together on three baby steps in the right direction and take those steps together. Little by little can accomplish much and build confidence for more tomorrow.

[tweetthis]Correct With Love #Christiandiscipline #Spiritualgrowth #boundaries #abuse [/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]Before you correct God’s children, connect with and lovingly nurture them, meeting their needs. Godly correction is done with love, in a healthy relationship. [/tweetthis]

Flashback Friday: “Warning!” Poem (Hi My name is Prejudice)

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Here is my obligatory denunciation of racism, and all other forms of prejudice for that matter, left as I first wrote it at sixteen. Note as a teenager I was warning us all to beware of our own prejudices first and foremost. Change begins with ourselves.

Warning!

Hi! My name is prejudice
You better beware of me.
Because I come in every shape
And any size, you see.
You can never be exactly sure
Who I am or where I’ll be.
Red, black, white, or polka dots
It matters not to me.
As long as I’m causing irrational fear
And panic, I’m as happy as can be.
So go ahead and play your games,
All you want with me.
I don’t care, but you best beware.
Because my name is prejudice, you see
And I can be anyone and everyone
No one is safe from me.
Lock your doors & windows, if you dare.
You can’t escape from me.
I’ll find you, all the same
And you’ll never even know it was me.
What I do you want to know?
Fine, but you didn’t here it from me.
I am the king of irrational fear and panic.
I feed off of ignorance and low self esteem.
I fill your head with false truths.
And your heart with fear, you see.
I’ll take away your very soul.
Leaving a lifeless mongrel to replace.
Away I’ll fling your true friends
And leave only the other victims of me.
I’ll turn you into your worst fear.
Just another clone of me.
Hi! My name is Prejudice
And you better beware of me.

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true”]Flashback Friday: “Warning!” #Poem Hi My name is Prejudice. You’d better beware of me. #racismsucks [/tweetthis]

Freedom Is Hard

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Came across this gem while editing an unpublished novel I hadn’t worked on in two years. In context, it was said by a member of an oppressed fantasy race about literal oppression by visible enemies who kept them comfortable, providing them everything but freedom and weapons to defend themselves with, and “culling” folks who made a fuss or when they became worth more dead than alive. Their people did have the ability to run outside of their enemies’ borders and settle in the wilderness, but such freedom would be hard, so they rarely did so long as they were comfortable in their oppression.

Most of us don’t have such problems, yet how often do we have areas of spiritual oppression or other problems in our lives? Freedom is often a hard battle. So long as we can avoid the issue, make ourselves comfortable in the condition, whether we embrace it as a core “normal” part of ourselves or continue to dislike it, we won’t be motivated to fight to change it. Most of us don’t repent, face our helpless condition, and cry out for freedom and become willing to work hard for it until the pain of slavery becomes intolerable.

It also struck me this character was an adult, speaking to a child, who gave her a blank stare, not understanding at all. While this may be true for children, too, they tend to be more humble, more readily admit to weakness, and more readily cry out for help.

How much pain must God allow us to go through before we come to the end of ourselves and surrender fully? We shall overcome only by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony of this truth. (Revelation 12:11) Is it time for us to stop being strong, enduring pain with our Good Christian platitudes and forced Good Christian smiles and take the posture of a weak child, honestly bring the broken pieces of our hearts to God to mend?

Let’s get uncomfortable, face the slavery in our lives, and ask God for strength to endure the hardships on the road to freedom.

[tweetthis]So long as we’re comfortable in slavery, we’re unwilling to face the hardships of freedom.[/tweetthis]

Rise and Walk: Three Steps to Freedom From Shame

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photo credit: jeronimoooooooo Caminhos da Floresta via photopin (license)

It’s time to stop living under a cloud of shame because you’re damaged goods. It’s true that sin has damaged you, but what the devil isn’t telling you is that everyone is damaged goods.

We’ve all been damaged by sin of some sort. Only one sin is unforgivable, blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, which comes from a seared conscience and a hardened heart. If you’re feeling shame, you haven’t committed the unpardonable sin.

So kick Satan to the curb already, in three simple steps.

  1. Confess to the Lord that what you did was wrong and ask the Lord to forgive you.
  2. Accept you’re forgiven and that your sins have been washed away in the blood of the Lamb, praying for God to help you do this as much as is needed.
  3. Get up and walk in faith and victory, according to the Spirit at work within you, transforming you into God’s perfect image and clothing you in Christ’s righteousness.

If you feel like this was meant for you, or otherwise were blessed and wish to follow up with me, please don’t hesitate to comment or contact me privately.

Originally Published on: Feb 7, 2013 @ 20:07

[tweetthis]Rise and Walk: Three Steps to Freedom From Shame[/tweetthis]

Change Begins With Us

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Devanath / Pixabay

Devanath / Pixabay

Peace, brothers and sisters in Christ, peace.

 

Lately, I’ve encountered a disturbing amount of Christians bickering amongst ourselves, sometimes with the eyes of a lost world literally watching, and likely thinking if our unkind, unloving, disrespectful attitudes in the moment represent what Christ is about, no thanks. They can get plenty of that without the Lord. Meanwhile, often, everyone involved in the fussing is sure they’re right and the other person is wrong, no one is respectfully listening and respectfully responding to each other, and everyone feels justified in their bad behavior by the other side’s bad behavior, and this ugly cycle just goes on and on. Let’s break the cycle, be respectful to the disrespectful, kind to the unkind, loving to the unloving. It begins with us.

 

We have to set boundaries sometimes of course. Even when that is the case, if we want anything to change, we need to all examine our own conduct, restrain ourselves from reacting automatically, pray for God’s help, and choose to respond in a manner that represents Christ well. I know such discipline is hard for some of us, and learning it may take time, but we have to keep practicing making the choice to crucify the flesh and walk in the Spirit on such matters. It is too easy to behave disrespectfully, hatefully, etc. when we feel we or someone or something dear to us is being disrespected, hated, etc.. That’s simply the nature of the flesh we all struggle with.

 

It’s long been a battle in my own life for sure, but lately, I have observed so much of Christians falling prey to the flesh in this regard, I’ve begun to strongly suspect that none of us are immune. If we want things to change, we need to face that if we’re not watching ourselves, any of us can get sucked in and become one of those people. Yes, even when we deeply love the Lord, care deeply about the lost and demonstrating who God is to them. Even someone who is normally one of the loveliest, sweetest souls on Earth can potentially get conned by “righteous” anger into becoming part of the problem. So I ask us all to watch ourselves, to humbly face the potential within ourselves to become a part of the problem, in hopes one of us will catch ourselves about to act like that and check ourselves first.

 

Again, becoming “one of them” takes only one moment of “righteous” anger where we’re sure we’re right, that the other side is ignorant, wrong, and a threat to people or causes we love dearly. One moment of feeling disrespected and hated and in pain is all it takes to surrender to the flesh, snapping back in kind without thinking or praying through our hurt and asking God to help us respond in a way that will glorify his name. While it is fine to give respectful, loving responses and to set boundaries in a respectful, loving manner, outside of that, keeping it going isn’t much better than causing it when these things quickly come to both sides thinking the other side started it.

So again, let’s all work together to break this ugly cycle. Let’s stop before we react automatically by mirroring either real or anticipated bad behavior. Let’s instead give our angry feelings to God and ask God to give us the strength to respect those who are disrespectful, to be kind and loving to those who are unkind and hateful. It begins with us.

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true”]Tired of sister dividing against sister over politics? Longing for peace? It begins with us. [/tweetthis]