Posts Tagged ‘respect’

Let There Be Light!

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.

In most of our homes, you simply flip a switch and light fills a dark room. Pretty incredible, really. Let There Be Light!

Now follow me in a thought experiment. Imagine it’s high noon on a bright, sunny day. Could someone invent a “dark bulb” so we could flip a switch and the room would suddenly be dark?

Nope. You can’t pump dark into a room when light’s present, because darkness isn’t a real thing. It’s only the absence of a thing.

The only way to make a room dark is to eliminate the light.

It’s such an obvious truth that it sounds a bit silly to even talk about it. But take a hard look at a lot of what passes for current public discourse and debate. Basically, it’s a series of personal attacks designed to diminish or extinguish others’ lights.
Blowing out the other guy’s candle won’t make yours burn any brighter.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:14-15)

We’re supposed to add  light, not eliminate it. We need to spend our time taking the light of Jesus into the dark corners.

Want to eliminate racism? Eradicate poverty? Stop human trafficking? Unify the church?

Don’t ask me. I’m not that smart. But I do know this.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred. Only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s not our job to run around turning off the lights.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Spiritual Abuse by Spouses or Partners

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Spiritual abuse is one form of abuse a spouse or partner uses to exercise power and control over his wife or partner.

If she works outside of the home, he refuses to let her tithe on her own income.

He makes fun of her if she reads the Bible or another spiritual book.

When his wife reads the Bible to the children or prays with them, he enters the room, repeatedly distracts them, and laughs about it.

If she plays a Christian hymn or chorus on the piano, he screams at her to stop. He tells her she can’t play “that type of music” when he’s home.

He uses foul language and takes God’s name in vain in front of her and the children.

He talks about other Christians and says he doesn’t know a single Christian who is fun to be with including his wife. He says they’re all hypocrites anyway, and that’s why he won’t go to church.

He claims his right to say and do what he wants because he is the head of the household. He then quotes Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

It seems strange that the abuser who knows Ephesians 5:22 so well avoids Ephesians 5:21 that says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

The batterer also ignores Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” He selects one verse to justify his abuse and ignores the rest of the Bible. He treats the Bible as if it were a buffet where he can pick and choose what he wants and leave the rest.

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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright by Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of
“Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward”
Download her One Sheet at http://www.yvonneortega.com.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Where Did They (We) Go Wrong?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. (Matthew 22:15)

It’s not an isolated incident. Religious leaders were always seeking opportunities to twist Jesus’ words, catch Him breaking a rule–anything to discredit Him and diminish His increasing influence among the people. We’ve read the stories so often, maybe we take them for granted.three four

The religious leaders are the bad guys, right? Except, they’re not. Not really. The Pharisees were folks who tried really hard to get it right, but somewhere along the way they got lost.

Ever wonder what might have happened if they approached Jesus differently?

What would have happened if they assumed the best rather than the worst?

What if they started from a place of trust instead of suspicion? What if they assumed He meant well instead of harm? What if they assumed He had everyone’s best interest at heart?

What would have happened if they asked before they judged or condemned?

What if they assumed they didn’t know the whole story? What if they genuinely desired to understand before deciding?

You and I can’t change the interactions between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day. But every day I (and I’ll bet you) encounter situations, discussions, teachings, and decisions that don’t make sense. It’s so tempting to jump to a conclusion, judgement, condemnation based on my perspective.

What if I always assumed best intentions?

What if I make sure I understand before I decide?

What if I always lead with love and grace?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Why Is The Other Guy So Unreasonable?

Monday, February 15th, 2016

It’s awfully easy to say, “You’re wrong. You’re an idiot. You’re a loser.”

Not all that yelluseful, though. Shouting at the guy on the other side (who thinks you’re wrong) isn’t likely to close the gap.

If your only goal is to sound cool to your own team by belittling the losers on the other side, I guess finding clever ways to highlight their mistakes makes sense. Otherwise, it only makes a difficult situation worse.

Here’s an uncomfortable fact: people make decisions for a reason. Folks with similar backgrounds and similar perceived options usually make similar choices. So if you want to know why someone made a particular decision, you must take the time to listen and understand their story.

That’s called empathy. Doesn’t mean you agree, only that you make the effort to understand and communicate your understanding.

There are two ways to close the gap.

The short path of violence. Get a bigger club (physical, economic, verbal, political, social), beat the other guy over the head, and force him to your side. Immediate gratification, almost no opportunity for long-term reconciliation.

The long path of nonviolence. Choose relationship, of empathy, of humility, of service, of love. Little possibility of immediate gratification, the only path to long-term reconciliation.

Arc Universe

Jesus spent much of His time with the folks on the other side. They were the losers of His day, and He showed us what might happen when we let go of power and choose empathy and humility.

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Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Whose Truth Is It?

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

truth1I believe in absolute truth.

I also know humans view truth through the imperfect lens of their own experience. As the picture indicates, it’s impossible to consider truth independent of the perspective of the observer.

Truth is a cylinder. From my perspective, it’s a circle. You’re certain it’s a square.

I’ve observed that people of good will who love Jesus with all their hearts can reach different conclusions on many issues. I believe we must listen to one another and accept the reality that we all see through a glass darkly.

We must major in the majors and minor in the minors.

What unites matters more than what divides.

Can you see the benefit of understanding that where you see a circle and the other person sees a square, the reality may be a cylinder?

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Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Do You Agree?

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Recent events got me thinking about today’s word-of-the-week…
AGREE

Monday Wouldn’t it be great if we could all agree on every issue?

Sadly, The Good Ship Lollipop hasn’t sailed down my street recently and I haven’t taken up residence in Fantasyland. Since I don’t live in a bubble, I’m going to encounter people with whom I disagree.

In fact, I’d argue it’s my job to do exactly that, because that’s what Jesus did. He made a point of hanging out with the very people the hyper-religious types avoided. He went to their homes, attended their parties, ate their food…and asked us to follow Him.

Do you think He entered a house and started by saying something like “I want you to know I hate your sinful lifestyle and I’m only here because it’s my duty”? Do you think He felt like He was lowering His standards? Did He send someone else because He didn’t want to associate with some particular class of sinner?

I think He hung out with people because He loved them. He wasn’t worried that the neighborhood (or the country) might lose God’s favor because He honored, reached out to, respected another human being.

Jesus said it’s easy to love those who love you in return. He called us to do the hard thing, to love and serve those who aren’t so easy to love. (Luke 6)

I won’t speak for you. I think others see my faith in how I respond to those with whom I disagree. Honestly, I miss the mark a lot and I’m sorry for that.

I’m trying. I want them to see Jesus.

Your Opportunities in 2016

Monday, January 4th, 2016

For the first Monday of 2016 a perfect word-of-the-week

ENCOURAGEMENT

2016I’m so grateful that you read these words each week, and I’m prompted to begin 2016 with a message of encouragement.

I can’t promise you smooth roads and an easy path. Life doesn’t work like that. I do believe God offers an opportunity to write a remarkable story with the days of 2016. Like any great story, it will include challenges and conflict. You’ll need courage, and faith, and trust, and hope.

“Take courage! I Am. Don’t be afraid.”

I can’t promise God won’t give you more than you can handle. That’s a platitude for posters. I’m confident, though, that He’ll surround you with folks who will share the load, if you’ll let them. And Jesus will always walk beside you.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

May you find a cause worth investing in, fighting for, sacrificing for. And please remember that worthwhile investments involve risk, and fights worth fighting often leave a few battle scars. And sacrifice means…sacrificing something.

May you live free of fear. In a world in which many seek to manipulate by manufacturing and magnifying fear, I hope you’ll trust that God’s at work and the message of fear is the enemy’s lie.

May you, whenever possible, seek to think the best of others. Regarding people with mistrust and suspicion causes us to make up untrue stories in our heads and to ascribe bad motives to even good deeds.

May you leave the past in the past and avoid the silliness of tripping over obstacles that are behind you.

May you minimize worry which wastes so much energy and adds nothing to the quality of life.

May you forgive, not because it’s deserved or because you want to or because you feel like forgiving or even because you’re supposed to forgive. I hope you’ll forgive because it’s the only lasting path to peace and freedom.

May you know, with absolute confidence, that God works for good in all circumstances. None of your effort, success, struggle, pain, or failure will be wasted.

May you move forward with hope, the confident expectation that God always keeps His promises.

May you always lead with love. Not because it’s easy or because it makes sense or because it gets the desired short-term results. May you lead with love because it’s the path to Jesus and because, in the end, it’s the way the universe works.

My encouragement, dear friends, to you and to me for 2016.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

You are Not a Label!

Monday, November 30th, 2015

An odd question brings us today’s word-of-the-week…

LABELS

“What kind of quadriplegic are you?”

Seriously. Now I not only have to be labeled as a quad, but there are subcategories? I’m getting really tired of labels.

The guy’s sister just had a car accident and he was seeking information. Parents relayed a ton of stuff by phone and I was someone to talk to. I get it.

But I remember a few weeks after my injury. Docs told me I fell into certain categories, slapped labels on my chart, and pronounced sentence.

“You likely won’t live past age 50.” (I was 36 at the time, 27 years ago.)

“You’ll have limited physical independence.” (I taught full-time in a public school classroom for 21 years after my injury; I’ve handcycled nearly 35,000 miles.)

You get the idea. Labels chunk people into categories so we can make broad assumptions about the people in those categories.

Liberal. Conservative. Evangelical. Mainline. Gay. Protestant. Catholic. Black. White.

Muslim.

Each label conjures an image and a bunch of stereotypes that likely don’t describe most of the individuals in any of the groups.

Jesus didn’t do labels, because He saw individuals. He didn’t accept or reject anyone because of the group they came from or any other such silliness.

Think you’re immune from the labeling disease? I had coffee a while back with a friend who casually mentioned, as a tangent to our conversation, that we’d all be better off without Democrats. I chuckled and told him I was registered as a Democrat. His face fell. “I hope you’re joking.” Then he changed the subject.

Labels are lazy shortcuts. Once I know you’re “one of those” I can stereotype you. I don’t have to bother with the hard work of knowing you as a person.

I’m weary of labels. They’re too frequently about fear, bullying, and anger. They’re nearly always about divisiveness.

What kind of quadriplegic am I? I’m the kind who sits in a wheelchair and dreams God-sized dreams.

A challenge: Look for the labels you use to categorize people–or yourself.

It’s Monday! This would be a good week to see people rather than labels.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

God And Baseball

Friday, November 27th, 2015

200px-Sandy_KoufaxSandy Koufax is a quiet, reserved man.

From 1960-1966 he was arguably the best pitcher in major league baseball. On October 6, 1965, Koufax declined to pitch the opening game of the World Series. Sandy Koufax is Jewish, and that day was Yom Kippur.

I remember being dumbfounded by the news. Fourteen-year-old me would have traded essential body parts to play in a World Series. Why would a guy turn down a chance to pitch game 1 for church?

I’m less dumbfounded these days. You shall have no other gods before me.  I get it.

Or…do I? I’ve never been faced with anything like the choice Koufax faced, and I likely never will. But I wonder what I would do? This isn’t about skipping church or anything legalistic. It’s deeper.

It’s about What comes before God?

When Koufax was asked in later years about whether his decision was difficult, he said it really wasn’t. He said it was just a matter of respect.

My life’s pretty darn cushy. I live under a blanket of privileges, most of which I probably don’t even recognize (until the toaster breaks).

I wouldn’t trade body parts these days for a spot in the World Series, mostly because I don’t have that many working body parts remaining. Paralysis alters one’s values, I guess.

But we all have our “cling-to’s,” those things or experiences we just don’t want to let go of.

Sandy Koufax let go of pitching game 1 of a World Series because God was more important.

I wonder what I’m clinging to so tightly that it’s more important than God? You?

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Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Why I Don’t Rescue Others

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

rescueEver feel like you needed to rescue someone?

As a new teacher, I was sure I had a lot to offer. The students needed me. They needed what I had. I was the outside expert parachuting into their world to save them from their ignorance and give them what they couldn’t possibly get for themselves.

As my career progressed I discovered I was working with a horribly flawed model. My students didn’t need to be saved by an expert. They needed a partner who brought some resources and skills to the learning process.

And like every good teacher, I learned and grew from the relationship at least as much as my students.

I’ve been reading a lot about how to address injustice issues like poverty and racism. Like me as a new teacher, our solutions usually involve some version of the outside experts swooping in with their version of a solution.

The best solutions involve relationship in which there’s acknowledgement that everyone’s broken and in need of reconciliation. Local folks contribute both ideas and resources, and the entire process is a partnership. It’s about being servants, not saviors.

And there’s never a sense that we’re “bringing Jesus” into communities in which He’s always been active.

I’ve learned that we tend to greatly oversimplify issues of social justice. Poverty, for example, is a good deal more than simple lack of resources. Without understanding, the best intentions may cause harm.

Victims of injustice already have a Savior. They need a partner.

If you want to learn more, I strongly recommend this book: When Helping Hurts

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com