Family

Holidays are so difficult; Can I just stay home?

Holidays are so difficult; my in-laws are so mean to me. Can I just stay home?

First of all, in order to stay home, would you have to make up an excuse or could you tell the truth about why you wanted to bow out of the activities? In this case, doing the right thing may be very difficult, but no less necessary.

I would guess that you could come up with several people who would be very hurt and disappointed by your absence. My advice is to focus on them. Make those few people your comfort for the day. You can sit by them, talk to them and lean on them for support. Focus on your support system instead of those few hurtful people who try to make you suffer.

Death of an Innocent

I went to a party, Mom. I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right.

Now the party is finally ending, Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I'd get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me, so responsible and sweet.
I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn't see me, Mom, and hit me like a load.

As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say,
The other guy is drunk, Mom, and now I'm the one who will pay.
I'm lying here dying, Mom. I wish you'd get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon.

There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom, I'll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom. The others didn't think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank and I will die...

If Children Live with _______. They Learn.

If children live with criticism
They learn to condemn

If children live with hostility
They learn to fight

If children live with fear
They learn to be apprehensive

If children live with pity
They learn to feel sorry for themselves

If children live with jealousy
They learn what envy is

If children live with ridicule
They learn to be shy

If children live with shame
They learn to feel guilt.

If children live with tolerance
They learn to be patient

If children live with encouragement
They learn to be confident

If children live with praise
They learn to appreciate

If children live with approval
They learn to like themselves

Integrity: Watching What We Say

Integrity is as much what we say as what we do.

We have tried, in our culture, to separate what we say from what we do. "Do as I say, not as I do" is a phrase I heard periodically growing up. But the fact is, we are what we say. Our words, in fact, are often predictors of our actions and are certainly revealers of our hearts.

Proverbs 19:1 NRSV
Better the poor walking in integrity
than one perverse of speech who is a fool.

This proverb compares two people, one who "walks in integrity" without wealth and one who is "perverse in speech" and a fool. The inference, of course, is that the one who is perverse in speech has more material wealth than the other. The writer tells us that it’s better to be poor and have integrity than to be wealthy and a fool. And what makes a fool? Someone whose speech is perverse.

To be perverse means to turn away from what’s good and right. Think about that. Are our words good? Do they glorify the Lord? Or are they hurtful... or mean... or simply degrading? What are perverse words anyway?

The Worst Kind of BetrayalPremium Content

I think that betrayal is the worst experience in life. Most things are easy to rise above, or, if necessary, easy to endure. You simply put one foot in front of another and walk through it. But betrayal breaks the spirit. It makes you want to say, "What's the point?"


The human spirit will endure sickness;
but a broken spirit -- who can bear?
Proverbs 18:14 NRSV

Betrayal exists all around us. Most of the times, we set ourselves up. We create expectations of relationships, of circumstances, and when things don't work out the way we planned or intended or hoped, we are betrayed. And it hurts. It hurts a lot! In these situations, however, we need to look within ourselves. Were our expectations unreasonable? For example, we usually expect that our employers will treat us fairly. Our expectations are based on the idea that our employers, our jobs are the source of our income, our livelihood. In these cases, our expectations are unreasonable. Our job isn't the source of our income; the Lord is! And He never fails. So it doesn't matter whether or not we lose our job. He will provide.

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What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God?Premium Content

What does it mean to surrender a loved one to God? Does it mean you turn your back and walk away?

No, certainly not. Surrendering does not mean abandoning. It does not mean you no longer care.

Surrender is motivated out of love -- such deep love for the person that you are willing to get out of the way and let God sit in the driver's seat. Admit it: with us in the driver's seat, things weren't going quite so well. There were just too many things we were powerless to control.

Surrender is choosing to yoke up with Jesus.

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Practicing the Art of ListeningPremium Content

Proverbs 18:13 NRSV
If one gives answer before hearing,
it is folly and shame.


I don't know whether or not I'm a baby boomer, but I do know that I've grown up in the era of psychology. Everything is about learning how to relate to others, learning how to know one's self, figuring out why we are dysfunctional.

One of the psychological "skills" that has been taught a lot is active listening. Wikipedia gives a great definition:

"When interacting, people often are not listening attentively to one another. They may be distracted, thinking about other things, or thinking about what they are going to say next, (the latter case is particularly true in conflict situations or disagreements). Active listening is a structured way of listening and responding to others. It focuses attention on the speaker. Suspending one's own frame of reference and suspending judgment are important in order to fully attend to the speaker." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_listening).

It's interesting to me that the Bible was talking about active listening long before we even had psychologists. "If one gives answer before hearing . . ." Even if we hear the sounds that doesn't mean that we are hearing the content. The reality is that if we are thinking about how to respond rather than truly listening, we are focusing (again) on ourselves rather than the other person. We are working on a "defense" for our own position, rather than really caring about how that other person feels (and thinks). We are concerned about protecting ourselves rather than trusting God to protect us.

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Do I need to forgive someone who is not repentant?Premium Content

Do I need to forgive someone even if it doesn’t seem that he is sorry?

Luke 17:3-4 answers that question this way:

"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

Jesus said that without genuine repentance there is no forgiveness. One example of this principle is when he says:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation.2 Corinthians 7:10

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What Do You Gain When You Rescue Someone?Premium Content

Proverbs 19:19:
A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty;
if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.

"My husband is a hot-tempered man," Rosie told me. "In a fit of rage, he broke my mother's special vase."

"What happened next?" I asked.

Rosie blushed as she talked about rushing to the store to find a vase just like the one her husband broke before her mother returned home.

I looked into her eyes and asked if she had covered for her husband in the past.

Rosie wouldn't look at me. However, she admitted she had rescued her husband many times from the consequences of his behavior.

"Are you tired of rescuing your husband?"

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Practicing Self-ControlPremium Content

Proverbs 17:27-28 NRSV
One who spares words is knowledgeable;
one who is cool in spirit has understanding.
Even fools who keep silent are considered wise;
when they close their lips, they are deemed intelligent.


A truly wise person uses few words;
a person with understanding is even-tempered.
NLT

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain

We talk too much and we feel too much. Period. End of story. Somewhere, somehow, in our culture, the idea began to permeate that one who says a lot knows a lot. But you only have to listen to people through the media to know that's not true.

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