Relationships

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?

Hold Your Hands OutPremium Content

Can you hold out your hands in front of you, open, palms up, with all that you have and all that you are or will ever become held in them?

Can you keep them open like this, open to the Lord?

Then you are beginning to know THE TRUE FAITH!

Will you refrain from grasping, self-promoting, or gloating? Will you love those He gives you to care for, as they continue on their journey, passing through your hands? Or will you have your own agenda for them, push and manipulate by fear or condemnation and guilt?

Will you give what He tells you to give, and let go what was never yours in the first place? All is His!

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True Friendship or Playing at Friendship?Premium Content

Proverbs 18:24 NRSV
Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.


I think that, on the whole, we don't really know how to be friends these days. In fact, our idea of friendship is often quite skewed because we either liken it to some kind of party (albeit an informal gathering down at the local pub over a brew) or we see it as something that makes us feel better. I think, all in all, we are more likely the first—someone who plays at friendship—than the latter—someone who sticks closer than a brother.

Understand that, when Proverbs was written, families lived together in one compound. Thus, there was a bond—heightened by financial intertwining—that existed between brothers. Sons (and daughters) didn't grow up to maturity and move away, but rather grew up to become part of the family's industry (whatever that was). Brothers were interconnected to such an extent that it was difficult to exist apart. So not only were they related physically (by blood), but there was a geographic and financial relationship that never ended.

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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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Falling for the "Bad Guy"Premium Content

"Everyone falls for the bad guy."

Yep, that about sums it up. A lot of you ladies know exactly what I'm talking about.

We see him, the rebel, complete with dreamy bedroom eyes, tousled hair and a certain taboo nonconformity, brooding in a dark corner somewhere; we're smitten.

There's something alluring, dangerous and promising about the bad guy, isn't there? Its intoxicating argument of an exciting, romantic and perfect life, however that's defined, leads us into taking the bad guy up on his offer. We make some choices- and, let's face it, they're not exactly great choices for us, are they?

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I have been divorced a long time. What can I do?Premium Content

I have been divorced for ten years. What should I do?

It is so unfortunate that you felt that your problems were so difficult and unique that there was no way to resolve them. It seems that you are now realizing that most of life's problems are short-lived and that on the other side of them, it is easier to see what would have been the right decision.

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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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Why Am I Stuck In Unforgiveness?Premium Content

I have been on this journey of forgiveness for quite a few years now, and this week, God showed me forgiveness was not at completion. Not for lack of trying, for sure. But still I am shocked at the length and depth of the process.

I do know that some things that God requires us to forgive will be a longer deeper process than other things. If we have been hurt by someone close to us, like a spouse, parent, child, or dear friend, or if the pain has been repeated and protracted, or if the tragedy occurred when we were a child or adolescent, or if the trauma was particularly heinous or the loss very profound, the process of forgiveness will be longer and require more of us.

Like you, I have a number of people and incidences to forgive. I will focus on just one offender right now for simplicity.

I started years ago with the first step of forgiveness: release. Releasing the offender to God.

"Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19

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Do You Belong In Bethlehem?Premium Content

What would Jesus think if I showed up in Bethlehem?
I’ve been trying to spend some time each day during this Christmas season at the nativity scene, wondering about the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of each character. And I found myself wondering how Jesus would respond to the presence of a disabled person in that holy circle.

I’d probably try to stay away. I’d list endless excuses to stay in my own warm, safe environment and let someone else go.

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Could You be a "Selfie?"Premium Content

All right, I admit it. I'm on social media- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and of course, my website. In this modern culture, that's the rule, not the exception. Virtually everyone I know is on social media - and even some of their pets, to boot. I certainly have posted my fair share of cat photos. It's a bit ridiculous how many profile pics are floating out there. Some are obscene; some are funny. Some are glamorous and some are downright narcissistic.

Yes, narcissism. Here we go. It's an easy thing to get sucked into. In a world where promotion is the name of the game, how, exactly, does one navigate social media without a little (or a lot of, let's be real) promotion of self?

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