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How Firm a Foundation

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This week I have hit the boxes – the boxes in the bat cave my garage that have been there since we moved here, awaiting a fire my attention.  No, these aren’t the first boxes I’ve gone through, but when you move from a two-story home with full attic and full basement to a one-floor ranch with a crawl, you have to figure out what to do with all that crap treasure.  So? you say?  I found a real treasure a box I have been looking for for awhile (we’ve been here 5 years now).  It contains things from my childhood and other treasures I have collected (like my youngest two children’s first hair cut hair.)  I found some things that belonged to my mother, who passed away the week before we moved here.  AND, I found a poem I had written to my father – who knows when.

This would be special at any time, but last Tuesday my dad slipped, fell and broke his hip.  In fact, he broke the ball off and had to have the leg stretched back into position to prepare for surgery on Monday.  This is not the first time my father has been in the hospital with serious issues.  In fact, it’s par for the course in my life.  He has genetic pancreatitis, and nearly died several times during my childhood.  He was burnt pretty bad once and has been in major accidents.  And that’s just the beginning.   It’s not been easy to face his mortality, and yet he outlived my mother.

No matter what life threw us, my dad, a Baptist Minister, taught me some valuable lessons in how he handled it.  He taught me:  Life is not about circumstances, it’s about how you deal with the circumstances;  Put God first and all else will follow;  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE; and so many more things.  He taught me about God and how to have a relationship with Him.  He taught me about faith through example (stories to come in future posts?)  He was not perfect, but he is my dad and I love him.

As I pack and prepare to head down next week for his surgery and recovery, I wanted to share something I found in that treasure trove from the bat cave.  This may be a post you pass over, and that’s ok, it’s really for my daddy.  This is a poem (didn’t say it was great) that I wrote for him who knows how long ago.  I’m guessing it was in my teens.  I want to share it with him and with anyone who wants to read it.   There’s nothing like the influence of a daddy – whether through his presence or his absence, the things he teaches by doing or the things he teaches by not doing.  He is one of the most powerful influences in a person’s life and often shows us our first picture of God (good or bad).   I love you daddy.  We’ll get through this one too.

Thank You Dad

I thank you Dad for all the times

you’ve been there just for me.

The times when I was hurt or tired

or longing to be free.

I thank you for the walks we took,

the times you stopped to play,

For all those times you let things go

to be with me each day.

Thanks for coming through for me

when I thought all was lost.

I always knew I could count on you

no matter what the cost.

But most of all I thank you Dad

for bringing me up right.

For teaching me of Jesus who’s

the way, the truth, the light.

I know it’s your example then

of what a dad should be

That brought me to my heavenly Dad

who’s waiting now for me.

So thank you Dad you’ve always been

a shining knight to me

And I think you’re the greatest Dad

that ever there could be.

I love you Daddy!   Angie

copyright 2012

(Grams forgive the punctuation/grammar issues – I left it as I found it.)

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Communication Busters: Dishonesty

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Dishonesty of any kind can break trust and cause a relationship to crash and burn, especially chronic dishonesty.  Dishonesty, while wrong on all levels, runs from the “Oops, I didn’t tell you I’m a serial killer?” to the “Sorry you found out I don’t really like your outfit” at the other end of the spectrum.  When we think of lyers, we tend to think of people at that far end of the spectrum, the one’s for whom dishonesty is a way of life.  However, dishonesty, even small lies, half-truths or omissions can eat away at your relationships.

I didn’t lie, I just didn’t tell you everything.

This one is probably the most insidious types of dishonesty, because it’s not an outright lie, but is still dishonest.  A person in my life tends to go into ‘the mode’ at times, right before something stupid ensues.  This person doesn’t lie, but leaves out a lot of details for as long as possible.  I know there’s more because I’ve been through the pattern before.  I have learned that when this person goes into this squirrelly mode, there’s more to the story.  This person doesn’t understand why I don’t trust at this time.  I don’t trust because I have been taught through repeated meetings with “the squirrelly one” that someone’s going to get hurt.  In a marriage, what you don’t hear can make a big difference over the long run.  Leaving parts out is usually a precursor to an outright lie and slowly erodes the trust of the one deceived and the character of the one deceiving.

Little white lies

These are those ‘tiny’ lies we tell for various reasons, such as not wanting to get in trouble.  They appear harmless, but they add up.  It’s like a previous illustration:  How many bug parts, rat hairs, pieces of feces, thrips, maggots, etc. does it take before you consider your food unclean?  Little white lies are a sign of a heart problem.

On down the continuum

From there we go on down a continuum.  For some this is a progressive disease that gets worse as they seem to get away with it on a repeat basis.  We can compare this to an addiction, say alcohol for our purposes.  At first you control the drink.  Soon, the drink controls you.  Eventually the drink owns you, leading you to a path of destruction and eventual death.  All sin has the capability of leading a person down this path.

Rather lie when the truth will do better

Once a person gets to this stage (some seem born to it), all trust is gone.  This is someone who cannot have real relationships because he/she cannot tell the truth.  These people are often able to schmooze people temporarily, but eventually someone else finds out and moves on.  I know someone like this, and it breaks my heart.  This person will do and say anything for the next fix.  I love him, but I cannot have him in my life because I cannot trust him.

The bottom feeders at Whopper-ville

Underneath that person is one who is even worse from a human perspective.  This is the serial killer, the brain eating zombie, or the government official who lies for his/her own gain.  These usually wind up in office prison, repeatedly.

The truth about dishonesty

The truth about dishonesty is that it is a form of hiding.  Hiding, especially in a relationship of some kind, is not a good thing.  Only the bricks of honesty, accountability and complete transparency can build a firm foundation for the relationships we enter.  Even our “relationship” with our governing authorities takes a nose-dive in the face of dishonesty, lack of transparency and other forms of trust-breakers.

Shine the light

People who are doing right have no need to hide.  They have no fear of the light for there is nothing to find.  We can determine in our hearts that we will seek to be a person of integrity, a person that keeps his/her life so open and honest that should one run for office, the media and our opponents would not find any mud to sling, even with a magnifying glass.

If your garden has a bug problem, your vegetables and plants will develop holes and have other issues.  If you let loose a few rabbits in your garden, your produce will get bigger holes.  The point is that whether it happens quickly (the rabbits… of Whopper-ville) or slowly (the bugs… of non-disclosure), the garden is in big trouble.  We have to “weed out” control the pests of dishonesty in our lives if we want to trust and be trusted in our relationships.

 

What about you?  Do you have a dishonesty problem?  Where do you fall on the continuum?  Has dishonesty caused problems in your relationships?  Was it your dishonesty or someone else’s?  Do you tend to compare yourself with others so you can feel better about your own dishonesty?  Or do you compare yourself with God and see yourself as you truly are?  What do you have to say about this subject? The comment box is yours.

Communication busters: a made up mind

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I cannot hear what you say because I do not want to listen.   I am interpreting it all in my head going la la la la la la la

………

Some things are good to be made up, such as your bed.  Getting into a made bed at night just feels good, and the bed looks better during the day if it is made.  The mind, however, is another matter.  At times, the mind needs to have made itself, but often we make up the mind and then we refuse to listen to anyone who wants to tell us a better way exists.  Sometimes it’s like making the mate sleep on the couch because we don’t want to mess up our beautifully made bed.  Sometimes, in order to really hear another person, to communicate fully with them,  we need to peel back the covers of our mind and see if something has crawled in while we weren’t looking.

Pre-conceived notions   

What's under your sheets?

One of the main things you could find under the sheets of a made-up mind are pre-conceived notions.  I believe, therefore….  I recently read a blog post and subsequent discussion about people using the riding carts at WalMart and other stores.  Someone (not these people) had made a joke about the pre-requisite for using those being obesity.  The pre-conceived notion:  Fat people are lazy.  Believe me, fat people are no more lazy than other people – some are and some aren’t – just like the rest of the human race.  Those making fun of these people have no idea what physical limitations the rider has, what he or she has gone through, their work ethic or anything else about them.  They have a pre-conceived notion that keeps them from opening their mind.  This kind of preconception also causes pain to others who are judged.  There are many different kinds of these pre-conceived notions; all of us have them; all of us need to look under the sheets of our mind, see what’s there, and clean them out.

Prejudice/Bias

Another ick you may find under those sheets runs along the same lines as the pre-conceived notion.  Prejudice or bias (or even racism) takes the pre-conceived notion to a new level.  When we have already made up our minds about a group of people:  fat people, skinny people, old people, different cultures, different skin colors, different income levels and such.  This drives our thinking to such an extent that we act on it without even realizing this is hidden underneath our made-up mind.   This one comes up every day in political debate.  Republicans and Democrats (in the US) have prejudices (based on their pre-conceived notions) about the other side.  They filter everything they hear (yes BOTH sides) through this prejudice and hear what they want to hear.  When it comes to political posturing, I envision a room full of 2 year olds with hands over their ears, screaming at the top of their lungs.  Prejudice comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, political and religious affiliations.  If this is under the covers of your ‘made-up mind’, you may want to totally remake the bed with clean sheets.

Anger/Hostility

Another ick you may find  under the sheets of your pre-made mind is misplaced anger or hostility.   Maybe you have lost a loved one and experiencing grief.  Maybe someone hurt you, and you carry a chip on your shoulder that you dare others to knock off.  These other people see your rage, but have no clue what they did (because they didn’t) to cause it.   This is also a pre-conceived notion or predudice.  This happens a lot in relationships.  My ex was a big horse stinkerhead jerk, so I use that experience to filter others.  No one is going to mess up my bed (mind) again if I can help it!  Don’t worry, if you have this problem, most people will run quickly in the other direction.  If you find yourself losing friends, this may be hiding under those sheets.

I want my own way/Self-willed

Sometimes, even those who behave correctly most of the time, get their drawers in a bunch because they want something.  They do not want to hear anything against what they have decided.  They either walk away or use control, manipulation, or drama to deflect the other person from the real issues or to make them agree that you are right.  This doesn’t work on so many levels!  We could talk about politics again here, but I want to talk about  something that has happened repeatedly with an ‘adult child’ I know.  This person has a made up mind about something.  He/she asks for advice and then starts an argument if the advice doesn’t go her way.  He/she withholds information, makes promises (that have been heard before) and stomps out of a room in frustration.  Once a person has made up his/her mind in this way, he or she will not listen to any reasons for not doing it or waiting.  Those on this cycle always have it come back to bite them, but they put on their rose-colored “I know what I know” glasses and head blindly into whatever their choice is.  {How’s that for subtle but not subtle?}  One way I have seen this is with girls who want to marry a guy that everyone else disapproves of.  They cannot see the warning signs and they do not want anyone else to point them out, even though others see the trainwreck coming.

I want my own way–NOW!/Impatience

Ice Cream Now!

Another bug-a-boo we may find under the sheets of our made-up mind involves the self-will above, but with impatience added.  The decision may not be a bad one, but the timing is not good.  They do not want to hear it because they have made up their minds that they want it and want it NOW!  So many times people miss out on the best, not because they choose wrong, but because they won’t wait.  As a Christian, I have learned that God’s timing is perfect every time.  If He says, “Wait!” I want to listen.  Wait is not the same thing as no, but many who have this buger in their mind bed see it as such.  Some things are worth waiting for, and others will show themselves after a wait to be wrong.   Illustration:  consider the youngster who wants to eat desert before dinner.  In some cases that’s not a problem, but I find that allowing my grandchild to eat dessert first, means he/she will be too full for dinner.  Over time, this could lead to malnutrition or obesity and other problems.  Dessert is not bad, but it needs to come as an extra, not as a main dish.

All of the above and more can interfere with our ability to communicate.  Check under the sheets in your mind and see if you have any bed bugs or worse lurking under there.  These bugs can keep you from hearing what others (and God) are trying to tell you.

Have you looked under the sheets of your made-up mind lately?

What did you find?

Do you prevent others from communicating yourself from hearing others because you don’t want anyone to mess up your made-up bed mind?

Can you add to the list of bug-a-boos we might find under the sheets of a made-up mind?

What do you think?

Communication Busters: He said, she said

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If you have a significant other, I’m absolutely sure you’ve experienced this.  He thinks she said and she thinks he said and neither one has a clue.  It reminds me of a Friends episode in which Chandler and Monica were discussing their plans.  Phoebe was writing their conversation down in a book.  Later when they realized that he thought they were to meet at one time and she thought another, Phoebe whipped out the book and said she knew it all the time, reading their former conversation to them.

If only we had a replay button (or a Phoebe)!

As my husband and I grow older, this happens more frequently.  I think it has something to do with his hearing loss.  Of course my daughter is only 24 and she only hears the first thing I say and nothing more (discussed in a previous post).  In other words, I could be wrong about the reason, but it still seems to happen to us — a LOT!

A night out starts at Best Buy

Tonight, Brian and I found ourselves alone and so decided to go out and do something.  Dates with my husband do and always have included shopping.  I’m not that big a fan, but tonight he was shopping for me, so I was down with it.  We went by Sam’s Club to grab a price check on an IPad (my promised Christmas gift from, you know – last month).  Armed with comparison information, my ever bargain-hunting husband and I headed to BestBuy to check out IPads.  That went well; questions were answered;  my husband is now thinking it over to make a decision at some later date (hopefully soon) as to which one is the best deal.  After 29 years, I would expect nothing less and have learned patience.

 

Getting our grub on

We then head to O’Charley’s and have a nice dinner.  We both had fish, he talapia and I fried something white.  It was good and we had a nice time, discussing various things that did not include our grown children or our grandchildren.  A fun time was had by all.  Even the server left happy.

 

Wally World is waiting

The next leg of our trip was to WalMart.  I needed to get some things, and we were in that area.  I am getting to the point; hang in there.  I had left my phone at home (that’s never good), so my husband said, “If we lose one another, lets meet at the front.”  I agree and we go our separate ways with our separate lists.  I pick up my items, cruise the clearance racks (my kind of shopping) and head to the food section for a couple things.  We meet at the vegetables, and he puts his stuff in my cart and asks if I’m done.  I tell him almost and say, (I swear I said this) “I’m almost done so if you want to go on out to the car, I’ll be out in a minute.”  I turn to go find my cinnamon and cereal, and he disappears.

 

 

 

He said, she said

Here it comes:  He was still  on “meet at the front”; I was on “go on out”.  He disappeared and was nowhere to be found, so I checked out and went to the car (well, it’s a van).  Anyway, no Brian!  I go back in (no keys or we’d have been there all night with me sitting in the van and him looking for me) and sit waiting, talking to my favorite WalMart greeter, Joyce.  She even peeks around looking for him.  I finally see him and holler his name.  He gives me “the look”, takes his stuff through the register and we get to the van.

The first words after the van doors close

He starts with, “I told you to meet at the front.  I was waiting and waiting and starting to get upset.”

I come back with:  “I told YOU that I was almost done and would meet you at the van.”

He:  “You did not!”

Me: “Yes I did!”

He:  “Well I didn’t hear you.”

We agreed thereafter not to argue about what I did or did not say.  The point was that he did not hear me, and so misunderstanding ensued.

 

 

 

What’s a gal to do?

So what do you do in a world where these kind of misunderstandings happen?  Do I question him after every statement to make sure he heard and understood exactly what I said?  Hearing and understanding are two entirely different things by the way.  Does he need to question me and make sure I understood everything he says?  Well, that’s one way, but somehow, misunderstandings still happen.

 

 

How about this

“This” is the stuff of sitcoms and comedy.  It happens to all of us.  The problem (well most of the time) is not that these things happen, it’s what we tell ourselves when it happens.  In this particular scenario, I didn’t get overheated, but I’ve had my moments.  But, my husband, exhausted after a day of work and an evening with me (yes, I’m exhausting), was filling his head with all kinds of lovely things about me as he stood waiting for me to show.  By the time we found each other, laughing about it was not a possibility.

What happens then

At this point, he was not very happy with me.  He was even more tired than before and not in the mood to listen to my excuses. {Admit it; you’ve been there.}  What happens is an argument about who said what, who did what, who was wrong, etc.  One or both may wind up feeling insulted or angry that they are impuned.  Does this change what happened?  Nada.  Does this help keep it from happening the next time?  Maybe, but I’m going to say Nada.  Does it help he and she to have warm fuzzy feelings for each other?  Nada.  I’m not saying the issue should not be discussed, especially if it is a chronic problem, but getting hot under the collar and blowing it out of proportion does nothing to facilitate communication between two people.

 

 

 

It is best to:

►Beware of what you’re telling yourself during the misunderstanding.

►Beware what you say to the the other person after the misunderstanding.

►Count to 10 or whatever you do to calm down, then rethink what you want to say.

►Be nice!

►Failing all that, write a blog post about it.  Oh, no, that’s just me.

Has this ever happened to you?  What happened?  How did you resolve it?  Do you lean more toward having a good laugh or strangling your mate in these situations?  What advice would you give to others (like maybe newlyweds) about these inevitable misery misunderstandings mishearings?  How do you make sure you are really heard?  Is that even possible?  Got any great stories you want to share?  The comment box is yours 🙂

Communication busters: How do you treat those with whom you disagree?

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Today I read a post from a man I “met” on facebook and admire greatly.  It got me thinking, and I want to share it with you.  His first line:
As we’ve discussed before, how often do we or others tend to dismiss others (now-a-days calling them dumb or stupid or worse) if they disagree with us, especially about issues we are passionate about?  I frequently run into people on the internet who will absolutely act like I am the worst person in the world because I have an opinion they disagree with.  So what?  Do you agree with everyone you know?  If you are hanging out only with people who agree with you, you are in big trouble.  We need others in our life to debate with over the issues.   For the Christian, it is even more important to beware of this tendency.  God gave us free will, so we have the right to be wrong.  He may not remove the consequences for our choices, but He will not force us to jump on board either.  (See the discussion on freedom in Part V of the It’s all about the heart series.)
What God sees
God looks beyond the bluster and sees the heart.  If the person is genuine,  their belief system doesn’t make them horrible people.  God loves us in all our sin, and He wants us to show that love in how we interact with those who disagree with us.  That doesn’t mean we have to agree with them.  It does mean we need to treat them with love and absolute respect.  We all have many parts to us.  We all have flaws.  We all believe things that are not true or that others believe are not true.  Instead of tossing a person out as ‘unworthy’ because of something you don’t like, love them anyway and agree to disagree.  My favorite verse, Romans 5:8, says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  If God loves us in all our sin, we must show love to others as well.  God loves sinners.  He doesn’t like sin, but He does love sinners.  I, for one, am SO glad He does!  Sometimes finding common ground can help us see beyond the conflict to the heart of this person.
“While we were  yet sinners, . . . .”

How can others see Christ in us unless we show love?  We do not have to agree with someone to love them.  We do not have to approve of their opinions, values, beliefs or actions to love them.   True love shows respect, even in the midst of the most extreme disagreements.
What do others see in you?
When people interact with you, do they see something different?  Does the love of Christ shine out in how you treat them?  Or, do you give them reinforcement that Christians are rabid haters?  Even taking Christianity out of the equation – do you show yourself as a person worthy of respect by treating others with respect?  How do you feel when others respond in rage to everything you say?  How do you feel when others call you names or curse at you because you don’t believe as they do?  This is a good place to trot out   apply the golden rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  We also need to be aware of the minimize mine/maximize yours effect and keep our own backyard clean not spend all our time criticizing the leaves in the neighbor’s yard if ours is full of garbage.
Be a diligent seeker
If we have in the back forefront of our mind that our goal is to bring glory to Christ, not to win an argument, we should do well.  As a Christian, you may be the only Christ others see – you want to come as close to the real thing as possible.  Even if you are not a Christian, you represent yourself and possibly others.  What others think may not be important to you, but you don’t want to drive away those who could enhance your life.  Character, integrity and honor are characteristics everyone should strive for.   For the Christian, it is even more important to represent Christ in a way that draws others instead of turning them away.
What it’s all about

The world’s mentality is often:  please me!  For the Christian, however, the mentality and the driving force should be: please Christ!  The picture I chose for this section is “God’s Garden”, and it was chosen for a reason.  We are all part of God’s garden.  He planted us, sustains us, and harvests us.   Plants tend to grow toward the light, and we should do the same.  If our face is always turned toward the sun/Son, as we seek the warmth of His love.  Just like a child seeks to please the parent, we seek to please our heavenly Father.   We need to remember the other flowers are watching too, whether from the church garden or the worlds. None of us are perfect, but we can do better than what is often found out there today.  It’s about that diligent seeking.

A huge thank you to Al Hartman for your inspiration for this post and permission to quote you.

Do you treat people with respect and dignity, even when they don’t agree with you?

Why do you think this is important?

How do you handle it when others treat you with disrespect?

Why do you think people treat others who disagree with them with disrespect?

If you are a Christian, what have you done to reflect Christ?

What are some things you have seen Christians do or say to reflect Christ (+) or gave Him a black eye (-). 

Thou shalt love

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“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~ Mother Teresa

Golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Up is down

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Two things have happened recently that made me angry.  I’m going to tell you what they are, and then I’m going to tell you the real reason I’m upset about it.  It’s really not about the happenings at all, but what it says about our society.

Meet the Nazis: # 1

That word may be a little right-on-the money over-the-top, but some people take things way too far.  Somewhere in my world recently, a lady decided to take someone else to task publicly because of a paper towel.  The statement did NOT need made in the context, but the person had to get their digs in that they are better than others because they would not support a less-green option.  My first thought was “get over yourself!”  But in today’s world, we see this more and more.

It’s not easy being green

Taking care of our world is a God-given responsiblilty.  However, some have stepped over the line and made it more like a religion than a philosophy.  They think they have the right to shoot the infidels censor everyone around them and hate chastise look down on others who are not as “green” as they.  How arrogant, but that’s not the only reason this infuriates causes concern.

Meet the Nazis:  # 2

Watching an entertainment ‘news’ a show the other night where they were disecting Paula Deen.  Paula has a cooking show on down-home, stick-to-your-ribs, full of good stuff food.  This is an entertainment venue, and Paula repeatedly states that she does not eat like that in her every day life. {My husband loves her, and I’m too busy writing to complain and turn the channel.}  Anyway, two women were discussing Deen’s recent ‘come out’ about having diabetes.  One was totally trashing her for being a bad example…..   It really does not matter what her reasoning was.  What does matter is that she came across as someone who wanted Paula tarred-and-feathered  dipped-in-honey-and staked-to-an-ant-hill  excommunicated, uhm, castigated for her heinous act of cooking food that tastes great but is “bad” for you, while keeping her diabetes a secret.

It’s not easy being perfect

Good grief woman.  She did not steal the crown jewels or kill someone.  Talk about over-kill.  I don’t care if Paula Deen wants to cook with fat and butter on her real-life ENTERTAINMENT show.  I don’t care what she chooses to eat in her real life.  She can eat what she wants and cook what she wants – Diabetic or not – it is her choice.  I understand there’s more to it than that, but this woman was just way too rabid about something that really doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things.  Don’t like it?  Then don’t support her, but don’t flog her at the post of public opinion, expecting her to crawl under a rock and hide in shame for the rest of her life.  Get over yourself!  Guess what?  I am smart enough to know not to eat like that on a regular basis.

So what’s the real deal?

The real deal is that this is common fare today.  Up is down, black is white, good is bad….  There are so many issues that really matter.  Do we really need to run other people’s lives and sit in judgement on things that are really more personal than public?   It’s ok to have sex with anyone and everyone whenever you want – don’t judge that!  It’s ok to trash others in order to get ahead – don’t judge that!  It’s OK to abort babies – don’t judge that!  Don’t call something a sin – don’t judge that!  Don’t do anything at all to make someone wake up to reality ‘uncomfortable’ – don’t judge that!  We have to be politically correct; we are expected to hide our religious beliefs and practices because others don’t like it; we are called names and worse if we dare stand up against such things as abortion or sodomy or drama (backbiting/slander/gossip/etc.) or polygamy or …..

That’s another post.  I hope, whether you agree with me on certain issues or not, you can see that our values have become skewed.  Many tout out that “do not judge” statement, but God did not say “do not judge” out of context.  He said:  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  John 7:24   In other words, we are to judge with a pure heart, with nobleness, honesty and justice, making sure our own back yard is clean before trying to help others clean out their’s.  We aren’t to judge motives and we are not to judge as if we are better than others.  We are to judge with discernment.

A really good  assessment of the Biblical mandate about judging can be found here.

The point is that society has tilted and expends way too much energy on side issues and distractors, becoming almost rabid in their desire to slam those who don’t “measure up” to their self-righteous standards, while leaving alone the things that matter.

Pulling in my claws  stepping off my soap-box  Finished with my diatribe, I will leave it up to you what to make of this post.  I’d love to know what you think, so take time to comment if you please.  Hate mail may be sent to my e-mail which you should be able to easily find here somewhere.  It is public on this site.  If  you can’t find it, ask me for it in comments.

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