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The Joys of Miss Communication

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Hello, Hallo, chíkmàa, Servus, صباح الخير, kaixo, pryvitańnie, Wai, hafa?, sga-noh, hola, Muribwanji, 你好, hej, hutch-e-lul-lul-o, kuzu-zangpo, hyvää päivää, salut, grüß Gott, huthegelluthego, Γεια σου, aloha, shalom, góðan da, Dia duit, こんにちは konnichi wa, Yow Wah gwaan, kwe kwe, Dev baro dis div, salaam or do-rood, atswhay upay?, bees-e-lees-e, barey, Selam,….

Have you ever noticed how two three a hundred people can read the same thing, hear the same thing, and have a different response based on several factors.  These factors include our cultural filters (I typed flitters first – should I have kept it??), our upbringing filters, our worldview filters, our family filters, our experience filters, our belief filters, and millions many more.

 

 

One reason I love writing about communication involves the miscommunications that happen every single day whenever two people try to communicate.  It gives me more fodder for my blog and teaches me more about communication.  As a people watcher, I love, love, love watching and listening to others (or reading posts and comments).

 

 

 

Montage of languages. Prototype header for the...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The other day, I took my oldest Granddaughter to Chick Filet.  While she was playing, I was listening to two friends behind me having a conversation.  One was obviously more of a talker and an interrupter.  The less-talking friend was trying to tell something to the other.  Every couple minutes few seconds, the more-talker would interrupt her in mid-sentence to insert her own thoughts, questions, and analogies.  I presume she was going for clarification, but what she was doing was being rude!

 

As time when on, I could feel the frustration emanating from the less-talker as she would say, “Well, anyway” and go back to the story.  She was not going to get side-tracked, no matter how often she was interrupted, also rude in some contexts.  Eventually, the story was told, but I’m guessing less-talker did not feel good about it, and more-talker probably missed the entire point of the exercise.  Since my back was to them, I could grin with delight as I listened without offending them.  Poor less-talker needs to give her friend a lesson on boundaries.

 

I am not immune either.  My daughter and I speak a different language.  I speak American English, but I have no idea what language she speaks.  I just know the atmosphere is rife with potential miscommunication every time we speak.  I usually believe I was clear about my speech, but somehow, it gets all screwed up because she doesn’t speak the language.  How do you overcome this?  I don’t know, but it’s a lot of fun to watch in other people.  Not so fun to find oneself in the middle, however.  If these things did not happen in our fallen world, what would we watch on Television or laugh at??

 

 

Thank the Lord His communication is clear.  I want a show of keyboards hands – Who understands God’s Words completely?  Hmmmmmm.  Well, in this case, we know the problem is not His.  The problem is that we use our flitters filters when we talk to or listen to Him.  It helps to ask Him to make His word clear to us before we read the Bible or pray or listen to a sermon or read an article or ….   This is especially true with the Old Testament.

 

 

 

I used to believe God was always serious until I ‘heard’ Him laugh one day at a little ‘joke’ He was playing on us.  (See theTurkeyStory). 

 

 

 

Many young ladies (and old ones) have difficulty relating to God as Father because their own fathers were less than perfect.

 

 

 

Some have difficulty with the “obey Me” thing, projecting their feminism and/or independence onto God’s thoughts (men are not immune).

 

 

 

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

♦What are some ways you flitter filter what you hear from God?  From others?

 

♦Do you enjoy the melodramas all around you as people seek to communicate without really having a clue how to speak to someone in their own language? 

 

♦Do you have any advice about how to remove your filters from your listening/communicating? 

 

♦Do you have a funny story to tell?  I’d love to hear it! 

 

♦Response is always in your court.  If you’re busy, just move on, but if you have something to say, here’s your chance.  🙂

 

Ten Ways to love: Accusations

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The second statement in our ‘Ten ways to love’ series is this:

Anger

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Photo credit: baejaar)

2.  Speak without accusing.

The verse:  James 1:19:  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

I find this one very difficult because it’s so hard to keep accusation out at times.   Because it’s more difficult to see my own stuff, I’m afraid I will have to use what I see in others as examples here.  I am not casting the first stone, however, because I can accuse with the best of them at times.

The backhanded question

A certain person is quite good at speaking with accusation behind seemingly innocent words, usually in the form of questions.  “Why is the front door open?”  translates to “Why didn’t you shut the door, do you want to heat the whole world?”   Implied (and often spoken after the statement) is the hard work trying to earn money to pay the bills while everyone else wastes money like it grows on trees.  This is speaking with accusation.

I saw ‘evidence’ and, I know you’re guilty!

Sometimes, we speak with accusing when we haven’t received all the information needed.  This one seldom happens a LOT in relationships.  If you’ve ever caught some of the Maury Povich type shows, you see people coming on with accusation oozing out of their pores!  I saw a text on your phone, so you MUST be having an affair.  “I only slept with 5 people, but I know you’re the dad.  So why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to take care of YOUR child?”   “I saw you look at her, you don’t love me!”    And so on ad nauseam!!!  This way comes by jumping to conclusions and attacking rather than waiting for more information and strangling him in his sleep DISCUSSING it in an adult manner.

How could you?

Sometimes, in a similar vein to above, we assume another’s motives.  It’s entirely possible we’re wrong, but we think we can read minds, so….  Another person I know seems to be able to find a negative motive in most anything.  I probably attribute good motives more than I should, but I’d rather give a person a chance than to assume  wrongly.  People have different love languages (and other filters), and sometimes they mean well, even if the results are not what they intended.  For example, when my husband does something for me, like going to work every day or fixing a problem, he is saying, “I love you!”   Because I did not understand this for a few years, I attributed wrong motives and didn’t believe he loved me.  I was wrong and caused a lot of heartache to myself and him.   Sometimes we can just accept people, and their motives, at face value.

A Person (Man) exclaiming something

A Person (Man) exclaiming something (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Political Debates gone wrong

If you’ve ever watched a debate, and I use that term loosely.  How often do you hear accusations flying?  Uh, yeah, all the time!  Rather than defending one’s own take on the issues, deflection techniques muddy the waters.  Personally, I would rather hear what a candidate believes than the mistakes of his/her opponent.   A person that can stick with the issues and not get sucked into the vortex of distraction gets my respect.  This type of conversation (no matter who is doing the ‘debating’) should keep the focus on the person speaking and not the other person through accusation and idiocy.

The Children

We do this to children all the time.  They bring us a flower and we yell at them for picking it.  They want to hug us, but we accuse them of ‘bugging’ us or being to clingy.

The rest of the story

If you read the next verse in James, it says, ”

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

 

I memorized this scripture many years ago and use it often to remind me that my anger, accusations, judgments, etc. do not work God’s righteousness.  In fact, they often get in the way and turn others away from God.  In order to show love, it is necessary to tame that tongue and give thought to our words before we allow them out of our mouth.  No one is perfect, but sometimes that extra second of thought will save some heartache for all.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions and wrongly accused someone?   Have you rightly accused them, but to the relationship’s detriment due to the way you handled it?  Have you attributed negative motives to someone and accused them by word or deed?  Do you distract through accusation in a fight, debate, discussion, argument?  Have you brushed a child aside and spoken with accusation to them?  What are some other ways we speak with accusing?

Communication Busters: Mind reading

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I recently read a post by Emily Stone over at StoneWritten on the subject of mind-reading.  She gives a deep psychological post that is well worth the read.

☺♥☺♥☺

We have discussed this before, but it bears repeating.  I frequently have conversations with a family member along these lines.  She “knows” people are thinking ____________.  {Or she projects that ____________is going to happen. (another post to come, so you can predict that it will happen 🙂 }

No one can read another person’s mind!  No, not even you!

☺♥☺♥☺

Nederlands: Introvert gedrag.

Nederlands: Introvert gedrag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are made by God to have the ability to communicate via body language and other cues to what’s going on inside a person.  However, not all of us can actually read these cues well.  As an introvert, I often sit by myself, wishing to talk to others, but waiting on them to come to me.  I’ve made progress in this area, but people tend to think I’m snobbish instead of bashful.  Are they right?  Not at all, and if they would take the time to get to know me, they would know that is far from the truth.  Did you know that even people who appear gregarious can sometimes be compensating for shyness?

☺♥☺♥☺

Birth order can affect human psychology, thoug...

Birth order can affect human psychology, though many supposedly formative effects of birth order are instead related to other factors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each of us is unique.  Generalizations (and stereotypes) may apply to some people, but they do not apply to all.  We each have different upbringings (even twins and siblings).  This happens because such things as personality, abilities, birth order, friends, extended family, and other things tend to play in to the upbringing, even when it is exactly the same otherwise.  My sister and I are only one year, one day and one month apart, but we viewed our childhood very differently.  The example I usually give is in regard to our poverty.  I saw the hand of God through it all and didn’t know I was poor.  She knew we were poor and was embarrassed by it–same circumstances, same parents, different views.

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In another circumstances, my sister then took that and asked for what she wanted and took it upon herself to make sure her needs were met.  I retired to the background, often wanting the same things, but unable (or unwilling – I thought they should read my mind!) to do so.  I spent a lot of time ‘hiding’ in corners wanting attention, my sister got it–one way or another.

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What does that have to do with it?  It helps illustrate my point.  If you knew my sister, you might think she is highly selfish.  However, she is also very generous.  Her ‘selfishness’ was an attempt to get her needs met.  After all, children are not born knowing how to get what they need (except by crying).  If a child’s needs go unmet, he or she will go the way of my sister or myself or anywhere in the continuum between.  I appeared unselfish, but that was not the case in total.  I gave way because I was used to doing it for my siblings.

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I didn’t mean to go into a childhood spiel, but there you go.  The only way to know what a person is thinking at any time is to ask.  Assumptions cause the majority of problems in the world in my book!  I won’t share the saying that goes along with what happens when we assume (you probably know it anyway).

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Linkware Freebie Image use it however you like...

Linkware Freebie Image use it however you like all I ask is a credit link to : thegoldguys.blogspot.com/ or http://www.lumaxart.com/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My personal task right now is to practice this in my marriage.  I’m sure we’re just like other couples.  He says or does something, and I read all kinds of things into it.  In the past, I have gone off to lick my wounds and pout.  Now I say, “what did you mean by that?” and keep at it until I understand exactly what he was saying.  It’s seldom what I was hearing.  It’s amazing what happens when you actually take the time to not only listen but really hear what another says.

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Are you guilty of trying to read another’s mind?  Or, do you ask clarifying questions when in doubt?  Do you have a story to share, here or on your blog, about a time when an assumption turned into a comedy/tragedy?  On the other side of the coin, do you make sure others understand your words/actions, or do you assume they got it?

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I’ll do it later

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piston pump of a soap dispenser/ de: Kolbenpum...

Image via Wikipedia

I have repeatedly asked myself a question for ages some time now and more than once a day.  The question is . . .

How many times am I going to get hit in the chest with soap from the dispenser before I fix the clogged dispenser tube?

Not a hard job, right?  So why do I think about it, even while I have the water running to do the job, and still walk away?  Laziness? Procrastination?

Well, I can no longer ask myself this question, because I finally did it.  I removed the top, ran it under hot water to melt the soap clogging it, squirted it a few times to make sure, replaced the top, and squirted a couple more times for good measure.  Even with all the squirting factored in, the job took about three minutes of my time.

So why am I painting you a picture of my domestic moment?

—-

An In-N-Out Burger 8x8 animal style for the ar...

Image via Wikipedia

First thought:  I wonder if my arteries look like that?

How often do we consistently do or not do things that effect our health?  We get a report from the doc that our cholesterol is high, the blood pressure is up there, the spare tire is bigger than the entire car, . . . .

How often do we think, “I’ll do something about that later?” as we allow the problem to get worse and worse.

How often do we believe we will be the exception to the rule?  –up until that moment when something serious goes wrong?

I am not a health nazi.  I believe there is a lot af fad bad advice out there, and too many people jumping on the ‘if only’ bandwagon, the cycle of effort, failure, depression, more effort. . . .  That said, however, there are things we know will harm us and steps we can take to prevent or help a physical problem.  We know and yet procrastinate.  This is dangerous.

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Image via Wikipedia

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Second thought:   What about clogged emotions?

How often do we stuff something back because we don’t want to hurt others, fear the consequences of honesty, or any of the many other excuses we use for doing so?  Stuffed anger leads to bitterness.  Stuffed love leads to despair.  I am not saying it is appropriate to just blurt out your feelings or emotions in every situation, but there are other ways to deal with emotions besides stuffing them.  We can journal for one.  The point is that if we continue to ignore emotions and not deal with them, we get clogged.  Then, just as the soap shot out past the clog to get all over me, our emotions shoot out and land all over everyone around.  This too is dangerous.

—-

Mental floss: clear the clogs

Third Thought:  Mental clogs?  What are mental clogs?  I would say this harks back to the old ‘garbage in, garbage out’ adage.  We put bad, worthless, or harmful things into our mind and they become clogged to the good things.  Just as pornography has been shown to change a person’s brain over time, many other things, imbibed consistently, change how we think.  From there it changes how we believe and then how we act.  When we act out our new thought patterns and beliefs, our actions burst out all over others.  This too is dangerous.

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Question mark in Esbjerg

Question mark in Esbjerg (Photo credit: alexanderdrachmann)

Fourth Thought:  Can we be spiritually clogged?

Yes, we can.  If we have never met God on a personal basis (known in my circles as salvation), we are clogged.  If we are not spending time with God, not spending time in the Word, in prayer, and fellowshipping with others, we are clogged. It is only as we apply the heat of the Word, prayer, felowship, and time in intimacy with God that we can unclog ourselves spiritually.  Spiritual clogs are probably the most dangerous of all.

Are you clogged?  Do you know you’re clogged and yet put off doing anything about it?  Do you know why?  What are some other things that clog us or unclog us?  What clogs you?

 

Stuffing it in

I can’t let it go

my rage presses

fast at my heart

I fear the

consequences

will show

the ugliness

clogging me up

Disrespect unchallanged

and back turned

on God

these and more

keep me

from my best

when I turn

and surrender

let it out

let it go

then I find

myself open

to all.

CBs: A does not equal B

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I hope you all won’t mind me taking a moment to address my new pet peeve.  I’ll keep it short and sweet.  Dealing with all the paperwork involved in applying for Medicaid for my dad has been a frustrating experience at best.  Any who have faced this Goliath or any beaurocracy know what I mean.

1).  Policy should be the same and knownby all.  Not my first time to waste a few in the paper chase, toda I showed up at the VA to attain a copy of my dad’s POA for health care.  I had called ahead to fin out if I could do so and what I needed.  I was informed it would be no problem.  Arriving at the VA, I discover that since my name is secondary and not primary, they will not give me a copy.  If you wish to avoid frustrating people, especially at a business or church, make sure you don’t have one person saying one thing while others say something else.

I have determined I will take down the full name of the person on the phone and ask them to explain the discrepancyyo the person who will not do what the other promised. Will it work?  I doubt it, but I will feel better.

 

I often feel like I’m putting together a puzzle without the picture on the box.  To complicate things, others are holding pieces of the puzzle.  If I ask for them, I will often get one and find out later there were more behind their back.  My dad’s memory problems + beaurocracy +lack of knowledge +  an argumentative family member = a crazy lady???

 

Fortunately, I know God has got this and is allowing it all for a reason.  I don’t have to be afraid of the paperwork giant, for I am not alone.  I am also not in charge.  And guess what I was reminded of today?

 

I am not a Savior!  I will do my best, but the outcome is not in my hands — whew!  I am also prepared to remind others that I am not a savior as well.  Eyes off me please.

 

Do you ever get frustrated by things that just don’t seem to go the way you think they should? (I’m sure that’s a big duh!)

 

Do you ever have a savior complex and take on responsibility for thins that are not yours?

 

Any nuggets of advice for going against this particular giant?

 

I do not go to battle alone 🙂   The battle belongs to the Lord…

CB: Why me mentality

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All of us know people who struggle with this.  Some of us may be one of these people.  All of us struggle with it at times.  This mentality looks around and sees what is going on with others.  The person then looks at his or her own life and makes comparisons.  In the comparing, his or her own life usually comes up lacking in some way.  We could also call this the “grass is greener” effect.

Valentines day was a good example of how this mentality can pervade one’s thinking.   No honey bun for Valentine’s Day?  Poor you, sitting there all alone with no one to say ‘I love you’ and give you sappy presents.  Your loneliness must be harder to bear than that of anyone else’s.  {Sorry if this hits anyone in the solar plexis, but I had to pick something for my examples.  We’ll get to the others later.}

 

Lies believed by the alone at Valentine’s Day:

►No one cares about me.

►Valentine’s Day is for lovers; if you don’t have a love, I am a loser.

►This day was created just to point out how alone I am.

►Other people’s joy somehow effects me by comparison.

►If no one reminded me that I am alone, I wouldn’t feel this pain and loneliness.

 

Truths to counter the lies:

►It is definately not true that no one cares for you.  [God and probably at least a few people care deeply about you.]

►It’s also not true that others don’t care that you hurt.  They may be looking at the outer package and your inner hurt may not be as evident as you think.

►Valentine’s Day is for love, true, but not just a lover type of love.  {Regardless of the reason it was created, it has become a time to spend lots of money so the stores can make a profit.}

►Just because it is a special day that brings joy to some, their joy has nothing to do with you.  Comparing to others, especially when you don’t know their circumstances (only seeing the surface), brings two things:  envy or pride.  Which one depends on which side you are on.

►Should others go around with mopey faces all day just because you are lonely on this day?  Would that really make you feel better?   (add bible verse about sharing joy sorow********)

►If Valentine’s Day makes you sad, it’s not because of what happens to other people on this day; it’s because of what you’re telling yourself/dwelling on on this day.

 

 

 

Seeing beyond the surface:

There are others hurting just as bad or worse out there.

► Consider the one whose Valentine has left to give valentines to another.

►Consider the one who finds out that her Valentine is giving valentines to another while giving Valentines to him/her as well.

►Consider the one who lies beside his/her Valentine, but is just as lonely if not more, because the love has died or they’ve grown apart.

►Consider the person who has never had a Valentine to remember.

►Consider the one who has just lost his/her Valentine to a senseless death.

 

As always, I could continue, but I hope this is enough to make the point:

We cannot compare our insides to someone else’s outsides. ~unknown

~*~

What to do

When we catch ourselves looking at the grass over the fence or thinking “why me?” or “why not me?”, what can we do?

1.  Stop comparing our insides with other’s outsides.  We have no idea what’s really going on in that house.

2.  Look at what we’re telling ourselves.

3.  Change what we’re telling ourselves.

4.  Do something for someone else.

 

I bet there are other hurting people out there, even in your world.  The best way to turn a “why me” into a “why not me” (who am I not to have problems) is to do something for someone else.   Do you know people in a nursing home who have lost their Valentine to death (if they ever had one) and have no one to brighten their day?  Go visit and take some time to give them joy for a while.  Do you know a recently divorced person or someone who is going through marital issues?  Send them a card to say you’re thinking of them/praying for them.  Do it anonymously.  There are so many people out there who would love to have love shown to them on this day and every day.  If you want to cut your own pain, give the love you so desperately want away.  I guarantee you it will return to you a hundred-fold.

When you find yourself falling into the world’s biggest pity party, go look deeply into the insides beyond other’s outsides.  You will feel better about yourself and your life.  Life is hard for everyone, and we should not feel that we get all the pain while others don’t or that we deserve better.  From a Christian standpoint – we all deserve Hell.  Anything we have above that is a gift and a blessing.

 

How to get love:  give it away!

                                       As always, I appreciate your feedback.  This was not meant to hurt anyone, it was just an example and not about anyone specific. 

The challenge:  Have you ever shared love and found out you felt differently about your own hurts?  If you have share the story.  You may either share in the comment box or on your own blog and leave a link back in the comment box.

If you have not done this, or would like to do it again, feel free to try it and share with us in the same way as above.

Sharing love is a great perspective changer – agree?  -disagree?

If you post a link in the comments, I will multiply the love by sharing 🙂

Communication busters: What lens are you looking through?

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Before we get to the meat of this post, I would like to go back and make a few comments on another.  In my response to Miro’s poem, Christians, I was reminded that this is nothing new.  True.  Those who do not want to be bothered with Christianity have been hating it and it’s proponents through the ages.  Many will continue to do so no matter how well Christians act.   I was also reminded that what I said may be misconstrued.  This is true as well.  And that leads me to this post.   The reason my words might be misconstrued is that we all tend to look through different lenses.  The Christian might read my post and understand completely what I was trying to say.  The non-Christian may see something else.  For instance,  I did not mean that Christian’s need to meet other’s ideas of proper behavior.  They need to meet God’s criteria.  Others will disagree, and that’s their business.

 

Knowing we have these lenses, it makes sense to take a second look at everything we see/hear/read/etc., as we navigate our world.  Are we seeing the truth or have we donned our own biased lenses to view it.  Misunderstandings abound because of this tendency.  We use the same words, but they have different meanings.  For the Christian, this means we need to see things through God’s lenses.  How does God see this person/situation/…?  If the Christian will look at his or her world through the lens of God’s eyes, we would better know what to do in each situation.  I apologize for the rather disorganized thoughts in this post, but it is what it is.

 

Lens 1:   God does not hate homosexuals conservatives democrats tea partiers occupiers gossips gluttons adulterers _______.  God hates SIN!   When God looks at a person, He sees the heart.  He may hate the sin the person is bound to, but He does not hate him or her.  He loved him or her enough to provide a way back to Him from their sinful condition.  Christians have to walk a line.  We are not to say bad is good, but we are to love the person.  This is an issue I struggle with, not because I don’t love the person, I do.  I struggle because I also have a deep need to speak God’s truth.  God reminds me that there is a time and a place for everything, even speaking truth.  I can speak the truth and still love.  This love is not dependent on other’s acceptance of it.  I love because God loves and gives me the grace to love others despite how they treat me or feel about me.

 

Lens 2:  If I do ____________  or don’t do ___________  I am better than others.  No, you’re not!  God’s criteria is the same for every person.  You cannot earn it.  You cannot get to it by following a list of “do”s and “don’t”s.  When we give Christ our sin, He gives us His righteousness.  It is the only righteousness that is good enough to meet God’s standards.  Our attempts at personal righteousness outside of Christ are pathetic at best.  This lens looks around and compares to others.  God’s lens looks at Christ and compares only to Him.  If we are wearing His righteousness, we make the cut.  If we are still trying to get good enough on our own, we do not.

 

Lens 3:  I have __________, so God must be happy with me and blesses me more than others.  NOT!   God doesn’t look at the things you have or don’t have when determining how or when to bless you.  He looks at your heart.  He looks at your future and what will be best for you.  He looks at your relationship with Jesus.  We cannot determine for ourselves whether something is a blessing or a curse.  Look at Job.  His life looked like a blessing, then looked like a curse, and then looked like a blessing.  None of what happened to him was because of something he did or didn’t do wrong.  You have to look through God’s lens to see whether something is a blessing or not.   Any time we elevate ourselves above other people, we better watch out.  That is pride and pride is not from God.

 

 

There are many more lenses, but I’m going to stop here.  What lenses do you see out there that keeps Christians from living like they should, bringing glory to God?   Can you see through God’s lens?    Has there been a time when you were looking at a situation or person in a certain way and God showed you how He sees the situation/person?  How did this effect/affect you?  What do you believe are some of the biggest distortions in our lenses that keep us from knowing truth?

A post in reaction to Miro’s poem: Christians

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Christians  by Miro

Today I read this poem by Miro about “Christians”.   It made me cry because it’s way too true.  I am sure there have been times that I have inadvertently harmed the cause of Christ.  I would never do it on purpose, though.  I hate that “Christians” often give Christians a black eye in the eyes of the world.

I am not talking about legitimate righteous anger.

I am not talking about calling sin sin.

I am talking about Christians who talk the talk in church, and then forget about God through the rest of the week.

Some of these people are well meaning Christians who have no idea they are giving a bad empression.  Others are goats among the sheep.  They have no real relationship with the Father, only giving lip service to something they don’t really own.  I have recently learned that just because I know the truth, does not mean it is the correct time or place to trot it out there, for it, and Christ will be rejected.  If someone asks, I will speak the truth, but I have learned (I hope) to pick my battles a little more wisely.

 

The Bi-polar Posters/Speakers

One issue involves facebook, other social sites, and words.  OMG means Oh, My God!  Taking the name of the Lord in vain is not OK for Christians, even if it is in an acronym,  and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of those who see it and hear it.  Then there are those that praise God with their mouth on Sunday and then tell or snicker at dirty jokes through the week.  Still others will post these wonderful, godly things and then post something that is inappropriate or off color.  We post our praises and then confess our adiction to shows that dishonor God.  God calls this “double-minded”, but the world calls it two-faced.

Rage-a-holics

These people are ready at the drop of a hat to start spewing rage and hatred at others, rather than see them as God sees them.  They rail against sinners for being sinners rather than loving them to Christ.  I’m not saying there’s not a time and place for anger, there is.  I am saying that we need to make sure this is anger God approves.  One verse I try to keep in mind as I negotiate these waters is this:

“The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”  James 1:20

 

I’m better than you priders

This is a hard line to walk if we want to come across as humble rather than prideful.  We are not better than anyone else; we’re just forgiven.  This happens between “Christians” as well as between Christians and the world.   Slipping into hypocrit pharisee mode is too easy, and Christians must guard their heart against allowing this to happen.  When Christ is in our hearts and we pursue a deepening relationship with Him, we let go of pride as we realize just how wretched we really are in comparison to him.  Pride comes when we compare ourselves to others; humility comes when we compare to Christ.

The state of the world

The state of our world is not the fault of sinners doing what sinners do.  It is the Christian who has responsibility for, “if my people, which are called by my name, shal humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

This post is really a step outside of the norm, but I don’t do it to condemn.  I have been guilty just like everyone else.  We are sinners who will continue to struggle with our sin nature for as long as we are on this earth, but we can do better.  This is a call to repentence for all of us.  It’s ok if you disagree with me, but I hope those of us who claim the name “Christian” you will seek to remove those quotes by living a life that points others to Christ.  When we earnestly seek His face, we will become the salt and light that makes the world want to know what’s going on.

For those of you who have kindly taken the time to read this post even though you don’t claim the name Christian, just be patient with us.  It’s easy to discern the real from the fake if you watch close enough.  Christianity, truly lived, draws others to want what this person has that makes him or her so different.

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Mark 14: 38 ESV

::stepping off my soapbox::                               I love you all!

Communication Busters: you said do what?

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During a recent Sunday School class, the kids were making paper airplanes (sigh), so I decided to use this as an object lesson.   I picked up a piece of paper and said, “Ok, let’s say I don’t know how to make a paper plane.  Who wants to tell me how?”

My first subject volunteer said, “You fold it in half and keep folding in small pieces.”

You can guess what I came up with.  It looked something like this:

My second patsy volunteer did a bit better.  Here are his instructions:

1.  Fold the paper in half.

2.  Fold in the corners.

3.  Fold it in half again.

4.  Fold it again, and then fold up the wings.

Without any frame of reference, This is what it looked like:

When we talk to others, we can’t assume they already have the same frame of reference that we do.  We may think we’re being perfectly clear, when we’re really being clear as mud.  We were actually discussing various faiths and how they differ from Christianity.   It’s important, whether in this realm or others, to know what others believe if we really want to communicate with them.  In many ways, it’s like we all speak different languages, we must understand their language, as well as our own, in order to have effective communication.  Effective communication, by the way, only happens when both parties understand what was said.

Some things we can learn from this as we seek to communicate with others:

1.  Sometimes we say the same words, but we mean different things — don’t assume.

2.  We must be careful of ‘buzzwords’ that we understand but others do not — don’t assume.

3.  It matters that others understand what we’re trying to say — don’t assume.

Many a misstep happens as people think they have communicated clearly only to find out they did not.  Our tendency is to blame the other person for ‘not getting it’, thinking they are dumb or stubborn.  However, we are responsible for communicating clearly to others, and assuming others have the same frame of reference is one of the biggest hazzards on the path to communcating with others.

The Center of it All

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A recent study on keeping Christ in the center of our lives got my brain working.  I actually taught this lesson to my Sunday School class, and I’m not sure I got through to them I’m not sure they heard what I wanted them too.  This is not a carbon copy of the lesson (except for 1 and 2) but it is what I want them to understand.

 

Object Lessons:

1.  Draw the circle.  Draw the best circle you can (with only paper and pencil).  Compare circles and vote for the best.  Show how to make a circle with an actual or home-made compass (string and a pencil).  Talk about how having the center point of the compass helps us make the perfect circle.

2.  Walk the dog.  This one is done in the mental realm, but one could have an actual dog and leash.  When the owner of the dog has him attached to a leash, the owner controls how far the dog can go.  The dog may think he’s an 0n-his-own-big-boy, but he can only go as far as the master allows.

3.  Tootsie Pops.  Talk about what they expect to have in the center of their tootsie pop, and what would happen if they got to the center and found a snail or something else instead of that tootsie roll.  Disappointment was given as a mild reaction and absolutely disgusted as the strongest reaction.

 

And….?

1.  Keeping Christ at our center helps us to have a “perfect,” balanced life.  There are no places where we have bumps going outside the circle or places where we don’t go far enough.  Everything in our life is tethered to Him.

2.  Tethering leads to walking the dog.  When Christ is at the center of our lives, it is like He has control over how far we can go.  I have often prayed that God would take ahold of my hand and never let go.  Then, even if I start to pull away because I see some shiny object that looks interesting, I can only go as far as His arm allows me to go.

3.  Tootsie pops should have a tootsie roll in the center.  Right?  Can you imagine biting into one and finding something gross in the center instead of that tootsie roll?  Can you imagine even biting in and finding gum instead of the tootsie roll.  It’s still edible, but it’s not what you were expecting.  It is disappointing at the very least.  Then imagine biting in and finding nothing, just a big hole where the tootsie should be.

 

 

More on 3

My father had all but given up on finding the way to Christ by the time he entered the army.  He had been baptized; he had been asked to ‘pray through’, but no one had actually told him how to accept Christ as his Savior.  Along with that, Dad had found the Christians in his life to have something else in the center besides Christ.  They were like the tootsie pop, offering something on the outside that looked good, but having a disappointing center or no center at all.   After he left for the army, his mother, my grandmother, accepted Christ.  They moved to Sandusky, Ohio and started going to church.  My mother also attended church there.  My grandmother decided Phil (dad) just had to meet this woman.  She kept asking my mother to write him.   My mother kept refusing.  She was a Christian and didn’t date non-Christian boys.

Finally Grandma brought a stamped, addressed envelope and paper and asked her to just write him one time.  If he did not respond, she was no longer obligated.  The letter basically said, “I’m a Christian.  I don’t _______, ________, or _________.  If you’re ok with that, I will write you.  If not, this is your last letter.  She also enclosed a picture (which didn’t hurt).

When my father opened and read that letter, his first thought was, “This sounds like a real Christian.”  He put her picture in his locker and wrote her back.  His letters were often searching, asking, seeking to know the Christ that my mother knew so well, the one who lived in the center of her life.

They wrote for a year and a half.  The Sunday he came home, he went forward in church and asked to join.  The pastor asked, “Have you joined Jesus yet?”   Dad told him no and someone finally showed him how he could join Jesus.  Obviously, my parents were eventually married and one year later, I was born.  My father surrendered to the ministry during this time and they struck out to live a life with Christ at the center.  Were they perfect at it?  Not! But they always sought to keep Him at the center of their lives.  I believe they have touched many people over the years because of this.

 

 

 

Our intimacy with God — His highest priority for our lives — determines the impact of our lives.”

Dr. Charles Stanley — Life principle 1

It’s all about the intimacy

Keeping Christ at the center is all about our intimacy with Him.  How do we develop intimacy with Christ?  We do it the very same way we develop intimacy with anyone.  We:

Spend time with Him (quality and quantity).

Read His love letter (the Bible).

Talk to Him (Prayer).

Learn as much as we can about Him (Experience, sharing with others, Bible study,…).

Talk to others about what He’s doing in our lives (witnessing, fellowshiping,…).

Trust Him (just as the dog trusts the master or the child trusts the parent).

Run life through His filter (what does He say/think about it vs. what the world thinks).

.  .  .

Have you ever met a Christian who could talk the talk, but was really empty inside?  (Not really a Christian)

Have you ever met a Christian who got it partly right, but Christ was off center in their life?  (Some things right, but still under strongholds of sin)

How did it make you feel?   What impression did it make on you – about the person?  – about Christ? – about Christians? – about Christianity?

Now go back to the first two questions and change out met with been.   Have you? 

We may be the only Christ others see, and keeping Him at the center of our lives brings balance to our life and glory to Him.

What’s in your center?

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