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Who polled God?

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Today I exercised –

 

my right to vote!

 

Graphic showing how the popular vote winner ca...

Graphic showing how the popular vote winner can lose the electoral vote. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope you all in the US did the same.  I also hope that we can learn to live with the results, remembering that God is in charge, not the elected officials (or any other kind).  It’s amazing how quickly people forget that in the heat of the battle.  We should study and pray about our vote and make sure to cast it, but the results are in God’s hands alone and for His purposes.

 

I am really sad at what I have seen over the last few days months years as a dichotomy has widened the gap between people in this country.  The mud-slinging, cheating, lying, and more does not honor our country or God.  It also doesn’t honor those who engage in it.   I see a lot of finger-pointing, but it is arrogant to assume one person has the corner on being right.  We all have some things right and some wrong.  When it comes to issues we vote on, the Christian should hit his/her knees first, asking God for the truth.  Then he/she should search the scripture for God’s truth.  When God says yes, no, go, don’t go, or anything else, we should follow.

 

Bridging the gap requires spiritual knowledge, but it also requires good communication:  with the Father and with fellow human beings.  This is a subject that would take much more room than we have here to cover fully, but I hope you get the idea.  If we eschew communication in favor of judging, arguing, name calling, pride, etc., we have a big problem.

 

One of the meanings of being “United” states, is that we abide by the laws of the land (that do not violate God’s laws) and we work together when the vote is counted.  I hope no bad behavior will be in the news tomorrow no matter who wins the election.  I also hope that we can find a way to turn the tide.   “If MY people, who are called by MY name. . . . ”

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Political Communication: Is it possible?

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As the USA heads closer to election time, people’s’ humanity (sin nature) seems to be rising to the top.  It’s everywhere.

“I’m right.  You’re stupid.”

“I know what’s best.”

“Only an idiot would believe that.”

“Libs are . . . .”

“Conservatives are . . .”

You know you’ve seen/heard it all too.  How can a country that has become so polarized ever find neutral ground and begin communicating with one another?

 

Real communication starts with respect.

1.  No name calling.

2.  No trying to out-yell another to get your point across.

3.  Really listen to the other person instead of formulating your argument or interrupting.

4.  Try to turn off your filters and hear the other person without bias.

5.  Recognize that stupidity, bias, greed, etc. runs in both parties.

6.  Turn off the arrogance!  You are not God and do not know everything.

7.  Recognize that your rights end where my nose begins.

8.  Remember that people often want they same things, they simply have a different plan for arriving there.

9.  Recognize that your world is not the universe.  Where you live, how you were raised, and a hundred other factors go into your world view, and everyone’s world view is at least somewhat unique even though common characteristics may exist.

10. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23).  Exersize these fruits and begin to plant seeds of kindness, and respect as you go about your daily life.

11.  If you are a Christian – pray for them.

 

This a start to the list.  Can you think of other ways to show respect to others?  Are you guilty of disrespect to those who disagree with you? 

 

By the way, silence is not respect.  We need to speak up, but we need to do it in a respectful way that acknowledges others as human beings.  I can and will stand on my principles, especially those that God laid down in the Bible.  But,  I will attempt to do so as Jesus did.  He was tough when needed, but always thought of what would bring others to God.  He was/is the embodiment of the Fruit of the Spirit.

 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man shows, this he will also reap.  For one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.  And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.   Galatians 6:7-9

 

 

Ten ways to Love: Yeah, but…

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Our 5th installment of Ten ways to love is to:  Answer without arguing. 

Proverbs 17:1  Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.  (KJV)

The Message puts it this way:  1 A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

 

Argument

Argument (Photo credit: andrewmalone)

Anyone who has ever lived with an argumentative person knows exactly how true that statement is.   Have you ever known someone who couldn’t just give a simple answer?  They always have a “yeah, but…” or some other reply explaining why they are ‘special’ and your premise is wrong.  I think all of us answer with an argument at times, but the person who consistently does this is not saying, “I love you.”  They might be saying, “I’m better than you” or “I know better than you”, but not “I love you.”   I find that many of those who make this a consistent habit have no clue what they do to others.  In their mind, they really are special, know better, or simply want to make sense of the question.

English: Northern Mockingbird juveniles at a b...

English: Northern Mockingbird juveniles at a bird bath in Austin, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you help someone who has no clue?         I don’t know.  That’s a rhetorical question 🙂  If you have the answer, let me know!

 

Since we already know we can’t help others, we can only look at ourselves.  Do we answer with an argument or do we listen and answer without arguing?  Human beings have this unique ability.  It’s called justification.  AND–it works best when pointed at our own behavior.  I of course, never have an issue with this. . . . . ;]  but just in case someone out there does. . . .

 

Anyway, back to the topic.

I have way too many people a person in my life who cannot simply answer a question without argument, and it drives me to distraction at times.  I call her on it, but she comes back with more argument.  This leads to more drama, which leads to anything but a feeling of ‘love’.   Responses often contain “Yeah, but”, “Well, I”, “You don’t”, and “I didn’t mean to” to name a few.   I have to admit I don’t always respond well to this.  Frustration probably tops the list of emotions that pop up.  How do you communicate with someone who doesn’t really hear you?  Instead of hearing what’s said, the arguer hears something they must take exception to.  I guess it’s a form of defensiveness.  I don’t know.  I just know neither party winds up feeling very good afterwards.  Neither person feels very loved or listened to either.

 

A very simplistic example of this:  

Adult:  “Go to bed.”   Child:  “But, I’m not tired!”

Adult:  “Go to bed.”   Child:  “I can’t sleep if I’m not tired.”

Adult:  “Go to bed.”   Child:  “Well, sissy doesn’t have to go to bed now.”

Adult:  “Go to bed.”   Child:  “Can I have a drink.”

and so on.        Can anyone say distraction technique?

The major theme in this scenario is:   “I don’t have to do what you tell me because…..”

 

Pride.  Is pride at the base of the argument.  I think I could argue that it is (tongue in cheek).   Pride and love, real love, do not go together.  In fact, they are diametrically opposed, and offering argument instead of answers says, “I don’t have to” or “I know better” or, well, you get the point.

 

Now for the Vertical

Maybe you never argue instead of answering others.   But how about God?   Do you question Him when He asks you to do something?  Do you have some reason why the commands (already given in the Bible) are for someone else and not you?  After all, you’re not very good at that, or you don’t have time for that, or ….    I don’t think we mean to argue with God, but too often, we do.  We can show Him love by obeying Him without arguing.

 

Sometimes, whether vertical or horizontal, it takes a lot of hard knocks time and maturity to learn how to answer without arguing.

 

What do you think?   Do you know someone like this, and if so, how do you deal with it?  Have you changed this about yourself?  Any tips for doing so?  My posts are often quests, because I don’t know it all.  I’m always interested in how others deal with various aspects of communication, so I hope you’ll share if you have something to say. 🙂

 

 

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?

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