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Toughest Job on the Planet is to lead well

“5 Ways to Fight FEAR in your Marriage” (IDNW #10)

 

A little fear can be a good thing. Especially when it gives us a healthy respect for dangerous things. Dark parking lots, strangers, storms, hot stoves, sharks, zombies etc… all to be feared. That fear, while it can have a little too much place in our lives, also serves as means of avoiding harmful consequences.

fear

Fear in marriage, however,  is almost always destructive. One of the most important aspects of marriage is safety, closeness…to be “fully known and fully loved.”   Yet it (fear) is the very thing that most women (and really most men too) struggle with. In fact it is so common that Psychology Today says fear is the single biggest obstacle women face in their lives. And a “top 3” in a man’s life. Fear of rejection … fear of being alone … fear of missing out … fear of being “found out” … fear of what others think about them… etc…

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

That being said, these are the questions from last Sunday’s “I Do Now What?” class designed to FIGHT FEAR in our marriage and develop closeness. Caution: Be wise when answering these questions. If your marriage is not used to “brutal honesty”, then now would be a terrible time to start unloading everything. If you and your spouse use each others faults against one another then that has to be cleared up first. If you guys are in real marital trouble and the honest answers to these questions will be harmful at best, then some healing may need to take place before these questions are helpful. Got it?

DO THIS…

  1. Husband: Tell your wife why you love her. Share your feelings about who she is and what she means to you.  Remember what you saw when you had to see her?…. When you had to hear her voice? … When you had to touch her? “Go back” to that place and tell her all about it! But you don’t feel that way anymore? Remember what it was like and you may change your feelings. Yes, by the way, you CAN change your feelings.
  2. Wife: tell your husband about your respect for him and what he does in life. The qualities you admire in him and the reasons you admire them.   If it is true that a man would choose to be respected before he is loved, then it is up to you to help him feel respected. Nothing respectable about him? C’mon…nothing? is he Disciplined? Creative? Passionate? Focused? Free-Spirited? Driven? Caring father? etc… surely there is something. When you identify what it is…let him know. If you are sincere and he believes that you are, then you will “speak life into him”.
  3. In humility, Husband: Share what your tendency is… (Dominant, Passive, Immoral, Distracted) ask forgiveness for when it has wounded or harmed your wife. Open up about your tendencies. She already knows anyway. Do you tend to dominate or are you passive? Are you struggling with certain sin? Share as much as you can…bring her into your confidence. This will be a huge part of breaking down walls of deception (should they exist) and beginning a new level of intimacy in your marriage. Wives: be so careful not to make him feel foolish for trusting you in this.
  4. In humility, Wife: Share what your tendency is…. (Dominant, Enabler, Distracted, Emotion-Motivated) Ask forgiveness for when it has wounded your husband. He knows, trust me, he does. What he needs to know is that “you know”. Rarely will a woman be vulnerable about her struggle that a man will not understand and listen. Husbands: if she trusts you with her “stuff” you can NEVER use it against her. Even when you are mad. Deal?
  5. Each Day this week: Thank God for how your spouse is made. Ask God to reveal to you how you can show love, respect for your spouse. Then do it! Part of the attraction to your spouse (I assume) is that they are different than you are. They look different, they act differently, they smell different. That is good by the way.  Enjoy the differences! It is ok that he does not talk like a girl even though you sometimes wish he would drop everything and share for hours. Its ok that she prefers long walks to watching the game. That is part of the dance…the attraction….the love. 

With all of these questions: the point is to talk about things you may not have talked about before. Let the conversation go where it needs to go. Then get back to the original question…

Hope these questions are helpful,

Hixon and Margie

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Family, Leadership, Marriage

 

“I DO…NOW WHAT?” (Week #8)

kindnessWhat a great time together!!  Thank you for opening up so much and looking at what God’s Word says about our tendencies as husbands. Also for the willingness to understand the things that a man faces in marriage and in life. Here are some notes from last Sunday… It was our week to look at the destructive tendencies of men…next week it’s the women’s turn. As always we will laugh a lot, see what Scripture tells us and be better for it!

Hope this helps

Hixon and Margie

Ephesians 5:25

“Husbands love your Wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her.”

Let’s be honest. That is a pretty tall order!  Christ loved the church (not the buildings but the people) sacrificed for the church, suffered for the church, blesses the church, protects the church, died for the church (Gospel)…  Me? I struggle sometimes just to put her needs in front of my own.  In fact, like most men… I am at war with insecurity, pride, my upbringing, wounds, selfishness, sin…

We teach that “as the man goes so goes the marriage”. That is not to say that the wife sits back for the ride. It is simply to say that the man has a unique role in leading the home. (Eph.5) If he leads well, then the marriage has the best chance at thriving. If he doesn’t, his wife will have to compensate for him…and that throws everything off. Two people….equal value…different roles.

2 KINDS OF DAMAGING HUSBANDS

1. THE DOMINEERING HUSBAND – (“My Way or the High Way!”)   1 Kings 4, Solomon’s son Rehoboam.  These men often have good leadership abilities. People at work are usually a little intimidated; they are often in charge or soon will be. “These are the men you want leading armies.” They get the job done and are usually task oriented. The “up side” to these guys is endless in terms of accomplishing a task. However…a man who dominates his wife is like a man who crushes flowers. 

Matthew 20:25-28    25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

A man will dominate his wife for a number of reasons. In addition, perhaps, to having a Choleric personality, he may have had detached parents, bringing on feelings of self-importance to cover the need for attention. He may have seen his father dominate and his mother capitulate so it is normal to him. “Dad barks and mom trembles”. He also simply may be insecure and cover by being overly controlling. Of course for many of us the desire to be in control is probably a pattern of sin, excuses and the thirst for power.

A husband who dominates his wife, inadvertently or intentionally, sends a lot of damaging signals to his wife.

  • “We are not equals”
  • “This marriage is about me” (and not you)
  • “Your opinion doesn’t matter”
  • Etc…

These signals can irrepairbly hurt a marriage …

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2. THE PASSIVE HUSBAND (“Yes Dear”)  – 1 Kings 21   King Ahab and Jezebel.

These men, at their best, can be giving and sensitive. They are kind and have a tendency to be empathetic. Sometimes they even read people and situations well. They often “hear the conversation that is really going on”… or at least believe that they do. 

King Ahab allowed his wife Jezebel to lead him away from God and into all kinds of evil things. He simply couldn’t say no to her. Whatever she wanted she received…with terrible consequences.

REASONS FOR A PASSIVE HUSBAND
A man will allow his wife to dominate over him for a lot of reasons. Genesis 2-4. The Fall of man. He may have been over-nurtured with his parents making decisions for him. Maybe he was never allowed to fail etc.. Maybe his dad was also passive or his mom demanding. He could also be intimidated by his wife.  There is a chance that he is just lazy. And of course he may have let his natural Phlegmatic personality run amok.

A husband who is passive essentially says this to his wife…

  • “You married a child”
  • “I’m not capable of making decisions”
  • “You replaced my mother”
  • etc..

“A woman will rarely fully love a man whom she can fully control” – J. Evans

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Next two:

The Immoral Husband

The Distracted Husband

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2016 in Family, Leadership, Marriage

 

I DO NOW WHAT? (Week #7)

Hey folks!

We are really enjoying the class with you! Margie is back this Sunday so we are in for a treat… more conversation … deeper insight … and a whole lot of fun!

See ya this weekend!

Hixon and Margie

Over the years Margie and I have learned a lot about the X’s and O’s of marriage. Through Bible studies,  seminars, retreats, books and sermons, we have learned how to “fight fair”(with respect), “communicate effectively” (I learned to talk like a girl), “speak truth in love”(its harder than you think), have “date nights”(they occasionally went well) and agree on how to raise three kids (its messy but we are doing it). 

But by far the important part of growth as a couple has been the ability to see ourselves as key to a great marriage. Not in a selfish way, but in a “my job is to fix me and serve you” way.  Yet marriages sometimes have this reversed. They want to fix their spouse and be served. If we can get to a point where we believe the key to a great marriage is … “ME”, then we can begin dealing with all of the stuff (good and bad) that we bring into our marriage.

The way we say it around our house is “YOU DO YOU BOO BOO”.  In fact this banner hangs in our entry hall at our house…

udoubooboo

The most effective way to “fix me” is to learn to tenaciously and consistently …..PRAY.  Prayer is transformational. It changes us, develops us, deepens us. The value of prayer in the life of a Christian is priceless. Yet, the vast majority of people DO NOT PRAY.  We may shoot up a prayer every now and then, maybe before a meal or maybe in a difficult spot…but really pray?… prioritize prayer? Pray like everything depends upon it?  Not usually.

  • Might be because we have seen 100’s of our prayers go unanswered…(by the way: sin, idolatry, focus is selfish, holding God “hostage”, unforgiveness, selfish motives, asking for things to feed our appetites, etc…greatly hinders our prayers) 
  • Might be because we live is such a way that makes it hard to “look God in the eyes”
  • Maybe because, if we pray God is gonna remind us of the sin He wants us to deal with first…
  • Whatever the reason, if we are honest, if we are really honest….we don’t pray. Not for any extended period of time.

BUT…

If we really want our marriages to flourish, if we want our lives to flourish, more than any other single discipline…we must pray. (Feel free to look up how often the Bible tells us: this is “how to pray”, “when you pray…”, “when you are praying”, “as you pray” etc…)

HERE IS A PRACTICAL APPROACH  to changing your marriage, by changing yourself through prayer.
1. GET ALONE WITH YOUR BIBLE. Yep. even though it isn’t Sunday, grab that rascal and get away from distractions. For you young and/or single moms, it may be next to impossible to think of “exactly where” that place is, but do whatever you can to get alone with God and His Word. It may mean being the first one up or the last one to bed. (like you need sleep anyway :-))

Here is what we know…Hebrews 4:12 says: For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

So what if we simply let it speak to us?

Not sure where to start?  Try praying about what your read in the Psalms. You will see a lot, including:
Psalms 27 (God is our strength and shield)
Psalms 46:1 (He is a refuge in time of trouble)
Psalms 46:10 (We need to be still and know that “I am God”)
Psalms 34:1 (We can “taste and seen that He is good”)
more….

Pray, thanking and believing God to be what the Bible declares Him to be. You will be encouraged and your prayer life will become essential to your daily routine as “the pray-er prays, the prayers change the pray-er, then the pray-er changes their prayers”!   
2. KNEEL – We suggest this as a way of physically “humbling ourselves before God”. He knows if we are humble or not regardless of our posture. Kneeling is a way of getting our hearts in a humble posture.

Here is what we know:  James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Choose a posture that says to God “You are and I am not!”. Bad knees? Sit with your palms up and open. You may say that you are not a demonstrative person. Good thing no one is around to see you…except God.

After a while when kneeling becomes a habit, do something else to remind you to humble yourself. Bow, lay prostrate, sit palms up, raise your hands in air… the point is the attitude of the heart. Our physical position is only to drive us towards our proper place before God.
3. PRAY OUT LOUD – We have probably all been guilty of praying silently and having our mind wonder. Before we know it we are pondering the most random things, from the tragic to the innocuous. Praying out loud helps with concentration.

Here is what we know: Hebrews 5:7 “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.”
4. PRAY FERVENTLY/WITH PERSISTENCE
Sometimes praying looses heart. But remember….Widow and the judge.

Here is what we know: The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Luke 18:1-8 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
You may very well be just moments away from God moving in your circumstances…keep praying, keep seeking and keep trusting.

5. PRAY IN AGREEMENT WITH YOUR SPOUSE …
I believe that “the secret to prayer is prayer in secret” but there is something remarkably special about praying TOGETHER…  It heals, it unifies, it melts cold hearts, it creates intimacy, and it is powerful.
Here is what we know:  Matthew 18:18-19  “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[a] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[b] loosed in heaven. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

BONUS: Pray with A LIST – (raises the specificity) Did you ever notice that very few prayers in Scripture are generic “have a good day” prayers. Usually people prayed for specifics:

Here is what we know:

Elijah: fire to come down….also that it would not rain
Hannah: she would have a son
Rehab: not be killed
David: forgiveness and restoration
Centurion: Healing of his son
Jesus: Protect them (disciples)  from the Evil one… unity…effectiveness in ministry…etc…

It’s fine to pray for a “good day” but how will you know when God answers that prayer? Try praying for something specific…something you can see…something you will recognize when it happens.

“Help me have a gracious attitude towards that co-worker…”
“Bring to mind ways I have sinned….so I can turn from it”
“Help me forgive my spouse for ____________”
“Bring my son or daughter to saving faith in you…”
“Restore to me the joy of my salvation….”
“Break the addiction of (name it) in my life…”

When we are specific and God moved mightily we are greatly motivated to pray more.

We fix our marriages by fixing ourselves.

“YOU DO YOU BOO-BOO”

prayer-couple

1 Tim 2:2 – Pass this stuff along

Hope this helps,

Hixon and Margie

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2016 in Family, Leadership, Marriage

 

5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Marry Him

I have noticed that the women in my life (wife and two daughters) are attracted to “mushy romantic stuff.”  Books, postcards, weddings, frills … It is just who God “made em to be.” Seemingly, every Hallmark movie ever made is neatly recorded on our DVR waiting, most often, to redeem a difficult day at school, work or ministry. The thing is, every one of those movies is a visual romantic cliche’…

  1. Boy meets girl and they hate each other. (“he’s arrogant”, “she’s selfish”etc.)
  2. Then one sees some redeeming quality that others don’t see
  3. Then they get interested in each other, and its going well
  4. then some obstacle (his past, her work, something we all saw coming-but hoped “they” wouldn’t see it) interrupts what would have been a happily ever after
  5. at the last minute one of them discovers the truth (or has some grand epiphany) and races to catch the other at the last possible moment. (an airport is almost always involved.)
  6. then everything is right in the world.

Every single movie follows this path…but that isn’t all bad. In fact, after fighting it for years they have “won me” over to their side.

SOOOOOO I am publicly (all 9 of you that will read this) admitting that I’m all for “mushy love”…romantic, candlelit, corny love. The kind of love that happens in the movies…in New York City…..in the snow…. at Christmas time. You know… the “can’t breathe without you, if we don’t get married I’ll die, talk on the phone till 2 in the morning, leg popping, Pride and Prejudice kind of love”

Yep ….Thats me.

While I’m at it I have a few more random confessions…

I actually liked “The Notebook” more than I probably should have…I think Jane Austen was a great writer… the movie “Titanic” would have “sunk” without Jack and Rose. (though why on earth did she let him drown when here was more than enough room on the float she was on) ….Valentines Day IS a real holiday… I believe in love at first sight…kisses mean something…“Wall-E” was great because a robot finds love… Gladiator was a romance… and The Princess Bride could be the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!

eh-hem.

BUT… Since that kind of “love” usually last till just after the “credits” there are some things that I want my daughters to look for besides “all of that”.

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I want em to ask themselves a few simple questions about the man they will someday marry:

1. DOES HE LOVE JESUS? Several years ago I stopped talking in terms of “being a Christian” and started asking, do they “love Jesus”? After all, I live in Texas, EVERYONE a is “CHRISTIAN”! But just because he calls himself a Christian, grew up in church and knows some verses does not mean much. Does he live it? Does he really walk with the Lord?  Is it obvious?  If it isn’t, you can either sign up hoping that one day he will, or you can wait till he does.

Matthew 22:37                                                                                                                                                         Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

2. CAN HE SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY? Most of us hate this one. We have seen authority abused and want nothing to do with submitting to it. A constant theme in Scripture is obedience. David, Esther, Aaron, Timothy, Paul, Peter (eventually) and even Jesus submitted to the authority in their lives. An ordinary man should be no different.  He needs understand the authority he is under, and the authority he authority he will hold in the home. (Eph. 5 and 1 Peter 3 etc… ) Does he understand the servant leadership that he is charged with calls him to “love his wife as Christ loved the church”?  Can he submit without becoming the rebellious guy who speaks poorly of those in authority over him? If he can’t then a marriage to him will likely be hold all kinds of problems.

Romans 13:1-7
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 

 

3. IS HE IN CONTROL OF HIMSELF? When a man is driven by his appetites and not his faith, he is in danger is almost every area. From food to porn he will be at risk for addiction, deception and collapse. A woman wants to marry a man who can control himself. Women: Examine how he handles the physical relationship he has with you and you will have a glimpse into his ability to control is appetites. Maybe even glimpse into yours too.

Proverbs 25:28
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

4. CAN HE STAND ALONE WHEN MOST OTHERS BOW? From the moment he leaves the house in the mornings he will be wearing “a bullseye” on his back. This world, our Enemy and his sin nature will attack him and attempt to drive a wedge between husband and wife (and kids). Has he shown that he will be a man who sticks to his convictions when everyone else caves?

Danial 3:16                                                                                                                                                        Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

5. IS IT EVER HIS FAULT? I understand that sometimes the things that happen in our lives are not our fault…we are the victims. BUT… is it ever his fault when things go wrong? Can he take responsibility for his own junk? If he cannot, then his wife is going to be the “reason” for his struggles…cause it will not be HIS fault.

Genesis 3:12                                                                                                                                                                    12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

So…. I say “go for the cute one, the romantic one, the rich one, the smart one etc” … just so long as he:

  • Loves Jesus more than himself … even more than he loves you…
  • Handles authority well…
  • Controls himself and not you…
  • Can stand when other bow…
  • Can accept responsibility for his actions…
 
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Posted by on October 15, 2016 in Family, Leadership, Marriage

 

“Rocky, the next Piper?”

[Rocky_Balboa_4.jpg]I posted this about a year ago but readership has increased since then… so this is one of the oldies…. enjoy!

I love the Rocky movies! You know…. humble guy overcomes crazy obstacles to win the Title, the respect of the world and the girl. He represents all things both manly and noble. In my view he is not just an American Icon, but possibly one of our leading theologians. (sarc)  Simple, deep, profound……man’s man!

See if you don’t agree…

The following is a small example of the genius that is ROCKY… Watch it here: http://youtu.be/UfjRcGDBvMQ

TRANSCRIPT:  “I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “this kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, (1 Peter 5:2) every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. (1 Corinthians 13:11). But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good (John 15:20). And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow (Hebrews 12:1). Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life (John 10:10). But it ain’t about how hard ya hit (Luke 6:29). It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward (2 Corinthians 6:4). How much you can take and keep moving forward (Phil.3:12). That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! (James 2:5) I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life(John 3:16). Don’t forget to visit your mother.” – Rocky Balboa

(Please read this post with some discernment. It is written “tongue-in-cheek” and only intended to make a few simple points about growing up and living life with some tenacity. No endorsement of “Rocky”, Sylvester Stallone, the sport of boxing, punching dead cows, violence, bad acting or the city of Philidelphia is intended)

REFERENCES:

  • John 15:20 “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[a] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also”.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:4 “Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;”
  • 1 Peter 5:2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;
  • 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”
  • Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
  • Titus 2:12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
  • Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
  • Luke 6:29 “If someone slaps you on one cheekturn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”
  • James 2:5 “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”
  • Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace”
  • John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”


 

“PRETTY VENOM”

I was recently reminded of the VENOM that sometimes comes out of our (my) mouths. You know…harsh words, slander, gossip, innuendo, critique etc…

We are (many of us) Christians, we love Jesus and yet we grapple with the words we speak…especially to fellow believers. Oh, we rarely have a “cussing fit” or just dress someone down…we are too clever for that. Our venom is much “prettier”.

  • We are routinely sarcastic/funny at someone else’s expense.
  • We exploit other’s weaknesses and say “just kidding”.
  • We make fun of someone and invite them to laugh along, or consider them too sensitive if they don’t.
  • We “rip” people when they are not around to defend themselves
  • Etc…

I think most of us struggle with our words, in fact, if we don’t then we are “perfect” (James 3:2). So I am not addressing the occasional slip up or word spoken in anger. I am talking about the systematic tearing down of a brother or sister.

LUKE 6:45 “…for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of…”

JAMES 3:6 “…the tongue also is a fire, a world of evil…”

MATTHEW 15:18 “… the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.

SO here is the thing……We reveal WHO we REALLY are by WHAT we say to others…

THE GOSSIP: Reveals that He/She is INSECURE Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. (Prov 18:8) NOTE: If your friends will talk about others when they are not around….they will talk about you when you are not around.

THE SLANDERER: Reveals that he/she is ARROGANT /JEALOUS A false defamation (expressed in spoken words, signs, or gestures) which injures the character or reputation of the person defamed. Happens all the time. Often cloaked in “teasing” but designed to keep folks “in their place”. INNUENDO – reveals that he/she is COWARDLY. They will not address something directly so they get to say it AND have “plausible deniability”. When asked if they said “it”…they are comforted by the fact that they didn’t actually use the words.

THE FLATTERER: Reveals that he/she is a MANIPULATOR/SHALLOW/CHILDISH Gossip involves saying something behind a person’s back what you would never say to his/her face. Flattery means saying something to a person’s face that you would never say behind their back.

THE CRITIC: The Root of most Criticism is ANGER/JEALOUSY Criticism is the judgment of the merits and faults of the work or actions of one individual by another (the critic). In an effort to tear down someone else’s work, we critique, judge and find fault where there is little to find.

Pretty revealing huh? SO what do I do? Well, since I’m guilty of all of the above, here is what I do.

  • Focus on Building others up….
  • Speak the truth in LOVE (Eph. 4:15)
  • Refrain from gossip (Prov 16:28, 17:9, 26:20)
  • Refrain from insincere FLATTERY (Prov 26:28)
  • Stop running others down (James 4:11)
  • Stop the SARCASM (Proverbs 26:24)
 

5 QUICK TIPS FOR BLESSING YOUR TEENAGER(S)

1. MAKE YOUR HOME “BASE”. For those of you that grew up playing outside (without video games, cell phones or internet) you may remember a great game called “Kick the Can”. (at least it was great in my Tulsa, Ok neighborhood in 1977)  It is like a lot of “tag” games in that the object is to avoid getting “tagged” by the person who is “IT” while at the same time trying to “kick the stationary can” that he is protecting. To add to the fun there is a designated “base”. It may be a tree, a shrub or a fence but as long as you are on “base”  you cannot be “tagged” or disqualified from the game….you are safe! While “on base” you could relax, catch your breath, work on “strategy” and prepare to re-engage the game etc….

That is a perfect picture of what a home needs to be for teenagers….a “base”.  Safe emotionally, physically and spiritually.   A Sanctuary – I have spoken/written on this a lot. The world is putting our kids into a vice and squeezing them. Any teenager that wants to “walk with the Lord” is going to have to resist a lot of pressure. But like any of us, they cannot resist 24/7!  They need a place where they can be free from pressure, undeserved criticism and sarcasm. Your home should be a “sanctuary”.

2. “WIN” THEIR HEARTS and THEIR BEHAVIOR WILL FOLLOW (usually)  – While I know that we are our kid’s parents first and their friend 2nd, (especially when they are young), somewhere in their early teens a very cool things takes place: You get to talk to them like a real live person! A dialogue instead of monologue. Actually sharing ideas instead of solely instructing. It may happen once and then not again for a while…but then it happens again. Before you know it you are having validating, important life changing discussions with an intelligent viable teenager….almost like a friendship!

I’m not talking about getting your kids to like you….. I’m talking about respecting a teenager’s gifts, personality, bent, etc….  You are beginning to make the turn from instructor and role model to confidant and role model. (yea, ya never really lose the whole role model thing). If you never make this transition you will frustrate your teenager and (opinion) stunt their growth. You were a teenager once…

3. “TALK” WHEN THEY WANT TO ‘TALK” – scheduling time to talk is very difficult. It can feel forced and canned etc…. but God seems to bring our kids around to a time when they want to share stuff with us. That usually means (especially in the summer) that my wife or I (usually my wife) will have to stay up with them till they go to bed. What is it about teenage girls that wants to talk after midnight?   (for you control freaks I would challenge the notion that making an 18-year-old go to bed at 10pm is a good idea 🙂 )

4. REALIZE YOUR KIDS WILL “LOOK LIKE YOU” IN WAYS YOU DON’T INTEND. They will become WHO you are in every area of life. Mannerisms, sarcasm, anger, humility, pride, devotion to the Lord,  etc….   Jerry and Mary Royal say it best: “They will follow WHO YOU ARE before they follow WHAT YOU SAY”. Your child has a problem with authority? ….hmmmm.  Your child wrestles with worry and fear….hmmmm.  Your child does not walk closely with the Lord?…. well… you get it.

5. GET TO KNOW “THEIR WORLD” – Our kids walk in to a highly competitive, dramatic and morally “foggy” environment at school and need us (more than they know) to help navigate the murky waters of faith and friends. The only way to do that is to talk with them (not at them).

Most teens in my kid’s world have cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, IMing, text messaging, skyping, ….. blah blah blah. So do my kids… It is just a “hill I refuse to die on”. (Me? I had a phone… a land line…that I hated talking on…I’m a guy)  More than once I have had a texting conversation with my teens when they are just in the other room. (don’t judge me). It has always been the start of a much deeper conversation face to face. SO…get into what they are into and you may find that you and your teen can communicate well in the languages THEY most like to use. OMG you may find your son or daughter is your BFF!       lol  🙂

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Family, Leadership