Look people in the eye. Speak from your heart. Let gentleness govern your tongue. Do more than just synchronize agendas. Provide meaningful communication. Say the words you fear most: I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you. Forgive me.
Give more than gifts this Christmas. Give words that value.
Posted in communication, love
Tagged Christianity, church, Faith, family, forgiveness, heart matters, hope, Jesus, relationships, tongue, words
Ignore the barking dogs.
I had a funeral — without dying. It was a good experience.
When I had to leave Guatemala, all the church members gushed about my good qualities. My defects, which previously had dominated evaluations, got forgotten. Now I know what it’s like to die.
Where flowers grow, weeds want to go.
This is the Yelp predicament. A disgruntled customer is highly motivated to post a comment. A satisfied one, not at all. Businesses have been sunk by this psychological phenomenon.
If you are given to criticizing others in the church, realize that:
- criticism is not a calling, not a charge, not a gifting from God. It lines up more with what the accuser of the brethren (Satan) does.
- you excuse and justify your own faults.
- you blow out of proportion your own merits.
- you probably are unaware of all kinds of services and sacrifices made by the very person you’re criticizing.
- the effects of your criticism will not advance the kingdom of God.
- an ounce of compliment would do more good than a ton of criticism.
- your criticism is probably motivated by envy and jealousy.
On outreach in San Diego, at one house they gave me bread. It was a nice little way for God to say, “Well done.”
If you take a lot of criticism, realize that:
- Satan’s strategy is get you to stop your labors.
- people throw stones at a tree with fruit (Spanish expression — to knock down fruit to eat, they throw stones. If the fruit tree is barren, no one throws stones at it.)
- compliments mostly go unvoiced.
- your life and ministry is in the hands of God, not of your critics.
Our words retain far more power than we acknowledge. Consider the Gibeonites (Joshua 9), who through lies and deceit won a treaty with the conquering Israelites. God forbade the Israelites to enter treaty with any of the people in the Promised Land, so the Gibeonites pretended to be foreigners from far away. If this were the U.S., the contract would be null and void because of falsifications.
BUT, God obliged the Israelites to honor that treaty because they had sworn with their mouths. God’s concept of words is vastly different than our own. We think, “I’m just saying…” as if our words were nothing more than sound vibrations, the product of vocal chords, breath and mouth formations. But God sticks with words.
Think about the implications for prayer. Whatever you utter will be upheld by God. They spoke lies, yet the treaty was upheld. You pray with sincerity. Have no doubt your utterances will come to pass. It’s just a question of time, but faith should remain absolute. Obviously, the tongue is more powerful than we conceptualize.
Posted in prayer
Tagged Christianity, deceit, Faith, Gibeonites, God, honor, Joshua, lies, power, Promised Land, words