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A Word to the Wise

8-17-2018 – A Word to the Wise:  There are somethings I must constantly remind myself. Primary among those things is feeling good about myself. Thus the reminder:

Often we look to others, or good circumstances to make us feel good. However, morale is not a gift. It cannot be injected by people. It is earned by acquiring more character assets and by learning to cope with our liabilities.

Confidence comes when we do battle and succeed. It comes when we accept the challenges of life instead of running away from them. It gains strength when we lick our wounds after a defeat and return to the fray. It goes down when we grow morbid and bathe in hostility and self-pity. It rises when we confront ourselves and accept our limitations and given potentials, despite these limitations.

Morale built any other way by praise and circumstance is nothing but a pumped up flat tire. There is no real strength of character within to hold it up. The world will not do it—and God will not let them. We must grow into it by living and being what God expects of us.

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A Word to the Wise

8-9-2018 – A Word to the Wise: Luke 6:32-35 English Standard Version (ESV)

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

This powerful passages helps us tune our hearts to the same frequency of the Lord. Understanding it, and failure to measure ourselves by its standard may lead us to exactly opposite standard of behavior.

Notice first of all that love as presented in this passage is an attitude, not a feeling. This is how we are to treat others. We are not to measure our response to others based on their attitude towards us. In fact we are to measure our love towards others as the Heavenly Father. That should be our standard.

So how does one acquire this type of love? First we absolutely must love ourselves. If we reject ourselves, or hate ourselves, then this attitude is reflect in our attitude towards others. Actually my self- loathing thought I pretend it to be humility is self-centered and selfish. Attitudes which are reflected in my behavior towards others.

Attitudes which are apparent when we feel rejected by others and we respond with anger apparent in rejection, and getting even behaviors.

So we must love ourselves, before we can love another, and only to the degree that we love ourselves.

Next, in this search for love is giving up the notion that receiving love is more important than giving love.

If we are conditioned to give love in order to receive love we ultimately discover that our love is possessive, and self-centered. When we use phrases like ‘prove you love me’ we define our selfish purpose. Moreover, we will never be satisfied that we are loved because we had to bargain and manipulate, to force the other to love us.

In contrast Jesus freely gives His love to us, so ought we to do.

This is the core reason for the failure of our marriages, and why our children seek to move as far away from us as they are able. They detect the selfish nature of our so called love, and the desire to enslave another with it.

Jesus says here that we must love expecting nothing in return. This is to mark or characterizes how we are to interact with everyone.

A Word to the Wise

7-21-2018 – A Word to the Wise: Intervention Part 2

So if you have decided to intervene with someone then you must go through certain steps to determine if there is possibility of change based on reality not what you want. What are those steps? Review the last post does the person laugh about the past misbehavior or brag about how they have out done others. Does the person avoid accountability, and feel justified for past behavior? Most important does the individual show remorse and experience any empathy for those harmed by behavior?

These are the deciding factors and if you answer incorrectly based on what you want as opposed to the reality of the individual you find yourself in conflict with Proverbs 9:7-8. (“He who corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you.”)

So let’s suppose you do have someone that might profit from your intervention what do you do? More importantly in the beginning what do you not do?

First and foremost you do not threaten the person with the dire consequences for their behavior. That tactic never works and in fact causes the person to resist. No threats. You do not judge the person, again this will be sensed by the individual and they will reject your intervention.

You absolutely must understand the benefits for the behavior from their point of view. What are those rewards? At the very least it makes them feel important. They feel in control. They get attention. They avoid accountability. They feel superior. They get their own way. You have to see the situation from their point of view, which means not arguing with them.

With those elements clearly in mind you are ready to begin intervention.

The first step is getting the person to realize their patterns of control. How their behavior influences others. Understanding that the intent is to control others. This means examining a multitude of situations and them pointing out the behavior and how it controls the outcome.

There is no shortcut for this examination. The more episodes brought up allows the person to see the behavior being repeated over and over and brings an acknowledgment of the behavior.

The person then must acknowledge the behavior its purpose and most importantly the justification for the behavior. The person believes that they have the right to use the behavior and this must be acknowledge before moving to the next step.

Next examine the abusive attitudes involved and be able to name the attitude and given examples of the destructive nature of the abuse. The person must acknowledge the seriousness of the nature of these attitudes. Ultimately the person must be able to acknowledge their intent to have the last say in any matter.

Step three after acknowledging and understanding their patterns of control, awareness of the purpose of the behavior, and the destructive nature of the attitudes then you’re ready for the most important part.

The most important step, helping the person develop empathy for others. This may be very difficult for the person is not use to experiencing empathy for another.

This requires you to know and thoroughly understand the person, and particularly the past which has contributed to the lack of empathy, and at the same time when they once experienced empathy for another. Building on these experiences you are ready for the last stage.

The final step is causing the person to understand they must get right with others, asking forgiveness, and forsaking past behavior.

A Word to the Wise

7-16-2018 – A Word to the Wise: MAKING INTERVENTIONS
Among those who misbehave who responds to Intervention? Who rejects any attempt to alter behavior? How does one discern the difference?

The rebellious are made up of the selfish, self-centered individuals some of which are immature and follow a foolish path. Others still are those who stubbornly hang on to rebellious ways without concern for the life of others.

Jesus tells us that He knows the heart of man, and insist that we should as well. He gives us the tools to make this evaluation. “but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because He knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man, for he himself knew what was in man.” Jn. 2:24-25. So the first requirement is to know the heart of another. How may we know that?

“You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.” Mt. 7:16-17. Or again “Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.” James 3:11-12.

So what are the characteristics of the hard core rebellious person? What exactly are we to know? To do?

They are; …”men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of righteousness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of speech; men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. Proverbs 2:12-15.
Typically, as early as their teens, some even earlier, disobey their parents. They constantly accuse the parent of not loving them if the parent does not meet every desire.
As adults, they lack integrity, they lie cheat steal from anyone that touches their lives. Frequently, they may be seen as obsessed with anger. The fruit produced in their lives is spoiled, self-centered without redeeming factors. They constantly demand that other give to them and refuse or do not know how to give to others.

The great mistake made by parents and others is that the helper tends to believe they may be fixed. All that is necessary is to convince the person of the long term consequences of such behavior. Sadly, this approach is counter to scripture and is set to failure from the beginning. Regardless parents, teachers, judges, and other continue to believe they are able to convince the rebellious of their folly, and somehow the person will turn aside.

Sadly, scriptures warns against such response and declare “he who corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.” Proverbs 9:7-8. I cannot even start to recount the numerous times I have tried to get parents, teachers, parole officers and other court representatives to see the failure of these responses. Over and over chances are given to the offenders, the criminals, the rebellious teens warnings which are ignored.

The question that faces us is why does such attempts fail? Why can the offender not see the long term consequences of their behavior?

The reality is the offender does see the consequences however what we fail to understand is that the offender weights the rewards of change over against the benefits of their behavior and they find that the rewards of dishonesty, immorality, anger far outweigh the benefits of change.

What one may ask, are the benefits of misbehavior?

First and foremost rebellious behavior allows the offender to control other people and situations. This is no small benefit. Think how helpless you feel in the presence of a rebellious person. How every word is turned against you. How every suggestion is subject to ridicule, and reduced to ashes.

Moreover, the one misbehaving gets attention. Attention which makes them feel important and invulnerable. It draws attention away from others causing righteous to feel unimportant. Exactly, how they are intended to feel at the hands of foolish men.
Misbehavior is rewarding in that it allows the person to get their way if they act out enough. This leads to feelings of superiority over others. Unfortunately, the one misbehaving avoids accountability for their misdeeds.

Who are these people? They are the rebellious teens, now grown in their 20’s and 30’s who spend the day playing games, drinking, drugging, and wasting the days away in endless recreational activities. Unable and unwilling to hold a job or provide for children born to their various girlfriends.

With these kind of benefits how will you be able to convince the person that it is far more rewarding to behave? Thus attempts to control, discipline, educate, the one misbehaving leads to failure.

One may inquire is the person able to change, of course? Will they change with all of these benefits, unlikely? Consider, if you felt justified, always had the ultimate say in any matter, the ability to control relationships, would you change?

So how does one deal with this narcissistic type behavior? First one must discern the likelihood of the person wanting to change. This is based on the type of behavior, how consequences are treated, and the rewards for change.

Why would any want to change? The Lord is unwilling for any to be lost so he places stumbling blocks in our paths to detour us away from the paths that lead to destruction. Some therefore hesitate at these road blocks long enough to reconsider their ways. One might even say some seeds of the kingdom have found their way into a bit of soil.
These are the one we focus on for they offer the highest hope of redemption. The first problem is one of selection. That means testing for sincerity. How is that to be done? Simply by their fruit you are to know them. Do they take great pleasure in recounting their misdeeds? When in mixed company do they ally themselves with the rebellious crowd? Excuse the past as the problem brought on by others? Do they still get thrills from their misdeeds? Do not waste your time energy, or resources.

In contrast does the person show remorse for past behavior? Accept responsibility for the consequences of their past misbehavior? These you may have some success with if your careful.

A Word to the Wise

6-26-2018 – A Word to the Wise:  ARE THERE CONSEQUENCES FOR SIN? Jesus takes on our sin and continually suffers the consequences. Notice His hand and feet, his side. In much the same way we suffer the consequences and they affect us either physically, (sexually transmitted disease as one example), emotionally, (the bipolar effect), mentally, (long acting guilt).

Why are consequences not removed? Because they serve as a reminder of the cost of sin and serve as a warning not to return to them.

So what are the kind of consequences? Well they depend on the sin and its seriousness. Now the seriousness is according to the Lord’s standard not man.

We offer her three examples of sin and consequences. The implication is not that these are the only three sins which have consequence for all sin has consequences rather these are example that reveal the connection between the two.
A Sins against Parents
B Moral sins
C Sins of bitterness

It is noteworthy that the consequences may last, in some circumstances, a life time, while others only endure while the sin is being practiced.

Our first example is sins against the parent. A definition would include outright rebellion against the parent. Bringing shame on the parent by ill behavior dishonoring the parent in word or deed. Both Deuteronomy 5:16, and Ephesians 6:1-2 explain that obedience brings a long life and disobedience shortens the lifespan. So consequences may be either positive or negative.

The second category is moral failure. Failure in this areas brings consequences in seven main areas according to Proverbs 5-7. Those consequences are: financial, emotional (bi polar sequences), disease (STD’s), pregnancy, heritage, inability to reason, and dishonor. It is apparent these consequences last a lifetime in one form or another.

The third category is bitterness. Bitterness arises in the heart of on who perceives that they have been treated unjustly by another. Matthew 18 warns us that the person indulging in bitterness will be tormented by two things; anxiety and depression. These tormentors will not be lifted until one gives up the bitterness at which time the anxiety and depression subsides.

So one may ask what happens when one turns to the Lord. The sins are forgiven, but the consequences remain. Baptism washes away sin, not consequences.

One goes out and murders someone and they are caught, tried and imprisoned. Just because they turn to the Lord in prison does not mean they are going to be released no matter how good they become. The consequences remain.

If you get angry at your spouse, get in your vehicle drive crazy and hit a bridge abutment and lose a leg, you may well repent, and find forgiveness, but you’re not going to grow another leg.

One spends 5 years of their life on drugs, turns to the Lord, they will discover they still pay a heavy physical price for their drug use.

Forgiveness does not remove consequences. However, the impact of consequences may be lessened by a life filled with good deeds, joyful thoughts, repentance, faithful worship.

A Word to the Wise

6-16-2018 – A Word to the Wise: FATHERS DAY –WHAT IS THAT?

For all practical purposes I did not have a father. Parents were divorced when I was 4 my father was partial to my sister and brother. I only saw my birth father on rare occasions. Reflecting back I must say he was a very kind man, just not to me.

He only taught me two things; to always listen to my mother, and how to make real French toast. He died when I was 12. Replaced by a step father who hated me, fiercely.

From time to time there were men my mother wanted me to look up to, a preacher, an Elder but no male influences for the most part.

I left home when I was 16, joined the military when I was 17. The only father I had ever really known was my Heavenly Father, I have no regrets but just did not know what a father was or should be. I am not sure the Lord taught me how to be a father, but he most certainly was a Father to me.

It is an oddity of scripture but one does not find any real good father figures in the Bible. A few good men, many bad ones but father traits are just not abounding.

Regardless absence of a good model, my son is an excellent father, and I am very proud of him. I do not comprehend how that came to be, but he is the model father. Respected in the home, in his congregation, and in the community. Happy father’s day, son.

A Word to the Wise

6-6-2018 – A Word to the Wise: There is a lot of criticism of the officer who failed to enter the school and shoot the shooter. Before you  speak you might consider; have you ever face the situation where you were immediately confronted with  killing another person? Consider this please. Killing another human is not an easy topic for one to  comprehend as a peacemaker. There seems to be a little Quakerism in most of us. Modern research sheds some light into this arena.

During World War II Colonel S. L. A. Marshall in a landmark study revealed that only about 17% of men involved in face to face combat  actually fired their weapons at the enemy. Other investigators have provided additional insight into what is known as the resistance to killing.

At the conclusion of the battle at Gettysburg during the Civil War there were 27,574 muskets recovered from the battlefield. One would expect a high percentage to have been discharged in the fierce fighting on those battlefields yet 24,000 muskets recovered were loaded. Twelve thousand had multiple loads.

How is that possible? At the very least 12,000, and more likely 20,000 were noncombatants in the fiercest battle on American soil. Many soldiers did not want to kill! They would do everything but fire their weapon at another person. Many more discharged their weapons over the heads of the enemy, or into the ground. The only conclusion available is men have a great resistance to killing. The closer the combat the higher the resistance. God created a barrier in man that resist killing.

Considering the topic myself when I first became a police officer I concluded for my own self that I would kill only to save the life of another person, but not for self-protection. That self-established rule determine that in four situation where I was legally, and morally justified I did not pull the trigger.

In rethinking those four situations over the years I realize having considered the problem before hand it was easier to deal with the situation when it occurred.
But to judge the situation that faced this school resource officer without considering what you would have done is cruel misjudgment. He faces now being called a coward and many other names, but remember 83 % of the population when faced with a similar situation would not have killed. Would you have?