Thoughts For Life
My favorite counseling Bible verse is
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning Pr 1:5
In order for a client to benefit from counseling, he must be open to instruction from the Lord, and so must the counselor.
Submission; a calling for everyone
Thought: In our marriage & family class at church, we are presently studying the topic of submission. It's one hot word. Submission is the position, not only for women, but for all Christians to take. Believers are called to submit "to one another in the fear of God" (Ep 5:21). The term itself suggests the servant attitude that we are to imitate from Christ who came not "to be served, but to serve" (Mk 10:45). In fact, greatness in God's kingdom is measured in terms of service & humility (Mt 23: 11-12).
Turn the other cheek
Thought: Turn the other cheek. How difficult to impossible that command from Jesus seems to be. On a national level, does that mean we don't defend our country? On a community level, does that mean we let crime continue unchecked? On a personal level, does that mean we let someone take advantage of or abuse us?
My understanding of the intent of Christ and the above questions leads to the answer of "No!" to all of the above. Then what does it mean? In the most practical sense, it means that when a fellow worker, a church member, a child, a parent, or a spouse annoys you, you do not retaliate. In other words, you do not react, or become "reactionary." You may still deal with the problem, seek for justice, or correct the person, but not in a "knee jerk" manner. Instead, you overcome evil with good (Ro 12:21).
Be a jerk-in therapy
Thought: "I'm the problem. it's me!" That's really hard to say, isn't it? I love the interplay between Han Solo and his "friend" Lando in Star Wars. They were creatures of the same stripe, both whining, "It's not my fault!" It's hard to own up. It's so much easier to run away and hide, to make ourselves look good, or to blame another, much like the original man did. That's one reason I like to use a technique I call "Jerk Therapy" with people who reflexively make excuses for themselves. I have found when I admit "I'm a jerk!" after I have blown even part of an interchange, I am liberated. I am free. I am no longer a target. I no longer offend the other like I did. And best of all, I become a candidate for the grace of God to flow to me.
Battlefields of the heart
Hurt and anger are inevitable. How you engage them in your response is the critical factor between being constructive and destructive in your relationships. Do you have a hot head when he or she criticizes or irritates you? or a cold heart? Robert Frost hypothesized that perhaps the "world will end in fire," that is, in the passions of fiery hate and ill chosen, harsh words, but that "ice...would suffice" also, that is, in the withdrawal of hearts from one another.
A better balance in preserving a relationship is to deal with conflict with a cool head and a warm heart. It works, it's much less expensive, and it wins friends - like your husband, your wife, your son, your daughter, and others. It's your choice, in the middle of battle. Use your most effective weapons.
The Meaning of
Thought: What makes us what we are? Some emphasize heredity. Our health,
intelligence, and relation¬ships are certainly influenced by genetics. Some stress
environment. Certainly, our family upbringing and early socialization experiences also affect us. Still others note spiritual intervention in our lives. God's word, Spirit, and people can have tremendous impact on our lives, to the point that the spiritual
influence "trumps" hereditary & environmental influences. However, in the end, what truly makes us what we have become are the decisions we have made in our lives. Like the Israelites of old, we continuously have life and death laid before us (De 30:19). We are not victims of chance or history, but make our destiny by what, or whom, we choose to trust, day by decisive day.
I and You
Thought: "You only care about yourself" Some of us have learned that "I" statements are better than accusatory "You" statements when in conflict. "I feel lonely when you don't communicate," for example, seems less threatening." A problem can develop, however, even with so¬-called safe "I feel" proclamations. Being wrapped up in our own feelings can develop a "feeling philosophy" with its attendant self-centeredness and/or victim mentality. We might start to lean toward the popular philosophy of our day, Post¬modernism, which magnifies the subjective and the personal to the nth degree. "I hear you say. .. " and addressing the legitimate needs of the other party in a conflict works much better, as does, say, humility and forgiveness put to use readily so that no root of bitterness may emerge.