Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

Do you ever have one of those days when you are mad at the way people behave? Something really unfair happens and you try very hard not to be offended?  Not that I am not perfect, but when I see people, especially Christians, purposely do the wrong thing because they are afraid to stand up for what is right, it bothers me. Today it is bothering me! I had two situations of offense to deal with today.  And in both of these situations, it was not safe to confront the people who doled out the injustice. This means, I can’t confront the problem and get it resolved. I have to live with the injustices and let them go.

Do you find that difficult? I do.

My first career choice was to be a lawyer and I think this is why- I have a strong sense of wanting justice, probably from experiencing things out of my control. And every so often, someone does something hurtful that impacts my future and I have a choice-let it go or hold on to anger and unforgiveness.

My head knows that I must forgive the person even though the person isn’t asking for forgiveness and probably doesn’t consider the ramifications of his actions. During these times, I engage my will.  I choose to forgive. My emotions take awhile to catch up. When this happens, I ask God to help me release the person to Him. Then I must trust that God uses these times of unfairness to build my character, and will bring good from these offenses. I also remind myself about the times I have offended God. Yet, He always forgives me and wipes the slate clean.

So today, once more, I turn the person over to you God. I don’t want to carry around angry feelings. I am not his judge or the Holy Spirit. You are. Yes, I was hurt by his actions but you know that, and will help my heart to heal. It is the relationship with You than makes it possible to release the offense and move on. My flesh wants revenge, but my spirit knows not to go there. On days like this, I am glad I have my faith and that God is patient with me.

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sad childI was horrified to learn that 11-year-old Sebastien De La Cruz, who sang the national anthem  in his mariachi costume at the NBA finals, was bullied on Twitter. To the child’s credit, his response to all the bullying was incredible.

“I think the people were talking bad because of what I was wearing, and it’s not my fault. It’s what I love, and I’m just proud to be a mariachi singer. It’s their opinion, actually, and if they don’t like mariachi, that’s their problem. I love it.”

Way ta’ go Sebastien. Don’t let the bullies get to you. But do cyber bullies get to people?

Of course, but we only here about it when one of the victims commits suicide.

So what can you do to psychologically respond to this growing problem of web meanness? Part of the help is preventing a bully from ever developing.

One response it to not take it personally. This is incredibly hard to do unless you have help from your parents. The power of words are just that–powerful! And while you have to teach your kids not to take it personally and focus on the lack of empathy and kindness of the perpetrator, words hurt.

So parents, talk about what was said and let your kids know that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. Perhaps this is where we help our kids apply the words of Jesus to bless those who curse us. Help your child understand that the person who creates such meanness and hides behind the web to not face his targets has heart problems that parents need to address. All we can do is control our response to the meanness of others, but we can put it in perspective–it’s a lack of parenting! The first time my child ever tried to disparage another child, I was on him. The lesson–put yourself in his place. How would it feel? Would you like this?

Empathy can be taught. Here is what you do:

1) Help your child distinguish his/her feelings from others.

2) Talk about another perspective–what does it feel like for the other person. You have to prompt this at an early age.

3) Help your child regulate his/her emotional responses. Because you feel something, doesn’t mean you act on it. Use your head, not your impulse.

4) Teach your child to bounce back from distress. This means getting inside the emotional responses of your children, letting them express them, but helping them regulate them so they learn how to manage emotions early on in life.

5) Meet your child’s emotional needs at home–research proves that kids whose needs are met and whose attachments are strong, do better at handling distress.

6) Repeatedly tell your child not to give power to others to define who he/she is–our identity comes from God and those who know us and can speak into our lives!

7) Model empathy daily. If children see parents being empathetic, they will develop the response.

8) Talk about how difficult it must be for others who get teased and bring it to the minds of your kids. Point out examples and the label the bully as mean.

9) Teach self-control. When you are upset or hurt, you don’t lash out at others. Stay silent and think before you speak.

10) Provide kids a moral perspective. Part of being one of Christ’s is to treat others as you would want to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule which has been greatly tarnished. Do unto others and you would want them to do to you.

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workCan’t get excited about going to work in the morning?

Don’t like the atmosphere at work?

Prefer not to be with your co-workers?

Do you even like your job?

If you answered, NO, you join more than half of all workers who say they just can’t get excited about their jobs!

So what is going here?

Employers have tried offering incentives to help people like their jobs more. While perks certainly don’t add to job dissatisfaction, the experts say getting people to like their jobs takes more than adding a few toys and privileges. Turns out that perks are not that associated with job satisfaction. People enjoy the perks, but don’t stay at a job long term just for the fun.

Instead, it’s the fundamentals of the work environment that matter:

Getting a pay raise.

Having works tasks that are stimulating.

Having a boss who isn’t a jerk!

Being able to voice your opinion.

Being rewarded for working together.

Having flexible work hours.

Rewarding productivity.

Basically, job satisfaction comes down to collaborative management styles, teamwork, and rewarding people who work well with a variety of people and perform well.

So if you are a company that thinks adding perks is a substitute for a healthy work environment, think again. Forget the toys and rethink your policies and and training. A healthy work culture is what people want to go to everyday!

 

 

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HAPPY FOURTH of JULY!

4 of July

As we celebrate our country’s freedom today, here is an interesting take on the concept of independence as a Christian trait. My brother, the Reverend Dennis Marquardt, preached a sermon on the spiritual difference between independence versus interdependence. One of these concepts is more a mark of our spiritual walk. 

 

The 4th of July always reminds us of our freedom as a people. It is a great celebration of independence. Unfortunately, this word “independence” has come to mean something that our forefathers never meant it to mean. Today it means “no one tells me what to do, I can do whatever I want, and I’m INDEPENDENT.” To our forefathers however, the idea of INDEPENDENCE was more like INTERDEPENDENCE.

This is also true spiritually. One of the reasons American Christianity is in trouble today is because we have a false idea of what it means to be a Christian. We think being a Christian is like being an American … we are independent, we don’t answer to anyone but God (although actually if this were true we would not be independent, we would be interdependent), and no one can tell us what to do, and attending a church or being a member of one is optional.

The Bible NEVER supports the idea that we are supposed to be independent! Actually, this is the concept of EVIL! Satan got Eve to think and act INDEPENDENTLY from God and her husband — sin resulted! Satan himself acted INDEPENDENTLY from God and it was his downfall … the drive for independence is built on a foundation of sin and evil!

The Bible teaches INTERDEPENDENCE … we are not alone, and we don’t grow alone … we are built together as a Holy Temple, upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. Nothing good happens spiritually with independent Christians … it is a contradiction in terms! There is no power in being independent.

 

For the full sermon, go to SermonSearch online

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