Graciousness

3 Gs For A Better Life : Gratitude, Graciousness and Generosity ...

Today I came across a post by Jim martin. Here is what he said are the 10 qualities of graciousness.

A gracious person is slow to take credit and quick to lavish praise. 

A gracious person never seeks to embarrass another. Humiliating another is not in this person’s vocabulary.  (And
please don’t say something that humiliates another and then try to escape responsibility by saying, “I was only joking.”)
A gracious person is always thanking others.  Do you go through an entire day without thanking another? 

A gracious person doesn’t monopolize the conversation. Someone else has something to offer.
A gracious person doesn’t try to play one-upmanship. (That’s nothing, you should have seen what I did!”) 

A gracious person pays attention to people. Sometimes people come away from such conversations saying, “He made me feel like I was the most important person at that moment.”
A gracious person desires to say what is appropriate. He doesn’t just say what is on his mind or whatever he might be thinking. (There is no redeeming value in emptying one’s mind of whatever fleeting thought has happened to land at the moment.)

A gracious person looks out for the comfort of others.<!–
A gracious person understands that she is not indispensable. You’ve
seen this person.  She desires constant attention.  She has a way of
constantly focusing most any conversation back on herself.  There is a
humility in realizing that you are dispensable. A gracious person constantly points out the good that he sees  “Would you like a cup of coffee?  What about a coke?  Can I get you a newspaper while I’m out?”

A gracious person looks for the good.  Maybe
you are visiting a friend who lives in another place.  Instead of
pointing out the inadequacies of your friend’s community, you are
constantly finding things that are good.  “This cafe has outstanding
peach pie!  That was delicious.”  “I just love the way you have planted
your garden.  It is beautiful!” 

That’s a great list! What else would I add?

Gracious people are gracious to everyone regardless of what they’ve done. They have an innate ability to make the day of other people better. People have needs including respect, being highly valued, feeling important, and conversing with others. They are slow to get frustrated, angry, or make assumptions but quick to love, interact, invite, elevate, and be a blessing to others through their words and deeds. Being warm, welcoming, elevating others, making others comfortable, being easy to talk to, being open to talk to, and thinking the best of others are great qualities for a gracious person to have. Gracious people will make your day better; you’ll look forward to meeting them and interacting with them.

Do you have any other thoughts on the quality of being gracious? I’d love to hear your comments.

 

 

 

Gossip

gossip

“I have never seen adultery send a whole church into meltdown. Gossip is perceived as a little sin but it destroys church.” -Unknown

Wow. What a statement. I’m not sure who wrote that but that woke me up. Gossip can be seen as an accepted sin in any community. And the fact is that it is accepted. The problem is that sin is sin and there’s no such thing as a sin that is accepted. We need to repent! I’ve even heard gossip about people that are passionate about scripture, posting verses, on fire for God. We need more of that. We don’t need more passive men but people that are on a holy pursuit of righteousness and character.

Why do I feel a need to write about Gossip?

I’m concerned about the unity of the church. I’m concerned that this particular sin is justified and accepted. I need a review of this. It’s a communal effort and I think we need a good understanding of the implications. What is Gossip and how do we handle it?

Definition-

Gossip is speaking against someone that you would never say to their face. (Speaking negatively against someone and running their reputation.) It has an inverse relationship to flattery.

Flattery- Saying something to someone that you would never say behind their back. It’s telling someone nice things that aren’t true.

What are some implications of Gossip?

  1. At the core of Gossip is a sense to lift yourself up and put someone else down. We feel a sense of superiority over another person.
  2. Sows distrust among people
  3. Harms our spiritual witness and faith. How can someone trust you with the Word of God and what He says when you are gossiping all the time?
  4. Destroys your integrity- Gossips are perceived as having worse characters. If someone gossips about others, they are likely gossiping about you.
  5. Harms or ends friendships
  6. Ruins reputations

From Midwestern Seminary:

  • Gossip is a sly and sneaky sin that can destroy the unity of a church.
  • Gossip points to self importance; ministry and service point to the importance of others.
  • There is never a time when gossip helps or builds up.
  • Once gossip is out about someone, it’s hard to correct it if it’s false.
  • Gossip not only hurts the reputation of the subject, but of those who pass it on as well.
  • If someone gossips about someone to you, they’d likely gossip about you to someone else.
  • Gossip is a very evil and destructive force within the church.
  • Churches should have an environment of trust that does not allow for gossip.
  • Every church covenant should address gossip.

Gossip has the power to damage careers, ministry, and families. How can we respond in a Godly with Gossip?

Think. Are you part of the problem or solution? If not it’s gossip. Are you listening to a gossiper? That’s a form of gossip because you are saying you are ok with the gossip. That you have an attentive ear to what they are saying. Shut it down.

Play the role of advocate- stick up for the defenseless person in the conversation- the person not in the room. Say something good about them or like we don’t have all the facts.

What is our typical response when someone hurts or offends us? We tell 10 friends and gossip about them, ruining their reputation. I think the correct response is to solve the problem with that particular person instead of damaging their reputation. If we can’t still work it out, go to the elders.

Last things

Talking about someone really has two options. We can say words that are life giving or life depleting. We can begin to see Gossip as facts when they are actually only rumors. We can look at a person through the lens of the gossip or through the lens of scripture. We can start assuming things about people including their motivations for everything they do. It’s not healthy and it’s never edifying.

How do you respond to the person being gossiped about?

Maybe you see this person in real life. There are rumors going around. We need to love this person. I think true love starts with the mind. When you engage in conversations with this person, what are you thinking? Are you thinking about the gossip or just trying to love this person genuinely? Are you maintaining eye contact and expressing body language that suggests genuine interest in this person or are you being cold and disregarding your brother? Do you look down on this person? What is your motivation for engaging with this person? Yes, we need to have unity in the church but that isn’t the ultimate motivation. The motivation  is a genuine love for beleivers and unbelievers. Its about forming love into our character as a pattern of life because of the Gospel. Its about sanctification and setting an example for others to follow. We have a responsibility to love others well through our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have a responsibility to care about the unity of the church. Lets get back to treating gossip as a serious sin and love as an essential responsibility.

Where’s the Line Between Helpful Info-Sharing and Office Gossip?

Counseling Well

 

 

 

biblical counseling.png

I love getting counsel and trying to understand how to live life better. I’ve had the opportunity to be counseled from different students fulfilling their clinical practice requirement at the university they attend. I’ve received good counsel and bad counsel from people I consider Godly; probably better men than me. In the future, I want to make sure I can counsel well and help others counsel well. Below are a few observations of how we should counsel well that I’ve learned throughout the years-

1) Focus on what they are doing right

Our brothers and sisters should be doing something right. I mean, if they are true Christians, they will be producing fruit of some kind. We can encourage them in how they are loving others well, serving in the church, etc. Counseling can seem like such a formal process sometimes. What a blessing it would be to do it with someone you consider a dear friend.

2) Don’t make assumptions

It’s easy to make assumptions about other people. Sometimes, we tend to make the biggest assumptions about people we barely even know; people we have almost never talked to. We draw conclusions about others based on rumors and inaccurate information. It happens all the time. I’d encourage everyone and myself to be careful with our words and draw on the facts that you know for sure. And if the facts lead you to believe something sinful about that person, we can encourage that person with the Word of God. Even through the trials of life, we need to have an attitude of encouragement. We are all sinners and we need each other. Be that person to encourage others.

3) Empathy and Selfishness

When someone expresses a desire of theirs, we can automatically say that they are selfish, sinful, and prideful. While this may be true, I think there is a time and place for that. People need empathy and want to feel like someone understands where they are coming from. Below are some characteristics of empathy that I feel are important really not just for counseling but for relationships in general:

Characteristics of Empathy

1.  validate

People need their feelings validated. They need to hear that they aren’t alone and that you can see where they are coming from.

Example: If someone tells you that they are sad because of situation x, it’s important to show them you care and see where they are coming from. Saying something like I’ve been in situation x and have never been sad because of situation x is focusing on yourself. We have to remember that just because we experienced a certain situation and felt a certain way doesn’t mean that it can affect another person a different way. You can validate how someone feels even if you don’t necessarily feel the same way in that particular situation.

2. Attitude

Although it seems simple, I know that godly people can get frustrated with other peoples sin. Our attitude needs to convey that of someone that wants to talk to that person, is there for them, and genuinely wants the best for them. In the best counseling situations I’ve experienced, I leave feeling like the person cares, has empathy, and has directed me toward the Word of God to see my sin. That is quite a skill and is hard to implement! Sometimes its easy to think that counseling is about fixing the other person with God’s Word. But it’s not. It’s about loving the other person with the Word of God and realizing that there really isn’t anything we can do to fix that person. We can influence their heart but ultimately, only God can fix that person and that person’s heart.

4) Getting Counsel

I highly encourage people seeking counsel to focus on getting counsel from older leaders in the church and not their peers; even if they are on staff. I do believe that young people can have great things to say and can have lots of wisdom. However, I also know that young people haven’t experienced a lot of things in life that older people have. Sometimes, older leaders in the church have been through more counseling situations and will have a better perspective on the topic.

5) Make definitive plans and follow up

Sometimes the person getting counseled needs a date to follow up on. We need to see how they are doing and get a better picture of the situation later on. Make the sacrifice and spend a little bit of time with this person and be a blessing.

Conclusion

I’m just making observations. I believe that if people I consider very godly can make some of these mistakes, I’m prone to make these mistakes too and I probably have. I hope  that in the future I can help counsel well in all contexts whether that be with friends, in the church, or with my wife if God provides one. All for the glory of God and His name.

 

 

What it means to be man

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Cor. 13:11).

Emotional health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated. It is impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. – Peter Scazzero

becoming a man

Abandoning Childish Ways

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, we are called toward abandoning our childish ways. We move on the spectrum of love from an immature love toward a mature love that emulates Christ. Our love is tested most when we go through trials. When we don’t get when we want. When someone offends us. It is in these circumstances that we navigate conflict resolution and have the opportunity to exemplify the agape, sacrificial love we are called to live out. And that’s wisdom. Wisdom is skillfully living out the principles of the Bible in daily living. We are not perfect, and we never will be. But we can move right on the spectrum of mature love and influence others as we emulate the principles we have learned.

english long bowman

Proverb 127:4 Like Arrows

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children[a] of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate

How does this passage relate to 1 Corinthians:11? We have partly been shaped by our parents. They are the archers and we are the arrows. However, even if they aim right at the target, they have to have a good arrow for the target to be hit. One writer described the parts of the arrow like this:

Shaft- Identity

Feathers/fletching- Character

Nook- Relationships

Point-Mission

It is only through God’s grace that we can achieve the instrumental parts of the arrow to hit the target. The arrow needs to be released at some point with full force so that it can reach it’s full potential. It is when the arrow (maybe around age 18) that we move from dependence on parents to independence and more dependence on God. It is the start of adulthood physically but the real test of manhood and womanhood has just begun. True men and women have embraced the love their parents have taught them and live it out. They have gone from an immature love to a mature love that is sacrificial and thinks of others first. As the arrow swiftly flies through air, the goal becomes closer and closer. The shaft, fletching, nook, and point will determine where the arrow will land.

When does a boy become a man?

Interesting question. A person can be a man physically but spiritually and emotionally be a boy. Albert M. Gives a good description of when a boy becomes a man in these areas. The link is below.

http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/boy-to-man.pdf

 

 

 

Loving Well

Christian Love.png

Sources: Ligonier.com

1 Corinthians: 13

Priority of Love

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1).

Love is everything. Without love, we are nothing. Christians are defined by love. It is out of love that we are saved, for God loved us so much that he sent His son. Christ loved the Father to the point of death and obedience. He came here to do the Father’s will even when it cost him his life. Without love, we are nothing. In all aspects of life, in deed, conduct, speech, thoughts, we are to love others out of a thankfulness of the heart. Out of a new desire brought about by the love of the Father. When we learn to love well, we witness to the world of the message that has changed us. Everything flows from love including obedience and prayer. It is out of a love for God, love for people, and love of the Word that we grow in our spiritual walk. God is love, Christians love. When we love well, we live out our calling set before us.

1 Corinthians 13 Love

Selfless Love

“Love is patient and kind … it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful” (1Cor. 13:4-5).

Four aspects of love stand out here. Love is:

Patient and kind, not arrogant or rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful.

  1. Is patient and kind

-True love is generous, thinking of others first. It’s sacrificially giving to others what we want to hold on to. How often do we tend to think of ourselves first and not the good of others?

2. Is not arrogant or rude

Love understands that all of our abilities come from God. We can love others by truly trying to understand someone’s perspective. Respecting others with our thoughts and conduct can go a long way. How quickly do we tend to want to cut people off because we have something more important to say? It’s a love of respect.

3. Does not insist on its own way

Love thinks of others first isn’t demanding in doing things one particular way. Love is open to communication and talking things through.

4. Is not irritable or resentful

Love is not emotionally out of control. A person who loves is able to control his emotions well.

Questions to think through:

How do we go from  selfishness to a selfless love?

Which of these areas am I doing well in and which can I work on?

Knowing how to love is helpful. A lot of times I feel like I just read the word love and not know how to start. I’m glad there is direction in this chapter on how to love well. Love is the essence of the Christian life and the virtue that propels us most toward Godliness.  We are God’s instruments that can be used for his purposes and his Glory. We effectively make deposits in people’s lives day in and day out because we love Him. To live well is to love well. Every day. Because without love we are nothing. But with love we are something. In the eyes of God.