Peace & Perspective

Living in Peace by having the right perspective. Peace – ˈpēs Noun: Freedom from strife; a state of tranquillity or serenity. Perspective – per·spec·tive – pərˈspektiv – Noun: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.


Leave a comment

Karma is not for Christians

I always cringe when I see Christians posting on Karma. Karma has nothing to do with God. Karma is a theological concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. That fact alone should make Christians run but why do I see so many Christians wishing “Karma” on others or seeking any form of revenge?

First, as Christians, Karma is the last thing we should want on those who have betrayed or hurt us. Sure, our flesh may want revenge and for them to feel the same pain they caused us, but as Christians, we are to die to our flesh and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us with humility. Once you do that, your flesh takes a back seat and the Holy Spirit takes over and you begin to recognize the root cause of the lost soul who hurt you and how desperately they are in need of healing and prayer.

The Holy Spirit within us prompts our hearts to want the best for others – despite… Despite the pain they’ve caused, despite the betrayal, despite the unfairness. This is a great test to see where our level of spiritual maturity is. Wishing revenge or karma on someone who’s hurt you is a telltale sign of the level of your spiritual maturity.

  • Those with no spiritual maturity will wish karma and seek revenge upon those who have hurt them and will be at peace with that decision.
  • Those who are infants in spiritual maturity will wish karma and revenge on others but will feel that Holy Spirit nudge and know it’s not right to wish revenge on anyone and do their best to withdraw from these feelings.
  • Those who are growing in their spiritual maturity will reluctantly but obediently pray for the best outcome for those who have hurt or betrayed them. It’s difficult for them but they still do it and in doing it, they continue to grow spiritually and God rewards them for their obedience in giving them peace in the matter.
  • And lastly, those who are fully spiritual mature will have an automatic instinct to pray for someone that has wronged them and their heart will hurt for them because they have the discernment to know how badly they are in need of saving and inner healing that can only come from prayer and intercession. There is no wish to do them harm and all they desire is to see them healed and whole again. Because someone who is healed and whole cannot and does not hurt others.

Scripture is very clear that if we are walking the path of righteousness – not our righteousness but His, God will always vindicate us. I find comfort knowing that He knows my heart and my intentions always and I don’t have to explain anything to Him because He already knows and I can rest in that.

Patiently waiting for God to vindicate us means we must trust in His timing and that is very difficult. It means He alone will bring truth to light and expose darkness without any effort from us.

We must remain obedient and silent, not seeking to vindicate ourselves while we wait. We must understand and recognize that through the waiting, He is doing a work in everyone involved, including us and by being obedient, He will vindicate those who are walking in His righteousness and He alone will deal with those who are not. This brings me peace.

Once you have reached this peaceful realization that the bad behavior of others has nothing to do with you (assuming you’ve done some self-reflection and have owned your part of any conflict), give it to God and just wait. Soon peace will come, not by wishing punishment on whoever hurt you, but because you know a greater power is in charge of the situation and you can finally let go of all the exhausting effort in vindicating yourself. By waiting, trusting, and handing it over to God, you’ll not only receive righteous vindication, but it will be the sweetest form of justice you will ever receive without one bit of effort from you.

Take it from me because this is where I am now, receiving Godly favor in all areas of my life. Be sure to recognize what vindication may look like…sometimes it’s not as obvious as you have envisioned it. Vindication may be good health, good fortune, wonderful children, a blessed marriage, peaceful and joyful living, restoration of your reputation, or the emergence of new, Godly friends. Just be sure to recognize the blessings in your life…they are God’s favor for your obedience.

Psalm 17:2
Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.

Romans 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! If this blog has helped in any way, please share with others.


Leave a comment

Rejected Reconciliation – What next?

This is a post that I’ve been looking to find somewhere else. I’ve been searching for answers to this burning question I’ve had for years: What if you know you’ve done everything in your power to resolve a conflict and still receive brutal rejection from a bully who wants to control even the outcome of a reconciliation?

I’ve sat through countless sermons on forgiveness and reconciliation. I’ve read God’s Word and am quite knowledgeable about His instructions on the matter. I honestly know it like the back of my hand. I fully understand it yet throughout each teaching I’ve heard, I always sit there on the edge of my seat, waiting for the part that instructs you on what to do when you’ve done all those things and are still up against a brick wall with someone.

That is the sermon I want to hear. That is the blog I want to read. That is the information I am searching for. I want to hear it from someone else. I want to read it from another perspective.

I have my thoughts on what to do in this scenario and since I can’t find anything on this topic, I’m going to go ahead answer my own question.

So, I am a bible believing Christian. I believe we are to be obedient to God’s Word in everything. I do my best to try to follow his Word. I am a Christian. That doesn’t translate to I am perfect. At least not for me. Some Christians, however, may feel this way, thus giving the rest of us a bad reputation.

I’ve learned a lot throughout my journeys. I was not always in tune with everything in God’s Word, but I always had deep solid convictions which always kept me on the right path. I’ve made mistakes but always came back to what I knew to be true about being obedient to God.

So, back to my question. What happens when you’ve done everything biblically correct? You’ve extended grace and mercy in such a way that you consciously put your own painful feelings aside from someone who has hurt you so deeply it has left a permanent scar on your brain because you know deep down inside that you are to do what is right in God’s eyes – not your own eyes. Pushing through your damaged psyche at the works of someone else’s hands and yet finding the grace to still reach out and attempt to wipe the slate clean in the spirit of peace and you are still met with a brand new fueled retaliation, an even more controlling and condescending tone from a verbally abusive bully.

Here’s my answer. It’s not me, it’s them. Plain and simple. I’ve wracked my brain over and over again trying to find answers as to why and how and everything in between. It’s very very simple. It was never about me.

Someone who refuses true peace and resolution from a humble and open heart clearly has some deep rooted issues of their own and it is no reflection on me. Someone who would rather defiantly hold their ground and refuses to compromise in any way as a demonstration of power shows how weak one really is. One who has a philosophy of “my way or no way” and equates peace to I rather be alone than abide by your stupid rules of mutual respect and kindness ends up on an island and a very lonely life. When allowed, bitterness will consume you and drive your reckless decisions and lead you to self-destruction.

Pride goes before a fall my friends and I am witnessing it before my very eyes. While it’s quite sad watching as someone continually makes poor decisions with a rebellious spirit of “I’ll do what I want!” it is so necessary and important to remove yourself as part of the equation because it has nothing to do with you. Stop taking other people’s poor behavior personally. You are not the issue. You never were. EVER!

With each ugly encounter I endured, I began to see more and more that it was never about me. With each act of humility I demonstrated toward peace that was brutally rejected, I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. With each act of kindness I attempted from my heart that was brutally dismissed and mocked, the light became brighter and brighter.

If I fought, acted in the same manner, stooped to the hellish level of ugly I had been provoked to do, I would never know the depth of the issue that I had been dragged into. I would be part of the problem. But I never was, because I never stooped that low.

It took my acts of utmost humility for me to understand exactly what I was dealing with all along. Had I not had such humility in my efforts, I may have never understood the complexity of the darkness I was dealing with.

MAN! That statement above is so powerful and as I typed, it just effortlessly flowed out of me, it is a revelation of which I am so incredibly in awe of! It’s the answer to all my questions!

The reason I know this for sure is because I see the polarizing differences in our lives. My life is filled with blessing galore. Outside of a nasty conflict that we never wanted, tried to avoid and resolve for four years and never have been involved in anything even resembling the darkness we encountered with someone who has a continual flow of chaos and turmoil in their life, we are blessed with a very stable, peaceful life. We are not only blessed in the worldly realm but spiritually as well, which is most important. My family, children, and marriage all have God’s hands in them and that alone is proof that humility and obedience get rewarded.

It took me a long time to get here and I’m finally here. Healing. Not healed, because it’s a process but I’m on my way with a renewed mind.

Now, I want to take the lessons I learned and I want to desperately help all of you out there who have been wounded by mean-spirited people or by narcissistic sociopaths, and tell you it was never about you. Don’t allow anyone to change who you are because they have bitterness and hate in their heart. Don’t allow anyone to control, demean, belittle, verbally abuse and bully you – stand up and have a voice even if you are standing alone.

It is possible to be graceful and merciful and obedient to God while still standing up and demanding respect for yourself. Never stoop to a level that is beneath you. That’s on them, not you. God will vindicate the righteous – those that are obedient to his instructions.

Humility and obedience will get rewarded. Have patience for it to be revealed in your life as you continue to live in this manner. Any small kind act that is difficult for you to do toward someone who is not deserving is an act of humility and God will see it. You will be rewarded for it if you have a heart for doing what is right and not doing what you want and feel.

I am living proof of one who has walked in obedience when it was difficult and am seeing God’s blessing throughout my life. His promises are real and true!

Author’s Request: I’d really like to get more traffic on this blog and really need your assistance. If you find this blog to be helpful and insightful, please consider sharing it to your Facebook/Twitter, or other social media. If any of you are members of Facebook pages that deal with this topic, please post a link to this blog so I can reach more people. Thank you in advance for helping me attempt to help others who have been or are going through painful times in their lives.

Psalm 135:14
For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 29:23
One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

James 4:6
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.


1 Comment

The Power of Hate. The Power of Love.

I cannot ever remember a time I was filled with such hate that it changed the course of my entire life. That it would be the sole driving force for all my decisions and the basis on which I live my life. I cannot remember because hate has never dominated my life.

But, I have witnessed how hate can destroy, divide, and blind those consumed by it.

I cannot imagine a hate so great that it would propel my pride to a level where no one else matters anymore but myself. A hate that demonstrates how I should react when I don’t get my way and/or how I should respond to those who do not see things like I do. A hate that hinders me from assessing my very own actions. That it would be so prevalent that it would seethe within me, take root, rule my emotions and dictate my every decision. A hate so deep that it would plummet me into a pit of darkness and blind me to the reality of the outcome of all my choices. A hate that instigates conflict, vulgarity and impulsive fits of rage without accountability. A hate so powerful it convinces me that my hate is good and love and peace are bad. That my hate would lead me to believe that not only am I entitled to it but that it is justified at any cost. And finally, that my hate is so consuming that Satan actually whispers in my ear that I am happy and at peace in my hate and I wholeheartedly believe it.

With a hate so encompassing, I would hope that I would fearfully ask, “Who is the source fueling this hatred within me and where is this power coming from?” You don’t need biblical wisdom to know that hate does not come from God. God is perfect love. This only leaves one other entity from which hate is derived. This dark power is very pleased watching as hate continues to be fed, justified, and projected all while dragging it’s victim into a deeper, darker pit that is inescapable without God’s intervention, the intercession of prayer, and deliverance from this bondage.

John 8:44
….when he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

In love, there is light, hope, and a future. Love is an open door. Love makes you grateful, thankful and empathetic. It wishes the best for others. Love promotes peace and harmony and strives for resolution and reconciliation. Love puts others first. Love shows mercy. Love requests, not demands. Love doesn’t control, it grants freedom. Love repairs relationships and unites.

In hate, there is darkness, despair, and no future. Hate is a closed door. Hate is engulfed in chaos and turmoil. Hate is bitterness and resentment. It is envious of others. Hate is selfish. Hate refuses to compromise and refuses peace. Hate controls, manipulates and dictates. Hate breaks relationships and divides.

Untitled

The power of love is so much greater and offers so much more. Love can only be attained through humility whereas hate is derived from pride. Love and peace come from all things good. God is the source of love and peace. If you are serving God, you know peace and love. You are led by the Holy Spirit through convictions on how to react, respond and behave. The exact opposite can be said for hate. If you are serving Satan, hate is all you know. Hate comes from darkness. The powers of darkness too can lead your way of life. The more you feed these powers of darkness, the stronger the dark power will be over you. You feed darkness by your disobedience to God, your pride, ungodly choices and/or lifestyle, and what is in your heart. These are just a few things that open the door to Satan’s power in your life. And yes, you can and will open a door to Satan into your life by your choices. The same with God…you can receive his abundant blessings if you choose to follow Him and be obedient to His Word. It’s that simple.

James 4:7
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Hate comes from brokenness and many times it is a reflection of the realization of the emptiness and pain in one’s life. It helps justify denial. Healthy people strive for resolution and have no room for hate in their lives. Hateful people want to remain where they are. Hating someone is never a healthy result of a conflict. Communication, resolution, and ultimately true peace should be the goal.

tumblr_myf09sAeGF1s1tzoio1_500.jpg

Love can be very difficult at times and it requires much prayer and discipline. If someone has caused you pain, love will not come naturally from our flesh. Love is driven by the Holy Spirit within you and only through prayer. Hate is very easy. Hate requires nothing but our selfish, fleshly desire to serve ourselves and driven by the powers of darkness.

1 Peter 4:8
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins

How do you love someone who has caused great pain? This cannot and will not be achieved on our own. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us to forgiveness. We must remember that God grants mercy to the undeserving, and that would be you and me. Though difficult, we must do the same.

Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

James 2:13
Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

The Bible. It’s filled with wisdom and keeps me in line. If you are asking yourself, where do I begin in reading the Bible? Proverbs and Psalms are filled with wisdom and guidance on how we should live our lives. If you’re seeking wisdom, you will find it. Once you are finished with those, you will have a thirst for more and God will lead you.

We all have a choice between being loving or hateful. It all depends on what force we allow to rule our life…goodness or evil. It’s our free will to choose, but all our choices come with consequences, either here on earth or eternally. I choose goodness and I choose God. No one will ever have such power over me as to make me disobey and turn my back on the God of my many blessings. This is not accomplished through my own efforts, because if it was, I’d fail miserably. It is only attainable through God’s grace and mercy which He has bestowed upon me so that I may bestow it upon others. I am undeservingly forgiven every day, through a great price that Jesus paid for me…and for you. I must make an effort, with His help, to do the same.

 


Leave a comment

The High Road

“The high road” is a very misused and misunderstood declaration by many during and after conflicts. Unfortunately, many do not seem to fully understand the real meaning of it. The very act of claiming to take the high road is not the high road!

Broadcasting what is supposed to be a very selfless act is really just a desire to appear better than someone else. The mere act of broadcasting it completely invalidates it. An insatiable need to tell everyone that you took the high road in a situation is a premeditated mission to make the other person look bad. You are expecting to receive admiration and praise from others for your “good deed” and are even hoping that others will side with you and turn against the other party because you are so admirable. And certainly, posting that you took the high road on Facebook or any other social media outlet is the exact opposite of the high road. To anyone with a genuine heart and a standard of true ethics, this declaration made by you is completely transparent and portrays who you really are and what you are really trying to accomplish.

To those who feed into your desperate need for attention and admiration at your attempt to boast about your integrity, they are just as ignorant in their response. Comments are sure to consist of and insinuate negativity about the other party all while inflating your ego as they elaborate about how wonderful of a person you are doing exactly what you had hoped. Sadly, they also do not understand the true meaning of the high road or integrity for that matter.

Taking the high road is an unspoken, humble, and selfless stance in a conflict. It does not come from anger or sass. It has no pride. It is not an avenue of control or belittling someone else. It is not for the admiration or praise of others. It has no malice behind it. It doesn’t seek to hurt anyone or to make ourselves appear better than anyone else. It has nothing to do with anyone but you and your true integrity. It means you don’t contribute to a conflict and morally choose to do what is right. You remain peaceful and surrender so as not to escalate a conflict further and make every attempt at peace, reconciliation and compromise. It is not done out of superiority. It is a genuine act of remaining hopeful that the conflict will be resolved at some point and you sincerely want the best for everyone involved. It means you are willing to work toward resolution and peace. There is no anger, hate or vengeance involved and there is absolutely no smearing of or attempts to make the other person appear like the villain and you the saint. When you truly have taken the high road, no words are necessary for others to see your true character. “You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-19

In summation, the high road is a selfless act of choosing the morally correct response in the name of peace and reconciliation without having to advertise to anyone how wonderful you are. You quietly surrender and allow your life be a reflection of who you are and the ethics in which you live by. You pray for peace in the conflict and are willing and ready to resolve it understanding that you may either have to take accountability for your actions and apologize or extend grace and forgiveness.  That my friends is the high road!

If more people truly took the high road, imagine the conflicts that could be resolved, the feelings that could be spared, and the peace that would result.

Matthew 7:16-19

16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, by their fruits, you will know them.

 

Have you misunderstood or misused what the true meaning of the high road really is? Have you intentionally declared taking the high road only for the admiration and praise of others all while attempting to belittle someone in the process? Has this perspective helped you so that you can better respond to future conflicts, truly take the high road and work toward peace?

I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below and share your perspective. If this has been helpful, please consider sharing and following my blog. 


1 Comment

Conflict

Conflict. Cultural differences. Injustice. We’ve all experienced them.

Conflicts are draining. Some more than others. Some are able to be resolved quickly and amicably with no future repercussions and no scars left behind. Others drag on infinitely and are brutal. Some are one time deals, others seem to crop up more frequently. It all depends on who is involved. I once heard a saying, “If Susan has a problem with Bob, and Matt has a problem with Bob, and Jim has a problem with Bob, then its sounds like the problem is Bob.” Now that’s a pretty clear perspective.

No one is exempt from conflict. Whether it is on the job, between friends, in the family, or even out in the world minding your own business interacting with people, conflict is sure to arise at some point. Those who are rude, arrogant, selfish, or superior, rightfully offend us.

Did you know you have a choice of how to respond to a conflict contrary to your instinctive reactions to participating in it and making it worse?

Seems like a silly question, but I think that many of us feel that when conflict arises we must initially fight back at the same level, contribute to the nastiness, and participate in the escalation. How refreshing to know that we don’t have to do this.

We all have a choice as to how we respond to conflict and what the final outcome of any conflict will ultimately be. We either contribute to the nastiness of the conflict or we can seek to resolve it. Sometimes, we simply must remove ourselves from conflicts entirely when we see no possible resolution and we’ve done everything we can to attain peace.  That’s when we walk away to find our own peace.

We are either a fighter or a resolver in a conflict. Those who are fighters, impulsively react in anger only escalating the conflict. They aren’t looking for a resolution, that’s not on their agenda. They only want to display their anger, dictate demands and cause chaos. They want to control the situation.

Resolvers assess the situation and try to find common ground in order to resolve the conflict. Resolvers try to reason with the initiator of the conflict doing everything in their power to avoid it and fix it. You can’t reason with a fighter. They just want to fight.

Should you be lucky enough to be in a conflict with another resolver, then there will be no drama and no ugliness. The conflict will quickly conclude with both parties reaching peace with each other, happily putting it behind them and consciously considering each other’s feelings in the future cultivating a path of growing a healthy relationship and working on any flaws together. Ah, normality!

The initial onset of a conflict arises when one person begins to question or control another’s behavior or viewpoint. Sometimes it’s justifiable. Other times, it’s unwarranted. Unwarranted conflicts are when the “pot stirrers” find a problem with everything, are eternal victims, never happy, don’t respect anyone else’s viewpoint, have no accountability for their actions and have a sense of entitlement. They practice no self-control with their anger, want to control everything, and things turn ugly fast. These are the conflicts that cannot be resolved and you must walk away from them in order for you to find peace.

Times when conflicts are necessary include feeling like we are being taken advantage of, disrespected, controlled, or otherwise being treated unfairly. This prompts us to confront the offender. I would imagine everyone who initiates conflict feels this way. Two points: 1) Resolvers confront issues. Fighters start a conflict. There is a huge difference. 2) This statement presumes that one’s perspective of these situations is a reasonable and an accurate assessment of an offense. Expectations of preferential treatment and entitlement are not reasonable assessments. The norms in which society is expected to behave are considered reasonable here.

Once that confrontation takes place, it can go one of two ways depending on the parties involved. Acknowledging the wrong behavior, apologizing, and vowing to correct the behavior in the spirit of reconciliation and harmony, or it can turn into an ugly retaliation consisting of ultimatums, accusations, and more disrespectful behavior.

Not all confrontations need to be conflicts. Two rational, mature adults airing their differences can come to a compromising resolution if they both desire it. One person cannot do this alone. There have to be two people involved in a resolution. Two people who respect the other’s point of view and care enough about each other to resolve the issue. It’s impossible to move on without resolution after a conflict and not have resentment. This resentment will only result in future conflicts. No psychiatric degree needed for this conclusion.

In normal conflicts, people eventually cool down and assess the situation and truly want to come to a resolution. In situations that escalate due to the unwillingness to resolve issues and any attempts at peace is not a conflict, its control, and manipulation.

I surround myself with those who want peace and resolution in conflict, understand that differences of opinions will arise and know it’s not a cause for hateful revenge. My “circle” is filled with genuine people who seek to nip issues in the bud and resolve them as soon as possible. For us, conflicts eat away at our soul. They play over and over in our mind and we obsess about making it right. We have an uneasy and unsettling feeling in our being that we want to eliminate so we resolvers do anything we can to make peace – up to a point.

Fighters will continue the conflict, at any cost. They simply don’t care who they hurt along the way or the destruction they cause and refuse to compromise or take accountability, projecting all the blame in order to come out looking “right” or the one who has been wronged and making the other person look crazy. Why would one choose to be around this behavior? Walk away and have peace.

Conflict resolution is very simple and can be attained by two healthy individuals. Rationally talking things out in a calm manner, learning, understanding, and respecting the other’s viewpoints, taking accountability, and coming to an amicable agreement on how to move forward is not that difficult. Pride and stubbornness will always hinder a resolution. Anyone not willing to make these simple efforts truly does not want to resolve issues and reconcile. There will never be peace in these situations and it is highly likely that another conflict is just around the corner with people like this. Cut your losses and live in peace.

Are you a fighter or a resolver in a conflict? Do you recognize any of the traits listed above in yourself? Are you willing to admit that you could do better in conflicts, resolve them sooner and without being so harsh? Or are you the resolver who has done everything you can to resolve a conflict and have been rejected at every attempt at peace? Did you learn anything new from my perspective on conflicts? If so, please share your comments and consider following my blog. Stay tuned for my next blog, Taking the High Road, Part 1, followed by Taking The High Road, Part 2,  A list of do’s and don’ts for truly taking the high road in conflicts.