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.


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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.


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Drop The Rope!

In a previous blog of mine, “Conflict,” (https://peaceperspectiveblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/conflict/) I wrote: “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 in order for our viewpoint to be heard. How refreshing to know that we don’t have to do this.”

Before I even heard the term, “drop the rope,” at times, I was already doing it without being aware of the concept.

However, at times I didn’t drop the rope. I felt compelled to continue on with battles filled with utter nonsense. Battles which should have never been battles to begin with and I fought them until the point of mental exhaustion. Years ago, I was completely unaware of the diabolical dynamics of each bizarre encounter I was engaged in. My mind could not, would not, and still does not process the level of insanity of which I had to reason with. Each encounter left me baffled and emotionally drained.

In my futile attempt to comprehend why someone doesn’t understand the basic fundamentals of common sense, common courtesy, and basic human decency, I had an immense desire to do whatever I could to instill logic into an illogical situation. I kept playing till it made me crazy. I couldn’t understand why nothing ever got resolved despite offering every ounce of compromise, peace, and kindness in the spirit of reconciliation and unity.

Then…there came a day when the heavens opened, the light shined and everything became abundantly clear. I stumbled upon a friend’s Facebook post on narcissism and was curious and there it was! The very first article I read told me everything I needed to know and I finally learned what I was dealing with. When that moment hit, I knew once and for all that no matter what I did, what I said, or how I did anything, it was never going to be enough and I’d never win. That is when I learned to “drop the rope.”

In healthy relationships, dropping the rope is easy as neither side desires for a conflict or disagreement to escalate to the point that it threatens a friendship or relationship. Each side attempts to practice an innate self-control and would never overstep boundaries to intentionally hurt the other person. They are well aware that to begin verbally and personally attacking the other person with dialogue that has nothing to do with what is being discussed is completely unacceptable and will no doubt lead to dissension. They understand that whatever is being discussed is certainly not worth jeopardizing a friendship or relationship. Disagreements end when both sides respectfully agree to disagree and the moment is over. Notice I said respectfully agree to disagree. Ending a heated conversation with a series of demands, insults, threats, and punishment is not respectfully agreeing to disagree. It’s bullying.

In healthy relationships, both sides are subconsciously “dropping the rope” because it’s a natural instinct in good, decent people who do not want to fight and understand people are allowed to have a different viewpoint.

However, when you are involved in a conflict or disagreement with a toxic person, it is important that you quickly recognize when you are in a situation that is unresolvable. Not because you are unwilling to resolve issues, but the other party is unwilling. Their main goal is control and they refuse to respectfully accept your point of view while demonstrating authority over you.

So, what exactly is dropping the rope? It’s a beautiful mental tool to utilize when conflicts arise and how to keep yourself peaceful. Think of the old-school game of “tug of war.” If one team should “drop the rope” in the middle of the game, what happens? The game is over. In the case of tug of war, the team that dropped the rope loses. However, the exact opposite is the case when you drop the rope in any conflict. The person who drops the rope wins!

The concept of “dropping the rope” simply means you refuse to continue to engage in an argument that is bouncing back and forth with no end in sight. You assess the situation and determine that is not resolving and getting too heated. Rather than escalating the conflict further by continuing to contribute to it, you calmly diffuse the situation by changing the subject or ending the argument altogether. You do your part to achieve peace for both you and the other party.

Notice I said your goal is to achieve peace for both you and the other party. It’s not meant to be a demonstration of your dominance over the disagreement. When done correctly and lovingly, it is good for both parties. However, with an unhealthy person, even this will look like conflict as they manipulate your good intentions to peacefully end an argument with accusing you of something more sinister. This is confirmation that you are in a no win situation and now dropping the rope not only means ending the argument but departing from their company.

So yes! You are winning because by dropping the rope, you have just achieved peace for you regardless of whether or not the other party does their part in dropping the rope! You have sent a clear message that you wish to no longer engage in a conversation going nowhere and your relationship and your peace are more important that proving a point. You are wise enough to recognize the unreasonable nature of the other party to not accept opposing views and you are doing yourself a huge favor by ending your part in it.

If you dropping the rope and walking away for your peace makes them think they won, so be it! Make it a goal to get to the point where winning means you are secure in your convictions, you no longer need to provide extensive explanations for your beliefs and peace is your ultimate goal.

I wish I had paid more attention to the many red flags warning me things were not right long ago instead of justifying them. I didn’t understand the complexity of what I was dealing with and either tried to reason my way to resolution with each unique scenario to no avail or complied (submitted) for the sake of peace. Dropping the rope is not complying or submitting, it’s recognizing you’re in a no-win situation and your peace is more important.

So my friends, whether you are involved with a narcissist or merely stating your political opinions, when discussions begin to turn into verbal and personal attacks, everything you say is twisted into something you never intended and is now being used against, you are unable to defend your stance or attempt to shut down the most mind-boggling incomprehensible dialogue, do yourself a huge favor and drop the rope!


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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.


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Attempting Peace with a Narcissist

Right off the bat, forgive me for using a title for this new post that is an oxymoron. It’s a contradiction of words. Peace and Narcissist do not belong in the same sentence. It’s like they need their own paragraphs…perhaps even their own chapters; that’s how far away peace and narcissist are from each other.

How do you bring reason to an unreasonable situation? How do you insert logic into an illogical mind? How do you begin to rationalize with someone so irrational?

Encounters with a narcissist are dizzyingly incomprehensible. Each and every encounter leaves your mind baffled and confused as it repeatedly asks, “What just happened?”

How can one strategically attempt to craft the correct words and actions, pre-planning every step of the way so as not to offend or anger someone who believes their land of delusion is reality and still be brutally shot down because it was once again not sufficient enough to satisfy their domination over you?

You finally think you’ve arrived at the precisely chosen peaceful, loving, merciful walk-on-eggshell verbiage in order to approach an unapproachable person for no other goal than to try to resolve situations which derived from absolute nonsense to begin with provoked and instigated by an overbearing controlling bully with a wacked ideology, only to be met with a new round of more demands, more belittling, more demeaning, and more control.

I’m really not that slow of a learner but why don’t I know this yet? Ugh. I think this time I finally get it.

It’s not because I’m unintelligent. It’s because of how I do life. I give others another chance. I give others the benefit of the doubt. I try to find the good in the bad. It’s the mentality by which I live by.

Here’s the revelation I finally get. I am trying to apply social graces, civility, normality, logic, and rationale to someone who doesn’t grasp the most basic common sense behaviors and norms that stable, healthy members of society live by. Whew! That’s a relief. I get it!

Yes, I get it. However…I still can’t process it and it’s still dizzyingly incomprehensible to me.

Keep on doing what is right and that includes removing unresolvable toxic relationships once and for all.

lowerstandards


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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.