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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Garbage in, Garbage out

Many moons ago (that’s a very long time ago for anyone who might be a Millennial, Gen X or Gen Z) when I was employed at a law firm, brand new computers were being introduced to the staff. In order to use our new computer system, we had to have weeks of very thorough training and were tested throughout to confirm that we mastered not only the new terminology but all the new equipment and computer programs. We were not able to begin using the new computers unless we had a proven comprehensive understanding of our new system. That’s a law firm for you – and quite honestly, the way things should be done if you want efficiency in your employees and in your workplace. Invest in them and they will invest in you! Our firm was well known for its high standards, quality employees, and top-notch performance.

We had the privilege of being taught all we needed to know about the new system by one of the best in the computer industry. We began our training by learning the basics of DOS. Yep – that is how long ago this was (mid 80’s).

Our trainer or as he was known, a computer wizard, began day one of training by explaining how we should view the computer. He heavily impressed on us that the computer will only be as good as the information you put into it. In other words, the computer will be an invaluable asset if the one who programs it programs it with accurate information. However, the computer will be worthless and highly inefficient if the programmer inputs inaccurate data. Hence the term, “Garbage in, Garbage out.”

I absolutely loved this analogy as it was a concept I could immediately grasp. Thankfully, we never had to do much with DOS and went on to learn the programs we would be utilizing daily such as Word Perfect, Lotus, etc. (I’m really dating myself now!) and left the technical computer programming to our highly educated and skilled trainer.

The concept of “garbage in, garbage out” had a profound impact on me and it has stayed with me all these years but with a much deeper meaning. I often found myself reflecting on it through various circumstances and felt that it is a concept that can and should be applied to anything in our lives. If we applied this basic philosophy to every aspect of our lives, we would be so very careful about what we expose our mind, body, eyes, and ears to because everything we allow to enter our bodies will either have a positive or negative outcome in our lives.

 

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The Culture of Me

Selflessness. Self-sacrificing. Preferring others. Those are all foreign terms in today’s culture of “me”. Are you personally familiar with them?

We are in the throes of an ugly epidemic of a self-absorbed humanity. Unfortunately, it is only going to get worse as the Bible does indeed predict it in 2 Timothy 3:2-5.

2 Timothy 3:2-5

2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

It’s visible on the roadways with erratic, careless, and distracted driving and the soaring amount of road rage incidents. It’s commonplace now to inconsiderately cut people off in traffic, ride their bumpers and push them off the road in order to be first or faster. Driving defensively has never been more necessary than today. It’s no longer just being a careful driver obeying the traffic signs, speed limits, and laws of the road, but being alert to who’s going to cut me off, flip me off, or tell me off on the highway!

In public, at home, in the workplace and in relationships, people have an immense sense of entitlement, are too offended, and don’t forgive easily or at all. Our culture is dominated by people refusing to compromise, be adaptable, be flexible, or prefer someone above themselves. It’s why marriages, families, friendships, and relationships are all falling apart.

There is no end in sight to the culture of me, only further perpetuation of it. A personal, internal philosophy of “Me first!” or even worse, “You don’t matter!” is indicative of too much pride and not enough humility in one’s life. Perhaps it’s a lifetime of zero consequences and no accountability. Maybe it’s that everything was handed to them with little to no effort so that is what they now expect from others (btw, thanks parents for poorly raising your entitled children for everyone else to have to deal with now!). It can also be due to resentment, bitterness, and an arrogant victim mentality of “Everyone owes me!”

Social media isn’t helping either as it dangerously contributes to the culture of me. We’re too busy filming brawls in Walmart for viral video status instead of responding with shock and disapproval with the encouragement to strive for better. Posting daily selfies, lengthy video stories, and going live in all we do is now the norm in order to show hundreds, thousands, and even millions of followers how fantastic we are. Our insatiable need to prove our worth and exploit ourselves for the admiration of others is doing nothing but fulfilling our superficial selfish needs.

How about the brave keyboard warriors? They spew hateful, demeaning comments with absolutely no filter. They post with such boldness as they cower behind the anonymity of a social media account. Their intentions are self-satisfying as their impulsive and unkind rhetoric has only one mission: to tear people down not once thinking how their cruel words might ultimately affect others because they just fulfilled their immediate need of self-gratification. Mission accomplished!

Note that in all these examples, not once is anything done for someone else. They’re all for the purpose of satisfying self. If people would spend half their time doing some self-reflection and seeking a deeper life, they would live a more rewarding life that doesn’t need to be played out on social media because when you live a rewarding life, you don’t need the affirmation from countless strangers to tell you are worthy of anything. It comes from within and that feeling satisfies you.

Individuals who are cognizant to the feelings, needs and well-being of others are a rare breed anymore. We are all born selfish so our lives must be a constant work in progress to improve and extinguish that innate nature within ourselves. We must recognize it and seek to change it.

Unless you are exposed to and taught a selfless life, most likely you will not produce a selfless life. I believe we begin to change when at some point in our lives, someone has or will cross our path and demonstrate what selflessness looks like and we understand how it makes us feel as a recipient. It is then we must pay attention. That feeling of gratitude we get when selflessness is directed toward us must be etched in our brains and fondly remembered so that the next time we have the opportunity, we can be the initiator of that feeling of gratitude in someone else by selflessly choosing to put them first.

Make today the day you choose to put others before yourself impressing them so profoundly with your selflessness that they cannot wait for their opportunity to impress it onto others.

Romans 12:10  

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

 


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Christ Followers – Stop with the Karma!

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 purest 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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An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

January 1st. It doesn’t matter what year it is. This is the day we are all prompted to make our New Year’s Resolutions. A cognizant awareness along with a list of criteria that will better ourselves in the new year.

Resolutions are done with great and determined intentions. At the time we create them, we are absolutely 100% sure that, “This is the year I’m going to stick to them!” That’s good. That’s tenacity. It’s certainly better than the alternative of giving up before we even started. It shows we are desiring growth in whatever area we feel we need to improve. It also shows our humility in admitting that we are always in need of improvement. Resolutions signify new beginnings and perhaps making some necessary changes in your life all in the spirit of improving ourselves!

Flip the calendar several pages. It’s March. That excited feeling of accomplishing great things on January 1st has been forgotten. We’ve returned to the same habitual lifestyle that we had all intentions of changing and improving. Our resolutions turned into failed attempts, lack of willpower, and laziness. We are deflated and perhaps even feel like a failure.

That is why I no longer make resolutions. I don’t need a calendar or a special day to motivate me to better myself. Here’s the great thing. We have 365 days each and every year to do this. Yes, it’s true! We can better ourselves every single day. And, if we fail one day, the next day is filled with just as much promise to try again. We don’t have to wait an entire year to commit to bettering ourselves. There is no holiday needed and no milestone to wait for. Simply, commit to live a life of intention every single day.

These intentions are different for everyone. Some may intend to commit to being more thoughtful, kind, or selfless. While others are striving to lose weight, eat healthier, or tackle their finances more responsibly.  Regardless of your personal intention, find something that you are in need of improving and focus on it every day.

So, if you are going to make a New Year’s Resolution this year, make only one. Strive to live intentionally every day of your life and forgive yourself if you fall short of your expectations because tomorrow is always a new day!

Happy New Year – Happy New You!