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Shame, Part II

29 Apr

Shame, Part II

I used to love this song by Sonny Bono when I was a teen.

I think all of us occasionally face people in life whose way of gaining control involves mocking others.

It may not even be a personal thing.  It so often is not.  That person feels so diminished, so voiceless that she mocks someone else for the attention it brings!

Or . . . someone can honestly hate something about us that is not evil.  She just hates our laugh, or the way we stand, or the way we bounce up and down when we get excited . . .

Whatever that characteristic is that gains us mockery, if we are not sinning, we need to just let the mockery go.  It doesn’t diminish us.  It diminishes the person who sees the need to be a mocker.  People get that.  Oh, yes they do.

I was stunned not long ago when someone who has been a close friend for years made an age joke at my expense in front of a crowd of people.  In fact, I was so stunned, I asked for clarification.  And, yes, it really was about 55-year-olds acting in an “age appropriate way.”

Just what is that?, one might ask.  Her take was that we should be slow and sedate.  At least slower and more sedate than I am, apparently.

Well.

I don’t think, with my tendency toward ADHD, that is gonna happen.  And I don’t think I am gonna try to conjure it up to please my friend and her definition of age appropriate behavior.

Sometimes ya just gotta let it go.

I trust that anyone in that crowd who laughed at me will reconsider when they see me living in integrity toward them, despite the jokes at my expense.

If not, mockery can function as an awfully good filter, to show you who your true friends are!!!

 

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Who is the Weaker Brother?

12 Mar

Who is the Weaker Brother?

This puts into words some important principles about not slipping into a “works-based salvation” just to appease someone with a tender conscience. Give that person his liberty. But don’t impose his scruples on the rest of the church.

“You Brought it On Yourself” or another Queen of Mean Statement We Christians Say . . .

26 Feb

I was caught up short by a younger friend a couple of years ago.  

Someone had made a very bad decision to jaywalk. 

He was struck by a car and died.  

I stated, “Well, he brought it on himself . . .”

My friend responded, “Then you think that jaywalking is a capital offense and should be punishable by death?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Yes, you did.” 

(Ulp!)  She was right!

I have remembered that ever since.  I remember it when someone cuts me off in traffic and I find myself fantasizing about the next person not being able to stop and slamming into him, with disastrous results.

Cutting someone off in traffic is not a capital offense either.  Most things are not.

The first sign that we are giving way to unrighteous anger is that desire for people to be punished in ways far disproportionate to their offenses.

There is a judge in heaven.  But it is not us!  

I need to remember that quite often, so I don’t dishonor the gospel by presenting if from lips that are cold and unattractive and mean in their message.

God gave me mercy.  I can do no less for my fellow fallen humans.

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There are a Thousand Posts Saying a Husband Has to Earn His Wife’s Respect; This One Disagrees

23 Feb

There are a Thousand Posts Saying a Husband Has to Earn His Wife’s Respect; This One Disagrees

The nature of respect and love within marriage; if it has to be earned, it is not respect, it is not love.

Some thoughts from Matt Walsh, who always has something interesting to say.

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Eleven Reasons for the Soaring Distrust of Pastors!

21 Jan

Eleven Reasons for the Soaring Distrust of Pastors!

My poor pastor–having to maintain his godly ministry in the midst of these image-destroying stereotypes!

I totally identify with the one about an entitlement mentality having entered the church, too. I find most negative statements about my pastor (and other pastors) have much to do with people who expect the pastor to either be their best friend or at least to be there 24/7 at their beck and call. They get disillusioned when they don’t get all of his attention, all of the time.

Like it’s a competition or something. Many people seem to have never considered the idea that serving in the church is good for us, not just a way to get the pastor’s attention. Sheesh!

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

16 Jan

Okay, I am really venturing onto dangerous territory this week.  More than once.  Ha!

I have many young friends but I am going to say this–I think the generation currently in its 20’s and 30’s (is that just one generation?  I can’t keep track) is the most entitled generation ever.  

Some of my friends will know straightaway that this doesn’t apply to them.  Even if we joke about it.

Some will know that it sometimes does apply.  And we may joke about that, too.  

I kind of understand how it must feel.  We have kind of put you guys in a position where you are on the hook for our social security, and now our health care, without any guarantees that both of those systems will not bankrupt before you need them.  We are like a giant generational Ponzi scheme.  Not at all cool!

We were probably the last generation ever that wound up richer than its parents’ generation.  Then there were too many of us Baby Boomers and too few of you and . . . that just doesn’t sustain (do the math!).  

However, there is way to tiptoe around these realities with good will prevailing between us all and there is a way to crash like a bull through the generational china shop.

In general, when we can help you financially, we jump at the chance.  Even when we are not your actual parents, but just a couple of surrogates enlarging your world and your financial situation.  However, no one likes to be taken for granted.  We all like to feel that we belong in this world–that we are appreciated as people and not just as wallets with legs.  

So . . . you can play the game, or not.  

What is a good way that we can tell when you have chosen to not play the game?

Well, when we get laid off and you suddenly change your relationship with us might be one way!

That said, though, my main concern this week is not finances, but rather the fact that we may be inadvertently teaching you that envy and jealousy are okay.  

You see, we all get envious/jealous at some point in our lives.  But when I was young and found that happening, I would examine my heart and work on myself, with God’s help.

I am afraid nowadays we may have passed along the message to you that it is justifiable to feel envy toward others and that we totally understand if you let your envy harden into bitterness.  

Think not?

What happens when your children don’t receive as much attention as other children at church, Bible study, or playgroup?  What do you do?  What do we counsel you to do?

In general, no one is going to have all the same friends as another person.  You and each of your friends have a different network because you are different people.  If you have an older couple in your life who adore your kids, you are blessed.  Please don’t compare yourselves to others and get upset if you find another family that has two older couples loving on their kids!!!  Don’t plot to have your kids compete with the kids of another family for attention.  That is a lot to put on your kids.  Enjoy the friends you have, especially if they dote on your kids!

And don’t mope about uneven amounts of attention given by adults to other adults either.  The same thing goes.  We are all in different networks.  We also all have different personalities and so no two people will ever get the same amount of attention in the same situation.  It is statistically impossible.  

For example, I got a huge amount of attention the year I lost 100 pounds.  It was like everyone in my life became my cheering section. As outgoing as I am, I was constantly reporting to close friends, casual friends, and even perfect strangers the number of pounds I was down!

I think I got more attention that year than all other weight loss folks I have ever known put together!

But . . . I have a summer birthday and, ever since high school when I realized that birthdays are often celebrated by going out with friends, I have had spells of regretting that I was born while school is out and most people are concentrating on their vacations.  I have had one self-catered birthday party with friends (when I turned 40), one party at my best friend’s house when I happened to be visiting on my birthday, and one surprise slumber party when I turned 18 that still makes me giggle because there is no greater way to create shock than to plan a surprise party for a person with a summer birthday who doesn’t even have the concept of celebrating with friends!!!

So . . . see how that works?  I got dollops of attention for my weight loss but have bypassed the birthday parties that many others take for granted.  And every one of us has things like that–areas where we have received abundance to an overflow and other areas where we can feel somewhat left out at times.  

When we feel left out, let’s not institutionalize that.  Let’s find the parts where we can count blessings and feel grateful.  

Otherwise, we risk having an attitude of “what have you done for me lately?” coming across in our relationships and poisoning them.  

For truly, we are responsible, working with God, to find our own happiness and to live in our own state of contentment.  

If we don’t do that, it is not something anyone else can do for us, even loving surrogate (or actual) parents.  

When People With OCD Insist on Saying Everything that Comes to their Mind! (OCD #4)

5 Jan

This is my fourth post this week on life with our son’s OCD (hey, maybe I have OCD, too!).  

Something he just said to me tonight astonished me.  I have often wondered why he will not self-censor, even when he knows he will have consequences for some of the mean, hurtful things he says.  Turns out he . . . thinks it is lying if he does not say everything that comes to his mind!  

Wow, that is enlightening about OCD, isn’t it?  Not particularly helpful in coping, but enlightening. 

I can think of numerous times I have seen supposedly normal adults say similar things.

For example, just yesterday a veterinarian friend of mine posted a picture of herself on Facebook, taken while she was stroking a dolphin.  This was a bucket list item for my friend, an almost holy moment for which she had waited her entire life.  Yet one of her “friends” was unable to refrain from posting her disgust that the dolphin was kept in captivity.  

Really?  We can justify timing it so that we share our convictions which differ with those of a friend at the moment in that friend’s life when we can most deflate her and/or publicly humiliate her with our pronouncements?  And we feel very self-righteous as we do this?

Yet, I am almost certain there was OCD involved there, a compulsion to speak that this woman could seemingly not overrule.  

Another friend had just dropped her daughter at college almost a two-day drive from here.  As she posted about it on Facebook, obviously missing her daughter and needing comfort, another “friend” went on a rant about her own time at that particular college, stating that the only thing she ever found positive there was meeting her husband.

Really?  You have to say that now?

If that is OCD, no wonder it is hard for people with OCD to make and keep friends.  It seems as though they constantly choose the OCD over the friends.  There is no contest between them, apparently.  

Yet, of course, there is more at play here than meets the eye.  It is just a question of how we can show compassion without letting someone run us over constantly with a verbal steamroller.  That would not help anyone.

A practical example is a cashier at my local grocery store.  She visibly turned her nose up at a package of shrimp steamed in Old Bay seasoning that I brought to her line one day.  She then actually double-bagged her hands in order to not touch the package as she rang it up.  At first, I thought she had sneered at me and began to wonder what I might have done.  When she put the bags on her hands, I recognized the OCD in play and asked about her reaction.  She readily admitted to having a gag reflex with shrimp.  

Now . . . how do you have a career in a grocery store if you visibly turn up your nose every time a customer buys shrimp?  But more importantly, how do you have any career anywhere if your OCD is so disabling that you have big red flags all around you as people see you trying to do your job and stalling out while you double bag your hands? 

I have no answers, but only questions.  Questions worthy of lots of research and reading.

My son’s social worker/counselor once told me that Sigmund Freud had done a great disservice to mankind by telling us that things get better for us psychologically if we talk about them. He introduced “talk therapy” and the human race has not shut up since, saying some vastly inappropriate things that should better be left unsaid.  

It does help to talk about many things, but the social worker was referring to some of her clients who had broken the law, crossing lines sexually.  And they seemed to believe that their obsessions and compulsions would get better if they talked about them, if they described them to her.  Not wanting to take a mental mudbath, she told them that no human being needed to be on the receiving end of such dreadful confidences.  She said it was unfortunate that they felt they needed to talk through them because no amount of money would compel her, nor any other counselor, to be on the listening end of what they wished to say . . . 

She made a stand that families dealing with OCD need to make.  Even when the topic is milder than sexuality, OCD pushes people to “overshare” and drives other people away.  

I remind my son of that regularly–that I don’t need to know every thought that comes to his mind and that, in fact, it is cruel to inflict many of his negative thoughts on me as I try to stay motivated to help him go the distance in life.  

There is balance to be found somewhere . . . and I will find it one day, with God’s help.   

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