Archive | September 2014

Domestic Violence and the NFL?

Domestic ViolenceDid you know that one out of every four Christian couples experiences at least one episode of physical abuse within their marriage? Battering is the single largest cause of injury to women—more than auto accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

Did you know that between 2003 and 2008, we lost over 4000 soldiers in the Iraq War? In the same period over 6000 women have been murdered due to domestic violence in America. Did you know that 40% of women homicide victims are killed by their male partners or husbands?

I believe as followers of Christ, God sees us as holy because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. In other words God sees Jesus and our faith in him and not what we do or don’t’ do in order to make that decision. That is the foundation of faith and is what theologians call Our Position In Christ.

But we are functionally still sinners. We can’t forget that!

It’s easy to point to the sins of those outside the church and gloss over the violence that occurs inside the supposed sanctity of a church or Christian home. It’s true that domestic violence and child sex abuse continues to remain a blot on the body of Christ.

So much is going on in the media these days about domestic abuse and the NFL. I’ve seen emotional expressions by football analysis, some former players, and the victims of domestic abuse. I’ve seen articles about pro athlete organizations taking responsibility to send a message that domestic violence is not going to be tolerated. I’ve seen parents having to explain to their children what in heaven’s name is going on after watching an elevator video of domestic violence.

No one seems to see that the media continues to traumatize the victim by doing that. Clearly we can point to the hypocrisy of how high-profile organizations, athletic and otherwise, develop cultures of secrecy to keep victims – victims. Sickness! Angry! Outrage! All words to describe what secrecy will do to any marriage, family or social strata if there isn’t justice and a weeping for those harmed by such twistedness.

Sin in the heart is ugly. Sinning is hideous and repulsive on any level. Questions about the weakness of men who batter or emotionally control their wives/partners are once again rising to the forefront and they should be. The twisted thinking behind this is enormous and at an epidemic level in this land of ours.

I’m glad the attention is focused on this and it’s about time. I’m concerned that we forget to go where we must go to first deal with domestic violence and other horrendous issues that can destroy our relationships.

It is in my heart and mind and then to surrender to God’s heart and mind – where his love defines how we are to behave. The hope that last is the hope that is IN Christ.

We must get beyond the theology of faith and into the practice of faith. None of us have that hope without first getting caught or another way of saying our sin/sinning has been exposed. Victimizers and victims alike need Jesus. We all need Jesus. There’s healing in Jesus.

Losing Your Cool

Frozen Air ConditionerJudy and I returned to our condo in Phoenix after six weeks of visiting friends and family. We enjoyed the sixth child to be born in my son’s family. Altogether now, we have nine grandchildren.

Great trip! But Judy and I were ready to be home again.

Looking forward to our bed and enjoying the sun in Arizona, I walked through the garage door into the condo to see water dripping from a ceiling. Long story short, the air conditioner froze over.

My mind went to all kinds of places looking for the reason as to WHY this happened.

Friends in Phoenix graciously invited us over to sleep until we could get the inspector to come over after Labor Day and give us a quote on the damage. I was thinking big bucks! We turned everything off and waited two days for the ICE to melt that was on the air conditioner and the furnace pumping the air into the condo.

Then, my friend called his friend who was an expert on air conditioners. His friend indicated there could be one of three reasons why the conditioner and furnace froze up. When he got to number two, I got this crazy embarrassed feeling that was it.

Plainly, a dirty air filter can cause what we were experiencing.

After the ice melted and we cleaned up, I turned the air conditioner on. Cooling started and the temperature went from 95 degrees to 80 degrees within the next few hours. Mind you, it was 110 degrees outside!

I can’t tell you the thoughts I had about being inconvenienced. I’m ashamed to even admit it. They were twisted and feeling sorry for my self – playing the victim. And me of all people should know better since I authored the book Transforming Twisted Thinking.

I had a friend tell me when giving him the story and confessing having a problem with being inconvenience say, “About half way through your story Jerry, I was thinking of telling you to get over it. That’s life.”

I smiled because he was absolutely right, especially in the view of eternity and how others struggle even more. I said, “My irritation was at the thought that I’d have to hire someone to do what I use to be able to do in fixing up my home.” He understood and indicated he knows what that feels like but now it’s about having God leading me to someone who could fix it.

Upon reflecting, it’s amazing what a dirty air filter can cause if it isn’t changed out every month or so in Arizona. Then it hit me.

If any twisted thinking isn’t dealt with in my life, that filth will clog up my ability for sound reasoning and having a sound mind. People will get hurt. Relationships will be damaged and tons of work cleaning up the mess is needed. The cost can be huge.

I was glad I was caught with egg on my face when I started to go dark about who was responsible for the damage in my home. In a gentle and kind way, through a friend calling his friend and letting me know without knowing he was letting me know it was my fault, I knew it was my fault.

Now we’re back in the home and the damage is nowhere near what I imagined. But it’s scary how twisted thinking can screw things up in my marriage and other relationships. These next words are so important to me when checking the filter of my mind as to how I think.

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8,9 NLT.

I’m still working on going from being twisted to transformed in my thinking. Just because I’ll be 68 years old doesn’t mean I’ve arrived.

My father used to tell the story of the guy trying to find out where the stink was coming from until he realized it was the Limburger cheese underneath his nose on his mustache.

Allow me to say, would you, to check the filters of your mind too, when it’s so easy to go to the blame game.

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