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MY CONFESSION

silence-movie

The movie SILENCE tells the story of two Jesuit missionaries facing the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor, at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden.

Adam Driver plays Francisco Garrpe and Andrew Garfield plays Rodrigues along with Liam Neeson, who’s character is Cristovao Ferreira, their mentor.

In their ultimate test of faith, they were required by the Inquisitor to step on an image of Christ or go through horrible torture and even death.

The focus seemed to be on Garfield’s character as a priest who, toward the end of the movie, did step on the image to save people’s lives that suffered before his eyes.

In his doubt of God’s silence, Rodrigues hears a voice supposedly of Jesus but sounding to me like Ferreira reasoning with him to step on the image and deny the savior. Bizarre.

The reasoning seemed logical to imply the cross represents humanity trampling on Jesus and the voice understood if Rodrigues would do so.

But, I thought, “Jesus came to die for our sins, to redeem and restore humanity. Not just so humanity could step on him, even though this moment in Silence showed how it still does.”

Why am I bringing this up?

Ah, the games that can go on in a believer’s mind to save anyone from suffering for their faith, only to find they’ve betrayed the savior.

Yet, the Apostle Paul wrote to Roman Christians about the subject and told them they might have to suffer or die for their belief in Jesus. This was close to his heart, while under house arrest for his faith. But there was hope, because Jesus is alive and returning with and for his body of believers scattered throughout the world.

To me, the only character in the movie that seem to have integrity was Garrpe who swam out to save the lives of people being drowned and he himself murdered before Rodrigues.

Eventually and sadly, Rodrigues recants his faith to trample on the image of Christ.

Question

Didn’t the Apostle Peter find himself trapped by a maiden at the trial of Jesus to betray him? Isn’t there a potential betrayer in every believer where we could prostitute ourselves for what seems to be a right, logical and spiritual purpose?

Maybe that was the significance of the movie but again there were people of faith dying who wouldn’t do that, like Garrpe did.

Confession

As an eighteen-year-old student at the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music, I stayed back in the dorm during a vacation break to work.

I was in my room when I got a knock on the door.

“Jerry, you’re the son of a prison evangelist. You know how to deal with guys in the street. We have a guy down in the lounge we think you can talk too. Would you come?” the student asked.

Like a well meaning but arrogant Rodrigues, I went to see the fellow.

After fifteen minutes, this man off the street looked at me and said, “Nobody loves me!”

“I do,” I stated.

The man said, “If you do, you would take that bible and throw it down on the floor.”

So I did that.

The man looked up at me with an ever so small grin and said, “If that’s the kind of love you have, I don’t want it.”

Caught in my betrayal of Jesus, I was crushed. I had been conned! I was Rodrigues!

I look back on that moment with shame.

God has forgiven me, and like he did for Peter, gave me a ministry over time. Maybe that’s one reason why I am in a position years later to address what Twisted Thinking is and how it hurts others.

I was angry after the movie because of the harm of such thinking; that it’s understandable to trample on the image of Christ just because I care about others who are suffering or dying for their faith, or wondering if anyone really loves them. What a trap!

I am so glad Jesus didn’t give in to any of Satan’s temptations. Aren’t you?

“If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Ps 130:3,4,5 NIV

Jesus never fails.

Thoughts on the Millennial Paradox – A Table Talk with a Father and Daughter

jana-dad

Recently, a video clip of Tom Bilyeu interviewing motivational speaker, Simon Sinek on his show Inside Quest was circulating around Facebook Land. My daughter and I noticed it because it was titled “Simon Sinek Explains the Millennial Paradox.”

It peaked my and Jana’s interest because her daughter/my granddaughter is a Millennial.

We didn’t know who Tom Bilyeu or Simon Sinek were but we love millennials, so we clicked the play button and for 15 minutes were educated about the Millennial plight. 

As we watched we were particularly drawn to Simon’s genuine nature. He seemed passionate about what he was talking about and believable. Simon began by defining how millennials have been described by leadership in corporations as entitled, narcissistic, unfocused, and lazy. 

Then Simon went on to explain that millennials are the way they are because of poor parenting strategies, citing parents that gave their children what they wanted when they wanted it, creating an instant gratification generation and other parents that didn’t allow their child to fail, thus devaluing their achievements. Add to that poor coping mechanisms to deal with stress that Sinek attributed to addiction (to social media and cell phone) and finally he concludes that millennials have lower self-esteem than previous generation, through no fault of their own, that they were “dealt a bad hand.”

In his final admonishment he speaks to corporations, stating that “It’s a total lack of good leadership in our world today that is making them feel the way they do. They were dealt a bad hand. I hate to say it but it’s the companies responsibility, sucks to be you, like we have no choice, right? This is what we got, and I wish their parents and society would have done a better job. They didn’t, so we’re getting them in our companies and we now have to pick up the slack. We have to work extra hard to figure out the ways to build their confidence. We have to work extra hard to find ways to teach them the social skills they are missing out on.” 

Then his pinnacle conclusion that the reason millennials are the way they are is because they were “dealt a bad hand” and that their best case scenario, “as an entire generation, was growing up and going through life and never really finding joy. They’ll just waft through life but never find joy” just broke our hearts. 

So Jana and I set out to have a dialogue or table talk if you will about what we were hearing. I know this blog is longer but I want to introduce Jana to you and how a father/daughter combination can seriously discuss this issue of the Millennial Paradox. It’s a discussion that we ended up moving over to email and our separate blogs in order to capture our thoughts in writing so as to participate in the greater conversation.

Let me invite you to hear the conversation. Feel free to weigh in if you like.

Jerry: My first thought as I watched this guy, Simon, give his ‘expert’ opinion, his ‘diagnosis’ on the problem was that he offered no hope. Where is the hope?

Jana: You’re right dad. Although I felt hopeful when I initially started watching his talk, I realized that what I actually felt was his excitement as he set a tone of confidence regarding his knowledge of the topic. In the end, there was no hope in his message. It was dire diagnosis and all Simon could prescribe ultimately, was for corporations to bear the load and try to repair this generation the best they can.

Jerry: It’s interesting how perspective can expose issues. Much of what Simon said was funny and seemed to resonate an image of a millennial. Simon was very persuasive about identifying millennials but as I was listening my question was “Who is defining this?”

Coming from an understanding of Marketing and Counseling (Twisted Thinking) combined, I know that anyone who is the definer of a problem gets to control the process. 

Jana: Yes, he seemed knowledgeable and I agree with much of what Simon said about screen addiction. I agree that millennials, as a whole, were even dealt a bad hand. However, if I’m playing poker and I’m dealt a bad hand, am I not still responsible for how I play it? 

Jerry: True, when he started to emphasize that a millennial is a millennial because they were dealt a bad hand, through no fault of their own, my ears perked up. Whether he meant to or not, he just promoted what I call Martyred Thinking. 

Out of Martyred Thinking develops a prearranged tactic that avoids responsibility so the person claiming they’ve been dealt a bad hand (whether its true or not) can go do what they want to do. It becomes a platform of pursuing anything that is forbidden.

How do I know this? I’ve been working with Criminal and Twisted Thinkers for years in clinical settings where individuals have perpetrated unconscionable acts on others as a result of taking this closed stance on being a victim. 

There is no hope for integrity, dignity, and living responsibly with people who insist they have been dealt a bad hand and use that belief to support why they become addicts of one sort or another. The blame game isn’t a new thing. It’s been repeated politically, religiously and socially throughout history.

The drug of choice or addiction of choice, at that point, is what I call the excitement of what is forbidden. This phenomenon leads to inflated views of self and not low self-esteem as Simon suggested in the video. It leads to a stubbornness, recklessness, impatience at not being instantly gratified and the result is that others will experience the brunt of it.

Jana: I was hoping Simon would give us something deeper, some of his optimism he’s famous for. I was hoping he would talk about the heart issue and empower the millennial to “play their hand well” but he seemed to make any hope for the Millennial everyone elses problem, thus paralyzing them. 

Jerry It’s definitely a heart or character issue. 

Much of what Simon taught was old hat. Baby Boomers (Eighty Million of us) weren’t using I Phones, I Pads, or technology to produce the chemical reactions we wanted to feel “okay” or superior physically/emotionally/spiritually.

In my day it was all out drugs and sex. Just think Woodstock and you’ll remember. People then weren’t good at relationships either. They tuned out, zoned out and dropped out in droves. 

Experts or the definers of the process want to say it’s not the kids fault, that it’s a matter of parenting but the truth is that experts are scared of not being in control and the go to is that the “you were dealt a bad hand”, so billions of dollars can be spent on reorganizing the chaos or lethargy at hand.

There is no hope for those who would rather blame their environment or station in life by using Martyred Thinking to go and do whatever feels good and is forbidden. The arrogance that exudes from Martyred Thinking isn’t about low self-esteem but about being or thinking a person is entitled and if anyone gets in the way of their entitlement, a prearranged tactic to avoid accountability and responsibility is launched. 

As I watched the video I saw many faces that did not look hopeful but rather had a look in their eyes that said “how can I use what Simon is saying for my benefit.” 

Twisted thinking is very exciting and useful for people who default to “I’ve been dealt a bad hand” and that’s why a person who is practicing twisted thinking would have a core belief that says, “I’m self loathing or am having an identity crises thus I flounder and NEED technology to satisfy my thirst for well-being and want. Then I can BE and not have to worry about relationships which don’t work well. Give me my Xbox or Snap Chat and that’s living!”

Jana: This is familiar and as I look back on my teens and 20’s I know that I was a well-practiced Martyred thinker, blaming you and mom for not protecting me from abuse and from the pain of betrayal. 

It worked for me for a while. I felt a sense of freedom and lived a reckless and exciting life.  I did the drugs, redefined my sexuality and tried to distance myself from your religion. Think Footloose, The Breakfast Club and Trainspotting. I believed that I was dealt a bad hand and I spent a lot years playing that hand by operating in victim-stance, manipulating and lying to get my way. However, when I fell pregnant with my daughter my perspective was rocked to the core and for the first time I was able to see myself clearly in the mirror. What I saw was hopelessness, isolation and a great chasm between myself and others. It was then that I remember really having to work through a false belief that you and mom did not do all you could to give me a leg up. I knew it wasn’t the truth but it was very hard to let go of that belief for it had become so much apart of my identity. I was afraid of losing “myself” or more likely losing my sense of control. 

I believe that my plight was an indicator, a symptom, of the deep depravity of the human condition that we are ALL subject to. When I finally really looked at my hand and realized that the only good play was to fold, I found hope. 

I asked for a new hand and I found new life, real freedom and a deep reconnection with self, with you and mom, with my Creator and with others.

Jana: So is there any merit to what Simon is saying?  

Jerry: Simon really did have some sound things to say but in defining the problem like he did, he put himself in control of the process. What process?

The process that leaves the listener left empty unless they can agree that “Yeah, he’s right. Parenting is why I’m the way I am. Yeah, somebody is going to have to pay for this. I have a right to continue to live as a person who has learned helplessness and get away with it.” 

I’m not saying there aren’t environments that foster or influence this Martyred Thinking mindset for decision-making. But what I am saying, is like in a test tube, unless it’s proven right every time in the laboratory, it’s not really true science. Conscious or unconsciously, Simon just threw so many millennials out there into his beaker of Martyred Thinking who aren’t martyred thinkers. They don’t buy into what Simon has said because they’re out there creating, building, engaging and valuing relationships. 

Jana: Yes, I know many of them. They’re innovative, passionate and responsible but what about the others, where is the hope for the those listening to Simon’s talk and identify with his findings, those who believe they were dealt a bad hand and are functioning in the belief that it isn’t their fault. Where is the hope for them?  

Jerry: For me, hope for change would have been to have this expert call out their* responsibility for their laziness and to own how it hurts others. 

Hope for change would have been for this expert to call out how their sense of entitlement hurts others deeply because others are treated as property that have no choice but to endure their selfishness. 

(by the way, *their represents us all, whether we’re talking about Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers or whoever) 

People who activate any Martyred Thinking have no empathy and where there is no empathy an individual is capable of doing unconscionable harm. That doesn’t look like HOPE to me.

Hope encourages self-respect and the respect of others.

The thought that Simon gave about the need to value and develop relationship was right on, but this need transcends to us all. Pointing the finger at parenting or other places of society as those who are the problem, those who dealt the bad hand, actually breaks down the relational concept he is promoting. 

As you have shown in your own story Jana, something happens that’s good on the inside of a person who has come to terms with their responsibility and accountability for who they decide to be. 

Yes, it’s true we can be and are shaped by our personal history but we are not defined by it. There’s HOPE in that. 

HOPE that pursues life! 

Unwittingly, that was missed in the talk this expert gave. 

Choose Life!

life

This morning I read from Dr. Ed Dobson’s book Prayers & Promises when facing a life-threatening illness. Here’s a passage from the scriptures that popped out at me:

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Issac and Jacob.” Deut. 30:19-20

Since I’ve been diagnosed with Stage Four Prostate Cancer from last August, I’ve always had this attitude that I want to live. I figured that if God hasn’t revealed to me that living is a “NO”, then it’s a “GO.”

But the passage above brings it home even more for me. Life is about choosing to make choices about living and not dying. It’s about leaving a legacy for my children. It’s about loving the LORD my God. It’s about listening to his voice and yes, holding fast to him.

It’s not about we live life only once, so live it with all the gusto I can. Remember the beer commercial that promoted that? A self serving, indulgent life that’s only about me.

While getting an IV-C infusion for treatment last week, a man in the chair near me mentioned he was from the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. That brought back memories of Moose Jaw and Caring Port, Canada where back in the day I taught seminary students about Transforming Twisted Thinking.

This fellow had been through it all. He’s had Radiation, Chemo, Surgery and is now with the same naturopath I have, Dr. Rubin in Scottsdale, AZ. He flies down from Canada every week to get his IV infusions to strengthen his immune system.

The man made it known that it cost him $19,000 a month to live just to have the treatment he needs. He talked about being blessed with wealth and owing a golf course. Now owning a golf course got my attention. I’m smiling at that one.

He told me he was supposed to be dead a year ago. He even pulled up his shirt and showed me a huge scar from the surgery to remove cancer from his esophagus.

I asked him what his plan was for the future.

He said empathically, “I want to help people!”

After that comment he had to leave and we didn’t get to talk more. But just before my new fraternity brother left, he came back and got my name and said he hoped we meet up again.

Clearly this man was choosing to live. I liked his fight and resolve, an addition to the verse I shared showing how choosing life is about leaving a legacy to our children, about loving, relying, listening and holding fast to the LORD.

Why is that important to me?

Because the LORD is my life.

I don’t know where this man was concerning this question, but one thing was for sure. God used him to encouraged me to make choices to live.

Like Dr. Ed Dobson said in his book, “If his disease (ALS) gets him, it will get one of the healthiest people it has ever gotten.”

I am with you Ed!

Let me encourage everyone reading this blog today.

Choose life!

Happy New Year everyone.

Spiritual Leadership and Deceit

deception

  Deceit and Duplicity

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted. Many of you know I’ve been fighting stage 4 Prostate Cancer over the last 5-6 months. I’m writing today because God is good and so far the treatment is working. I have the energy! Therefore, I’m going to address something that’s been on my mind.

I have a burden for spiritual leaders, particularly since I am one. And I personally know of many places of ministry over my seventy-year lifetime (fifty of it in ministry and counseling) where deceitful leaders have left people deeply wounded. And something needs to be said about it.

Let me cut to the chase, would you?

I’m seeing that spiritual leadership can be a part of the greatest problem we have in the Church worldwide. How? Before John Stott went home to be with the Lord, he identified this problem as Growth Without Depth.

From a pathological point of view, there are leaders who keep God’s people as dependents in what they learn and believe. And if someone wants to mature in the faith and begins to question them, these types of leaders will betray you by trading you in for something or someone they think is better and can meet their agendas.

In our book Beyond Betrayal, I talk with Tom Roy, a good friend and spiritual leader about the pain of betrayal. In one part of the book, we talked about Jesus being betrayed by Judas and how he knows the suffering first hand that came out of that.

The twelve walked with him for three years! As you know, these men were in training to spiritually lead others, but one man had a deceitful heart. Yes, every disciple had problems. They were human. But the deceit coming out of Judas disqualified him from the twelve and from serving the Lord.

My bias is the deceitfulness of Judas went on during the three years he was with the group, but Jesus waited until the one moment before the cross to undo him for it.

Because deceitful spiritual leaders fail to be open and honest with those they serve, I agree with John Stott’s viewpoint of the problem with the Church worldwide. Frankly this issue identifies that leadership style as a respecter of persons who will use people for their own benefit alone. We’ve been seeing it for quite a while, years in fact.

Remember John Stott’s comment of “Growth without Depth” would you?

Is that not fertile ground for a spiritual leader with deceit in their heart to control others and every situation? To say one thing to your face and hide their heart about what they really think or believe, so they can HAVE?

The Bible’s Principle of Human Depravity 

Jeremiah 17:9,10 ESV  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;  who can understand it?  “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” 

Spiritual leadership that uses deceit to manage/control others and imply they represent God by doing so, reinforce a toxic belief that results in growth with no depth.

THE TOXIC BELIEF: All spiritual leaders are men and women of God and can be trusted.

Example: But in Jeremiah 23, God holds accountable the spiritual leadership of Israel for their lies/deceit. Listen to the warning from the Lord of hosts.

Jeremiah 23:16,17 ESV Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

Jeremiah 23:32, 33 ESV Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord. 33 “When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the Lord?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the Lord.’

In the book of Psalms, listen to the Lord’s thinking and attitude toward those who use deceit.

Psalm 5:6 ESV You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

Psalm 50:16-22 ESV 16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? 17 For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. 18 If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers. 19 “You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit20 You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. 21 These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. 22 “Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!

This “what you see isn’t what you get” charade is a tool of the twisted mind.

As we see in the above references (particularly in the case of spiritual leadership), these are people who have a compelling need to be in control of others and that person will use manipulation and deceit to be in and take control of situations.

May I say to the spiritual leadership worldwide, that there will be no growth with depth in our lives and in those we serve, unless deceit is removed from our hearts first.

Let me challenge leaders of Truth to pursue open and honest hearts that trust HIM. Growth with depth in the Church worldwide will have a leadership that understands our depravity and the repentance accountability process. Without this, the pain of betrayal among the brethren will continue to accelerate and the perpetrators of deceit will continue to be spiritual leaders wrecking havoc in the ranks of God’s people.

Strong words I know but the days are short, and I believe Jesus is coming soon.

But look at how much the Lord values a heart without deceitfulness when truth-tellers care for and love his people.

Psalm 32:2 ESV Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Psalm 50:23 ESV The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”

 

Ah, Golf and Wind!

Golf Picture

I’ve been watching the 2016 Masters in Augusta.

Here’s the story from ESPN.

Billy Horschel never marked his ball. His second shot — under the rules of the game — was deemed to have gone in the water. So, rather than have an eagle putt or settle for an easy two-putt birdie, he had to take a penalty stroke and finished with a bogey.

“I was hoping the ball would stop so I could put my coin back on it [to mark it], because I knew what was going to happen,’’ Horschel said. “I knew that once the ball rolls, once it’s in play, if it starts rolling, you have to play it from where it finishes and obviously I didn’t have my scuba gear to play it from the water.“ It’s an unfortunate situation where a big old gust came through, my ball was a foot or two from a false front, and it started rolling and the wind kept pushing it to the false front and it went in the water.’’

Am I the only one who is enjoying what these pros are experiencing? It just doesn’t seem fair what the wind at Augusta is doing. But I’ll bet any duffer has been there, if you’ve golfed through the years.

Okay, here’s my point, up front.

No one tells the wind what to do. No one. Not even a pro golfer at Augusta. We’re all reminded of our humanity in golf – for sure. We can’t change the rules in tournament play. But when I’m golfing with my buddies, we give mulligans, tell a guy to pick up his putt, call for winter rules because we’re playing social golf. All kinds of stuff. Is it a purest approach to the game? Of course not.

But whether we play social or pro golf, no one and I mean no one tells the wind what to do.

This reminds me that no one tells God what to do. We can’t cry out “RULES! Let’s change the rules because God isn’t fair.”

Here it comes. Now I’m stretching this. Golf is the game of heaven. Told you it was a stretch. But It does remind us that we’re all human and respecting God is the beginning of wisdom.

I liked what Horschel said as he kept his composure and did not rip into the rules official. “It wasn’t the officials’ fault,’’ he said. “They can’t do anything about it.”

Asked if the rule should be changed, Horschel said, “I’m not in the business of changing rules.’’

Like I said previously, “No one tells the wind what to do.”

 

 

It’s God’s Fault!

Pain

When pain comes, moving through it by faith is a legitimate mindset that believes God is Sovereign and has our back, which I truly believe he is and does. Yet, feeling trapped and stumbling through events and processes seems to be a new norm of living out my relationship with Christ that I think needs more conversation. No, I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s spiritual parade, but trusting God with, in and through our pain is a battle of trying to figure out how He is for us and not against us. At least on an emotional level it is for me these days.

Things and attitudes can change quickly depending on the type of pain, the intensity of pain and the length of pain that we’ve been suffering. Let me explain.

Many of you know that my wife, Judy, has been dealing with Lymphoma and then four weeks ago she took a fall down our Condo stairs.

I’d become a caregiver. Her pain becomes my pain, even though my pain is nowhere near Judy’s pain. Then there’s the fear of loss, especially if what a loved one suffers is life threatening. That fear could grip and choke me no matter who I am in the faith, or how old I am in the faith.

Then there are times of pain where I’m reduced to one simple issue. I’m sorry to say it, but I can be as twisted as anyone when it comes.

After taking a break in caregiving two weeks ago, I took a bike ride. I love riding my bike to relax. I have a three-mile loop I do that passes a golf course. Granted, my mind was on Judy. I was reflective and praying for her while riding past that course. Then it happened.

I wiped out!

It was like in slow motion. I knew I was going down and did everything I could to limit the damage to my bike and me. Now here comes the twisted part.

It was a hard fall. I was bruised and in pain. Strangely, I immediately bounced back up on the cart path of that course. I didn’t wait to see if I had broken a leg, arm or if I cracked my hipbone.

Then, I shouted to God after making the assessment I was okay, although hurting.

“What the heck (and I used the word heck people) is that all about? Angry about the pain my wife was going through. Angry about the uncertainty in all of it. Trying to stay positive and helpful, I let God have it. “I don’t need this pain (from wiping out on a bike). I’ve already got a load of it,” knowing God could read my mind.

My question implied my wipe out on the bike was God’s fault. Immediately I knew I was into twisted thinking, and it hit me with humor.

In my mind’s eye, I could see and hear God or the cloud He was in, speaking to me.

“Jerry (in a soft, gentle voice that had a smile attached to it) I wasn’t the one riding the bike.” Then sheepishly, I smiled.

Yes, this wipe out was on me and not him, even though I still don’t know how it happened.

I couldn’t believe how quickly I went to a deeper angry place of entitlement and took a victim stance with God. After years of being in ministry, teaching the bible, counseling others, the pain of wiping out on that bike brought me to a moment where I question if God was for me. Clearly he is. The Cross of Christ demonstrates that. The resurrection proves that. And there are so many times in the past where Judy and I have experienced God’s faithfulness that the memories alone would settle the question.

But the truth is that PAIN has to be negotiated every time it comes to us until we see Jesus. We never arrive at the place where we can say “No problem.” And then I began to understand how pain is not something that is against me. My body yes, but not me.

Wiping out on that bike brought me to an intimate moment with Him. Working as a caregiver and being concerned for how Judy is suffering doesn’t call for putting on appearances with God. We can be real and intimate with each other and Him. And, I can even experience anger at myself for causing my own pain and still be good with Jesus.

I gave up my demand to feel good and be in control. Rather than trying to spend my time escaping pain, I chose to embrace it. Like C.S. Lewis once said in the movie Shadowlands, “The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.”

Hope is clearly there in the resurrection of Jesus. Until we see him, CS Lewis’ thought makes sense to me.

I don’t say this lightly but “On to the next day!”

 

 

 

 

The Traits of Twisted Leadership in the Presidential Race of 2016

Presidential Race 2016

When a man or woman running for President has tunnel vision and only sees the way, by how they sees things, they won’t be self-critical. That means they won’t care how they hurt others. They’ll be deliberately vague by not giving details to what they say they’re going to do if elected President. They’re really good at pointing out and giving feedback on the faults of others and will lie by omission.

If the above were to happen, these candidates who are running for President, view themselves as a victim WHEN they’re held accountable. They’ll start to blame social conditions, even their own family, the past and others for what they do. Mind you, they only view themselves as a victim if it’s convenient, because they will use that view as a springboard into being irresponsible with what they say and do.

No one gets to this place in their life unless they personally view themselves as a good person. But that view is also used to avoid being responsible for their offenses. They won’t acknowledge their own destructive behavior and WILL build themselves up at the expenses of others.

These candidates won’t give any effort to do things they find boring or disagreeable. If they were ever to say, “I can’t,” they really mean they won’t. Their stubbornness not to move from that position is herculean.

Candidates like this are high rollers. If you were able to get to the core of the way they think, they’ll think living in a responsible way is unexciting and unsatisfying. They’re not people, who would obligate themselves to others, but they are ALL about obligating others to them. They will be interested in being responsible only IF they can get some sort of immediate payoff.

A Presidential candidate with the above scenario is impatient and won’t use the past as a learning tool when it gets in the way of their plans. They’ll expect others to act immediately when they demand it of them. AND, when they make decisions, they will be based on assumptions and not the facts.

If you really got to know them whenever they do have irrational fears, they will refuse to admit them. These candidates have a fundamental fear of injury or even death WHEN they aren’t in control. When they are in control, there’s no need to talk about those fears. The reality, though, is they have a profound fear of being put down and WHEN they’re held accountable, they feel lousy and experience a kind of self induced depression that makes them think everyone knows the real them.

That’s when they’ll have a compelling need to be in control of others and every situation. They’ll use any method they can to manipulate others by deceit so they can take control of their situations. These candidates will refuse to be a dependent person UNLESS they can take advantage of it.

If the truth were out there on the table, these candidates actually think they are different and better than others. They live by double standards and expect out of others what they will fail to meet themselves. They’ll come across as super-optimistic not because they want to be elected President, but because being super-optimistic cuts any fear they might have of failure. In their mind, if that fear won’t go away, they will quit at the first sign of what they consider failure.

The glue that ties this all together for this type of candidate is how they actually perceive all things and people as objects that belong to them. They have no concept of the “ownership rights” of others. Sadly, they are people who are capable of using sex for power and control.

God help the USA, if there’s anyone running for the office of President in this great land of ours that this may describe.

If anyone like this were to be elected, my question is how does this reflect on the state of the people who do the electing? Would we not be a civilization that has gone rogue?

One more thought. Everything you have read from the above description actually describes what and who twisted thinkers really are.

Think about it, would you?

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