What are Your Ground Rules?

 What are your ground rules?

 

Watching the news cycle is increasingly difficult not only because we’ve elevated opinion over fact, but we’ve also allowed vitriol and anger to run unchecked. As a person of faith, sacrificial love is the mark of the Christian. So much so, that the late Francis Schaeffer made this observation:

 

“I have observed one thing among true Christians in their differences in many countries: What divides and severs true Christian groups and Christians - what leaves a bitterness that can last for 20, 30, 40 years (or for 50 or 60 years in a son's or daughter's memory) - is not the issue of doctrine or belief that caused the differences in the first place. Invariably, it is a lack of love - and the bitter things that are said by true Christians in the midst of differences.” (emphasis mine)

 

The church as a whole, in the U.S., is failing this test. Observable deeds of love have been replaced by self-justifying words and deeds of anger, hatred, and defensiveness.

 

In recent meetings with international partners, I have heard that fewer international students feel that the United States will help them grow in to the people they want to be. This is indeed sobering.

 

Yet, part of that truth is related to the unrestrained nature of the commentary. The unwillingness for many to simply stop when something awful comes to mind before sending that tweet, that social media post, or that snide remark out in the world. Let me put it another way: are you violating your own ground rules? Do you have lines drawn that show you where your descent in to hatred and bitterness starts?

 

As a human being, I have had to take the news and tweets in smaller doses. The lack of love combined with the lack of restraint is toxic and acts like a stain that is increasingly difficult to wash out.

 

So, a few weeks back, I jotted down a few ground rules for myself and to put barricades up on the side of the road, that allow me to travel within the lines on some things. There are five of them and they are as follows:

 

continue reading
Tags | forum | Grace | listening | world

Shutting Up to Share My Faith

I'm not very good at making conversation with, say, the person next to me on a plane or the person taking care of me at the hair salon.  Maybe it's the function of being surrounded by family most all the time, but I enjoy the little spaces of quiet when they come along.     

Imagine the guilt then, when I get that awkward feeling that I'm supposed to seize the moment and share some divine truth with my captured "friend."  My fellow passenger can't ditch me as we take off any more than my hairdresser can abandon ship midway through my cut.   I should use this to their eternal advantage and give them the spiritual insights that will save them, shouldn't I?

Let me digress to say that I'm not against any of us who consider ourselves Christ-followers sharing what we've found with others.  It's absolutely beautiful when this happens as a overflow of our lives in the right place and the right time.  And the right place and time may even be planned and prepared for, if that fits your personality and gifting.  It could be with a fellow passenger.  I'm not dissing that.

continue reading

The Right Language

By nature, we tend to speak our own love language. That is, we express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not the primary love language of your spouse or friend, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.

This is why thousands of couples are frustrated. Sam, a divorced single, said about the woman he is dating: “I don’t understand her. She says she feels like I don’t love her. How could she feel unloved? Every day I tell her that I love her. I also give her compliments every day. I tell her how pretty she is. I tell her what a good mother she is. How could she feel unloved?”

The problem is that her love language is acts of service, not words of affirmation. She’s thinking: If he loved me he would do something to help me. When he comes over, he watches television while I wash the dishes. He never helps me with anything. I’m sick of his words “I love you. I love you.” Words are cheap. If he really loved me, he would do something. I do everything for him; he does nothing for me. This scenario is repeated in thousands of relationships. Each person speaks his own language and does not understand why the other does not feel loved. If we want the other person to feel loved, we must discover and learn to speak his/her primary love language.
continue reading

Quality Time?

Two people sitting in the same room are certainly in close proximity, but they are not necessarily together. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. It is giving someone your undivided attention. As humans, we have a fundamental desire to connect with others. We may be in the presence of people all day long, but we do not always feel connected.

Physician Albert Schweitzer said, “We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.” Professor Leo Buscaglia notes, “There seems to be accumulating evidence that there is actually an inborn need for this togetherness, this human interaction, this love. It seems that without these close ties with other human beings, a newborn infant, for example, can regress developmentally, lose consciousness, fall into idiocy and die.”

continue reading

"For Me!?" Recognizing Gifts as Someone's Primary Love Language

For some people, receiving gifts is their primary love language. It is what makes them feel loved most deeply. Amanda, who had been dating Ben for nine months, was very vulnerable when she said, “I want you to know that birthdays and special holidays are very important to me. I remember crying for two days when my father forgot my sixteenth birthday. I knew he didn’t love my mother; that’s why he left. But on my birthday, I found out he didn’t love me either.”

If Ben has been listening, he has just discovered that Amanda’s primary love language is gifts. If he wants her to feel loved, he will not only remember birthdays and other holidays, but he will give her gifts on a hot August day and a chilly January afternoon—anytime, for no special reason, just to express his love. These “no strings attached” gifts mean the most and have the greatest impact.

continue reading

God's Greatest Gift

A Love Language Minute...

Did you ever think about the incarnation was a form of communication God used?


Learning To Listen

Listening leads to understanding... do you understand others?


Can You Hear Me? Steps to Become a Sympathetic Listener

1. Maintain eye contact when you are listening to someone. This keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that the person has your full attention. Refrain from rolling your eyes in disgust, closing your eyes when they give you a low blow, looking over their head, or staring at their shoes while they are talking.

2. Don't engage in other activities while you are listening to another individual. Remember, quality time is giving someone your undivided attention.

3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself: "What are this person's emotions right now?" When you think you have the answer, confirm it. For example, "It sounds like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot..." That gives the person a chance to clarify his/her feelings. It also communicates that you are listening intently to what they are saying.

4. Observe body language. Clenched fists, trembling hands, tears, furrowed brows, and eye movement may give you clues as to what the person is feeling. Sometimes body language speaks one message while words speak another. Ask for clarification to make sure you know what the person is really thinking and feeling.

5. Refuse to interrupt.

6. Ask reflective questions.

7. Express understanding. The person needs to know that he/she has been heard and understood.

8. Ask if there is anything you might do that would be helpful. Notice, you are asking, not telling the person what she ought to do. Never give advice until you are sure the other person wants it.

 

Do you have a friend that you always go to?  What about how they listen draws you to them?  What can we learn from their example?

continue reading
Syndicate content

Bloggers in Listening


Sign-up for the Newsletter
Sign-up for the Newsletter
Get the latest updates on relevant news topics, engaging blogs and new site features. We're not annoying about it, so don't worry.