We want straight talk. We want doctors to tell us the real problem so we know the right course of treatment. We want politicians to tell us what they really believe, not what they think will get them elected.
This doesn’t seem to carry over into our personal lives. We want everyone to agree with us all the time because then we can feel good about ourselves. How do you react when your friend reminds you it is not a... Read More
Parents really love it when their 20-something kids start settling down with a steady boyfriend or girlfriend, and they really get excited when there is engagement news. Pre-grandparents get all giggly when they envision holding a baby in their arms again.
Those feelings are understandable and natural. But parents (and grandparents) need to be careful about marriage pressure. It’s okay to want to set up your granddaughter with your friend’s handsome grandson. But accept and respect the fact that singleness... Read More
The Bible has some powerful and important words that have their own unique divine meanings within the biblical narrative that are different from everyday English usages: covenant and faith and testament, for instance. Another is grace. In secular talk, grace means fluidity of movement, poetry in motion. It means skill in manners and social behaviors, knowing the right thing to say or do in a social situation.
The core meaning of grace in the Bible, however, is an attitude of... Read More
The origin of our word motive can be traced to an old French word: motif. It conveys the idea of causing movement; an underlying stirring that pushes itself outward. Great works of music have motifs you can hear. Decorators hold their designs together with motifs you can see. God always operates with a motif you can believe in.
What moves God? The list of things that stir his heart is long, but one motif always comes through. “We know and... Read More
Sodom and Gomorrah live on in infamy. After all, when the Creator of the universe destroys your city with burning sulfur because your people are wicked, you must be really wicked. So wicked that, even thousands of years later, sins are still named after you.
Because I am prone to comparison, I used to become incredibly self-righteous when I read this story. Then one day a friend pointed out Ezekiel 16:49,50, where God tells Jerusalem, “Now this was the sin... Read More
The culture of the United States is notorious for its obsession with youth, health, beauty, and strength. That’s how we measure the worth of others; that’s how we believe that people measure ours. We fear the aging process and grieve over each new wrinkle and gray hair. We collect aging jokes, laughing nervously because we’re so afraid of becoming old, disabled and forgetful, helpless and incontinent.
There’s a better way to live. Since we know we are immortal, we don’t... Read More
Apologizing is hard work. You know what else is hard? Forgiving an apologizing spouse.
Why? Why should that be hard? Well, for one, it’s easy to suspect that the apology isn’t sincere (“I’m sorry.” “You are not!”). For another, when this isn’t the first argument on a certain misbehavior, the wounded party sees a trend and fears it will continue indefinitely. Am I enabling more of this bad behavior? For another, staying angry gives you emotional leverage. For another, staying... Read More
One of you is a neat freak, and the other doesn’t worry much about a few socks on the floor here and there. One of you is a saver; one is a spender. One is always on time; the other is much more relaxed about the clock. One of you loves noise and energy and parties, and the other loves quiet time at home. One of you is creative and passionate, which is nice, but also prone to leave a... Read More
Ever hear one of your friends say, “I have to take care of me for a change.” “It’s my time now.” “I need to be looking out for number one.” Unfortunately the people who say these things don’t mean Jesus Christ. They mean themselves.
Sinners like you and me do not need to go to grad school or subscribe to webinars on how to be selfish. We are born with software already installed and functioning. Our parents (hopefully!) slowly trained... Read More
Have you ever seen the sappy Ryan O’Neal/Ali MacGraw movie romance entitled Love Story? MacGraw played a character who was dying, and at her bedside O’Neal, choking and tearful, said he was sorry. MacGraw then unloaded a line that has done a lot of damage to relationships and marriages everywhere: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Apologizing is hard work. Apologizing and changing your behaviors is even harder, and what makes it so hard is pride. Dating and... Read More