friendship

Do You Think It's Ever Ok To Judge?

When you hear the phrase, "You are different than everyone else," what tone do you hear it in? Is it a positive thing or a negative one?

If you hear it from the loving voice of your Father, you will be strengthened to stand firm in your arena.

If you hear it through the lens of your own insecurities, you will be tempted to agree with the accuser and back off from taking your place in the world. Don't let your internal disqualifications hold you back.

Have you ever heard anyone say that comparison is bad?

Look at these two glasses. One is a mug, and the other a glass....obviously. Oops! We just compared them!

mug-glass.jpg

Did our comparing them make one of them better or more valuable than the other? Of course not. They were each made for a different purpose. If you are craving a cup of coffee you will want the mug, but if iced tea is your heart's desire you will go for the glass.

If we never compare ourselves to each other, how will we recognize and honor the unique gift mix that each person carries?

I would like to propose the idea that comparison is not bad at all. Where we get into trouble is when we turn our comparison into unrighteous judgement.

  • When we judge other people's weaknesses against our strengths we side with the accuser and fall into pride.
  • When we judge our weaknesses against other people's strengths we also side with the accuser and fall into condemnation and insecurity.

People talk about not judging, the fact is we judge all the time. Judging in and of itself isn’t bad. People don’t get upset when you judge them positively. It’s when you confront their sin that they get tend to say, "Don't judge me!"

How can you compare without judging ?

  • Believe the best.
  • Recognize the need for diversity in the body of Christ
  • Celebrate the fact that we all have different gifts, styles, and anointings
  • Remember that every position has value and importance

The word diversity has come to mean a lot of things in our culture today. Sadly people use it to affirm sinful lifestyles, but God really is a God of diversity. He doesn’t approve of sin, but He is the author of different personalities and gift mixes.

We are all different, and that's a good thing. God is not looking for clones.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body? 1 Cor 12:14-15

Which part of the body are YOU?

This post was co-written with my husband, Christopher Olson. An audio version is now available.

BOOM! And the Family Exploded...

I witnessed something curious while I was out walking the other night. It was a beautiful evening, and people were taking full advantage of it by spending as much time outside as possible. I passed a home with a school aged boy sitting on the porch, two preschool girls eating Popsicles just off the porch, and a mom standing in the driveway. Everything seemed happy and peaceful until one of the little girls walked over to mom, and said, "Mom, he (the brother) called me stupid." 

BOOM! The peaceful scene exploded. Out of seemingly nowhere the mom was on the porch yelling at the boy, who gave it right back to her. I was trying to be invisible as I walked on by, but I could hear the mom going back and forth between "Don't ever call your sister stupid," and "Stop yelling; you're embarrassing me."

The whole thing made me wonder: did the boy even call her stupid at all or was the little girl wielding her power to cause a raucous?

Whatever the case, there was an obvious breakdown in heart connection going on in at least three directions. It was sad.

I couldn't help thinking about how the enemy whispers accusations in our ears against our brothers and sisters. Whether the accusation is based on truth or not doesn't really matter, his goal is to destroy the love between us.

If he can get us fighting each other, he knows he can win every battle.

What could the mom have done differently? Maybe:

  • Tell the girl to go back to her snack and let mom deal with it.
  • Tell the girl to sincerely explain to her brother (without an audience) how his words hurt her heart. Mom may have needed to supervise/mediate.
  • Take a moment to talk to the boy alone and hear his side of the story while acknowledging the pressure that goes along with being an oldest child.
  • Not parent out of trying to avoid embarrassment.

What other ideas can you think of that might've brought peace and heart connection to the family?

What can you do when the enemy whispers an accusation in your ear directly or through gossip from a friend? Maybe:

  • Take a moment to consider the source and motivation for sharing of the information.
  • Don't participate in gossip. Quickly end the conversation.
  • Get both sides of the story.
  • Always believe the best. Even if a person's actions seem sketchy, choose to believe that they truly want to do the right thing.

What other solutions come to your mind? I would love to hear them.

Take a minute to watch the short video I made about my new book.

Friendship & Betrayal

aaeaaqaaaaaaaajkaaaajdexzgjlmdlllte2nzgtndg3yy1izdq4ltfmnze3otjjyjfjyq.jpg

  Have you ever been betrayed? In order to be betrayed you have to have loved and trusted someone deeply.

It is stunning to me that Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, but it did not hold Him back from including Judas in His inner circle and risking His heart.

I think that if I knew ahead of time that someone was going to betray me, I would not even introduce myself much less bring the person into my inner circle.

Jesus is so different from me. He blows my mind. He keeps His love turned on towards all people 100% of the time.

For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. (John 6:64b NASB)

Jesus' life illustrates this truth: even if you do everything absolutely perfectly, you will still experience rejection.

Perfection does not equal acceptance from the people around you.

You might even say that the more Christ like you become, the more you may experience rejection.

Jesus walked in confidence because His sense of self worth did not come from His companions.

When the Jews wanted to kill Him He said,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing. (John 5:19-20 NASB)

Jesus' identity was completed wrapped up in what the Father thought about Him and in living according to His Father's wishes.  

You won't be healed of your rejection by analyzing the source of your rejection but by looking at the source of your acceptance. (Bob Sorge)

Your Father loves you with the same exact love He loves Jesus with. Make living your life in Him your highest aim and the acceptance or rejection from people will lose its hold on you.

 

Any pain you have stored up in your heart from betrayal belongs to you. You can choose to own it and to let it go. Choose to let it go today!

I bless you to live in peace.

P.S.

Our family watched a movie this week that I would love to share with you. It sucked all of us in because it is a fascinating true story.  I also liked it because it shows brothers laying down their lives for each other.

I checked it out for free from our public library, but here is the link to check it out on Amazon:

The Good Lie

The Solution to Lack of Community

play-positive-attidtue-credit-public-domain.jpg

What lies do you believe that keep you from connecting with friends? I used to be held back from spending time with people because I was afraid of awkward silent moments. I felt like I was innately boring and wouldn't have anything interesting to talk about.

I found that one solution for this was to get together to do an activity. Working on a project together or playing a game can help make connecting easier.

Here are 7 tips to help you foster community and practice hospitality:

  • Practice smiling at people and looking them in the eye.
  • Practice making small talk. This doesn't come naturally to everyone, but it is the starting point for deeper conversations.
  • Don't wait until your house is perfect to invite people over for dinner. If your house is messy your guests will just feel better about their own home. You will be doing them a service.
  • Don't wait for someone to invite you for coffee. Take the first step.
  • Make a phone call or text instead of waiting for someone to call you.
  • When people make room for you in their lives, take it, even if it’s just hanging out with them and helping them with whatever project they are working on.  That may be all the time they have available, so honor it.
  • In order to make meaningful connections you must be intentional. Get out your calendar and make a plan.

YOU are the solution to lack of community!

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen. -Rod McKuen

 

A man who has friends must himself be friendly (Proverbs 18:24a NKJV)