Character Development

This section is on Character Development

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The Connectiveness of Life

 

No thing that we do is an action by itself, but is a part of our total being. Everything in life is connected. Each thing we do is a step in some direction. We need to life our eyes and look beyond out step of today to see where the path leads. In addition, one should be honest about what is deep inside. Why are we drawn to unnatural

Our Pride Keeps Us Immature

Our pride keeps us blind to our own faults and immature. It is only through seeing our own weaknesses and correcting them that we start to grow towards maturity. An immature person will get angry if you call her immature, and yet that very anger is a strong indicater of her immaturity. Compare the response of a more mature person. When you point a character defect of a maturing person, she will be thankful and will begin correcting it.

The truth is that we all are immature in one way or another. Maturity is not static horizontal line. We don't mature evenly in all areas at the same tims

Flat Mature Level

Instead, our maturity could be viewed as as Variable Maturity level chart.

Varied Muture Level

Some levels we may be (seemingly) vey mature in, and in other areas we may be very immuture in.

Any areas that we get angry about, refuse to change, or are blind to are areas in our life that we stay immature in.

The virtues are the areas that help us to mature. As we improve in each of the virtures, we become more mature.  Conversely, if we stay selfish, angry, etc., we stay or become more immature.

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Repentance: Can We Really Change?

 

It may be hard for a young person to truly understand what repentance is. It's common for many people to think "I'm not all that bad. I don't need to make changes in my life. For the most part I'm really OK. I just did this one wrong thing.

Some people's view of repentance and forgiveness could be something like, "I said that I was sorry and I won't do it again. Now can I go back to what I was doing before?" The focus is on getting back to what he was doing before, rather than realizing that he was on a wrong path and needs to make some major changes. He needs to change the way he thinks as well as his behavior.

 

Another variance is saying, "I decided to change. That was the way I used to be. I'm not that way any more." Are permanent changes made in our lives that quick and simple? Yes, and no. Yes, it is simple, but it's not easy. More to follow.

How can you tell if someone's repentance is real or not? To put it simply, they are thinking and acting differently than they used to. They have closed the door on their previous life.
 
Look at the Four R's of Repentance down near the bottom of this page. Now, let's look at the mechanics of successfully making changing in one's life. Let's first look at habits. Our dailly behavior is largely directed by our habits. We may think or hope that we only have good habits. But what do we do if we have a bad habit?

 

We'd all like to think that we can instantly stop a bad habit. Author Gretchen Rubin says, 

"First, when it comes to developing a bad habit, two repetitions is probably enough. Order a doughnut with your coffee on Monday morning and Tuesday morning, and you’ll probably find it very hard to resist ordering a doughnut on Wednesday."1

It seems that it's much harder to start a good habit than to stop a bad habit. About starting a good habit "The Guardian" feature writer Oliver Burkeman makes this assessment:

"Everyone knows that it takes 28 days to develop a new habit, or perhaps 21, or 18, depending on who you ask; anyway, the point is that it's a specific number, which makes it sound scientific and thus indisputably true. We probably owe this particular example of pop-psychology wisdom to Maxwell Maltz, the plastic surgeon who wrote the 60s bestseller Psycho-Cybernetics. ....

This is, of course, poppycock and horsefeathers, as a new study by the University College London psychologist Phillippa Lally and her colleagues helps confirm. On average, her subjects, who were trying to learn new habits such as eating fruit daily or going jogging, took a depressing 66 days before reporting that the behaviour had become unchangingly automatic. Individuals ranged widely – some took 18 days, others 245 – and some habits, unsurprisingly, were harder than others to make stick: "2

 

How do we change a behavior pattern?

An event is a one time thing. A pattern is someting that we do repeately, it has become a part of who we are. It controls our thinking and behaviors.

In order to change a pattern we must identify and confess what the pattern is. Confession is NOT just at token "I did something wrong here and now I need to change it."

One of the huge struggles that people go through is they don't want to look deeply at their sin. What must be realized is that our destructive or inappropriat behavior pattern, which I'll call sin, is the enemy.

there are three parts of sin that we must recognize. Part one is the"act that we did". This is the easy part. This the part that most people can admit to.

The second part is the reason that we did the act. For instance, we were hurt earlier in our lives, so we want to hurt others. Or we were lacking something and now we want an excess of that thing. For instance, some people barely had enough food and went hungry many times as a child. Now, as an adult they hoard food and may overeate and become obese. This is inappropriate desire that is a part of who we are.

The third part is our self-centered core, our "sinful heart". A sinful heart means that we desire to do what is sinful, self-centered and prideful. We want what we want, and we want it now. This is the part that is hardest for people to admit, even to themselves. This is the part that we keep covered up and don't want anyone to know about. It often takes a lot of growth for people to begin to open up and confess, "yes, I am immature, self-centered...."

How do we change?

Although the follow process is laid out sequencially, it is really cyclical. For example, we first get a little bit of awareness, ususally through the consequences of our behavior. As we begin to see that we are loved (which stays with us through the entire process.) We see with that love a new way of living. We begin to compare that love and the new way of living with our own lives. We begin to be aware that we haven't been behaving correctly. If we are genuine about the process, that should lead to self-disgust.  Then that should lead to confession, and then to genuine repentance. At each stage we look back and look deeper into the previous steps, which lead us deeper.

Experience True Love and Acceptance

Without true (Agape) love we bawk at the process of change. We are afraid we will be condemned and cast out.

Awareness

Many people have a realization that they need to change. They may even say, "I need to change this". But they are stuck in their destructive cycles. They keep doing the same things over and over again.

For example, If you a driving to visit someone and are going the opposite way as you intended, you won't want to change directions until you realize that you are going the wrong way.

Before we can have progress, we need to be truly aware that what we are doing isn't working and that we need to do something differently.

True awareness will bring about Self-Discust

Self Disgust

 

Confession

Awareness and confession are interactive. The more deeply you confess, the more aware you become, which leads you to an even deeper and more real confession, which brings about a fuller awareness, and so on.

We can only be set free to the extent that we are willing to be vulnerable and true and 

Who should you confess to? If you confess to someone who thinks of themselves as good, who has never admitted that they have done anything bac, then they find your confess repulsive. So they may reject you.

A true confession should be made to someone who is familiar with th...... This could be a trained counselor or an older person who has made mistakes and then made deep changes in their lives. These people will applaud your honesty. The truth is that some of these people already know many of your "secrets" by watching your behavior. They also know what is inside of man. They have been honest with themselves about their own destructive desires, and so can recognize the traits within others.

"there is therefor now no condemnation for those who are in Christ," Rom 8:1

 

Repentance

As it has been said by others, repentance means that you have been going one way and you change to go another.

But, until you truly become aware of your ... and you truly and genuinely confess, yoiu can have no true repentance. Your repentance will only be as deep as your awareness and your confession.

True repentance includes,

Removing oneself from bad influences.

Having a plan

Let's look at the term "remorse"

"There’s a big difference between having remorse because you were caught, as opposed to before you were caught.  Most people just say “Sorry,” because they were caught, and not because they have actual remorse for doing something wrong.  In other words, their “Sorry,” actually means “Geez, I’m soooo sorry I was caught,” which is vastly different from “Oh, I’m soooo sorry I hurt someone.”3

DeBorrah K. Ogans is a licensed Pastoral Counselor and ordained minister has this to say about repentance:

"Repentance is when one is truly sorry for a wrong action. Sincere repentance causes one to change their sinful direction. Genuine regret will facilitate a move towards Godly direction. It does not mean to say you are sorry then commence to repeat or express the same previous behavior. ...... True repentance impacts one to the point that the desire to modify their actions overrides the once prescribed behavior.

When one has compulsive behaviors their ability to relinquish such behavior may not immediately manifest. But admitting to oneself that their behavior needs modification is a favorable inception. The process to extinguish compulsive behaviors can sometimes be lengthy. However, the benefits yield self-control. Self- examination is a prerequisite on the road to recovery. Remember nothing is impossible with God."4

The Four R's of Repentance

Dr. Laura Schlessinger has this to say about repentance:

Repentance has four parts:

  1. Taking Responsibility for your actions. We must recognize that we have done wrong. (owning what you’ve done and giving no excuses or blaming others for your own actions),
  2. Feeling Remorse (i.e., being truly regretful for the hurt caused), We must have true remorse for doing wrong and for the pain and problems we've caused.
  3. Do Not Repeat behavior. We must be committed never to repeat the act regardless of the temptations or situation.
  4. Repair: The fourth and probably the most difficult is to repair the damage we've done, or at least do what we can to apologize directly to the injured party. (for example, going to the Humane Society and/or giving talks to change people’s minds and hearts about how they treat animals

  Those are the Four R’s of Repentance."3 

When someone goes through these four R's with sincerity, I believe you have the obligation to forgive even if the trust is not yet re-established. And, as to that trust, there is an old Arabic saying: "Forgive, but tie up your camel."5

 

The Islamic community says this about repentance

The Conditions for Repentanceare well known:

  • Leaving the sin;
  • Remorse over having committed the sin;
  • Resolve never to return to the sin;
  • (If it relates to the rights of another person, then to) Return the rights or property one wrongly took.6

These conditions of repentance are very similar to the 4 R's of repentance that Dr. Laura mentions above.

Changing One's behavior

When we only change our behavior to get a desired result, it is destined to fail.  Because life rarely goes the way that we want it to. Then, when we don't get what we wanted, we go back to acting the way the we did before. The truth is that we never changed. We were only pretending to change to get what we wanted.

True change is about us realizing that we are the ones causing the problems. We are at fault and we need to change no matter what the circumstances may be.

The first step is, without any prodding from others, admitting to ourselves, and then to others, I was wrong. I was at fault. I will not do that again. I will act differently in the future.

But, just having that realization doesn't not bring about change in us. We must be proactive in our desire to change. We must think deeply about our failure, what caused us to fail, why did we act that way? This is often a deep and painful work, and few people want to be this real. But assuming that we do, then we need to

Unless we understand and experience God's deep love for us, and realize that he doesn't condemn us, then.....

 

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Two Self-Defeating Lies We Tell

TWO LIES WE TELL OURSELVES & OTHERS
1. "I'm working on it" often said about our character defects
2" "I'm doing my best"
These are both used as excuses to Not Change and to Not do better.
We also say those things as an excuse to get other people "off our backs."
The truth is we either ARE doing something or NOT doing something.

Thoughtfulness

What is thoughtfulness? Why is thoughtfulness important? How do we become more thoughtful?

Thoughtfulness could be defined simply as "thinking about things". That's pretty vague, so let's define it a little more. Let's first look at the Webster Dictionary definition of the word "thoughtful"

Definition of THOUGHTFUL
1
a : absorbed in thought : meditative
b : characterized by careful reasoned thinking <a thoughtful essay>
2
a : having thoughts : heedful <became thoughtful about religion>
b : given to or chosen or made with heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others <a kind and thoughtful friend>
— thought·ful·ly adverb
— thought·ful·ness noun

As we can see, being thoughtful is more than just having thoughts. Being thoughtful means that you don't just act impulsively or emotionally, but insteady you take time to think about the implications and the affects of any of your actions.

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Being Thoughtful in Our Daily Lives

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Thoughtfulness In Playing Games

On the first Friday of each month we open our home to our friends, neighbors and people from church who want to come over and play table games. Last night was game night at our house. Our living room and kitchen were filled with food,  tables, chairs, games, and people. It was a lot of fun.

During the earlier part of the night I had been playing another game. After that game ended, I looked around at what the others in the room were playing to see if there was some game I could join. 

For much of the night many people played a fun game called "What am I?" In the game you had a word written by someone else taped to your forehead. Then you'd ask other people in the game yes-and-no questions so that you could guess your word. For example, some of the questions might be similar to, "Am I a living thing?" or "Am I an animal?" or "Am I larger than a house?" or "Am I in this room?"

This game caused me some concern. In the game many of the people had very common words, such as apple, key chain, and horse on their foreheads. Three of the words (amoeba, Butterfingers, and bunion) concerned me because they were either uncommon or hard to guess. I wondered if the writers of the words had given any thought about how the people guessing the words would be affected. For example, how many people would even think of an amoebe, let alone know how to describe it. Then we have "Butterfingers", the name of a specific candy. Think of how many kinds of candy are made. Once a person might eventually guess "candy", how much longer would it take to guess the name of that specific candy. Lastly, let's look at the word "bunion". Who uses this word nowadays in regular conversation? How many people can clearly explain what it is? I had to look up the definition in a dictionary. Now let's think about the affects of the words upon the players. If a person receives a word that is very hard to guess, she might have that same word for the entire night and never be able to guess it. How would that make her feel?

When I saw those words on three heads, I suggested to the group they have guidelines about what type of words that they use. My thought was to use common everyday words (instead of very little used words like amoebe), words that are generic rather than specific (such as candy, rather than Butterfingers), and words that most people can guess in a reasonable amount of time. Some thought should be given to the words, rather than just the first word that comes into one's head. However, one of the men spoke out, "It is fine, we are just having fun." Since no one else said anything and I wasn't involved in the game, I let it drop. But I've been giving it a lot of thought since then. This brings me to the thought of having rules in games.

Some children and people often like to play spontaneous games with no clear rules. They don't want to define the game in advance. But, every game, even an impromptu game, has rules. They are either known or unknown, spoken or unspoken, thought out nor not. Without thoughtfulness, these rules can be fair or unfair. When they are not clearly stated in the beginning, then they are often dictated by the most dominant personalities within any situation. ******

When multiple people play a new game that only has vague rules, each person has a general sense of how the game should go, even if they haven't thought about it. In other words, each person has a subconscious set of rules that govern their sense of what is right and wrong. In a game with no apparent rules, there are still rules which haven't been clarified or expressed. This type of game may often follow the inner rules of the most dominant and outspoken person in the game. This person may control the flow of the game. If he is immature, then he may (subtly or obviously) direct the course of the game to his liking or to his advantage. The seeming "lack of rules" (which are actually hidden rules) can and often does cause injured feelings and damaged relationships.

Some games, such as this "What am I" game, seem to be governed by whatever gets the most laughs. There is nothing wrong with playing games that cause people to laugh a lot. That is a lot of fun. However, often times the things that embarrass others gets the most laughs. Those who are laughing sometimes don't think about how their laughing may affect other people. This may be caused by a lack of thoughtfulness.

Thoughtfulness is the act of giving advance thought to one's actions or behaviors. Consideration is the act of considering how one's actions will affect other people. To be kind to others, even in a game situation, we must thinking about how the flow of the game affects everyone in the game.

When people play a predefined game, such as a card game or a board game, (hopefully) the rules of the game have already been thought out and written in a way to be thoughtful and considerate of all the players.

In human interactions, such as playing games, advance thought should be given to what we do and how others would be affected. This would prevent or minimize wounding those around us. But, more than that, we need to think about how to bless others in all that we do.

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When You Borrow Something

Special considerations need to be considered before you borrow anything . It's not as simple as just using one of your own items. You need to take better care of a borrowed item.

Recently, when we went tent camping with our church group, I loaned my hammer to one of our friends who was camping  next to us. While he has using the hammer, he bent the hammer handle. He promptly told/showed me what he had done and said that he would replace it. Later that day he left camp, went to a hardware store, and bought me a better hammer than I had loaned to him. Needless to say, I would have no qualms about loaning him something else in the future.

In a second incident I loaned our canopy to someone to protect them from the rain. (We had wanted such a canopy for years but could never afford it, until recent years). When we loaned it to them the canopy was clean, neat and dry in its case. When the canopy was returned it was placed in our front porch, wet and standing up, for us to deal with. Later that night I brought it into our house and tried to spread it out so that it could dry. But for some reason it would not spread out easily as it usually does. It seemed to be binding up somewheres. Upon closer examination I saw that the frame was bent. (See drawings below) It was "out of square" by 6 inches when the corners are 33 inches apart. That means that it would be 17 inches out of square when the canopy is set up at 8 feet. (I got my square and measured it.) The problem with having a canopy be bent is that it affects the mechanisms so that they don't open and close as easily as before, even when they are straightened.

        

Relationships

When you borrow anything from another person you draw upon the relationship that you have with that person.

How you borrow something can either enhance and strengthen a relationship or damage the relationship. For example, when you borrow something, if you take great care to guard it and carefully use it, and return the item back in excellent shape, the relationship is enhanced. Many of us enjoy loaning our items to friends. However, on the other hand, if the item comes back dirty, or damaged (especially with no explanation from the loanee) the relationship is damaged. Therefore, before borrowing anything, carefully think through what are your obligations and responsibilities, both to the item and to the owner.

Your relationship with the owner of an will be affected by how you care for the item when it is in your care and how you return it.

When you borrow and item

When you borrow something it's very easy to only think about the use for which you want to borrow the item . And not to give much thought to your obligations and responsibilities to the item and the owner of the item that you borrowed . This is article is written to help you understand what your obligations are when you borrow an item.

First you should know that when you borrow anything you are taking on a commitment and an obligation. You are committing to carefully watch over it the entire time that you have it and then returning the item in at least as good a shape as when you borrowed it.

One thing that you need to realize is that if the item gets lost or damaged you all responsible to get it repaired (with the owner's permission) or replace it with a comparable item of the same or higher value.

When you borrow anything you should watch over it the whole time that you have it AND do all that is in your power to bring it back in at least as good of condition and packaged as well as when you borrowed it. You should bring it back clean, dry, and (if applicable) all neatly packaged or folded. You should not put extra work on the owner to repair, clean up,  and dry out what you borrowed.

Time Frame

Set a definite time of when you will borrow the item and when you will bring it back. Make sure that you bring it back on time, and in good condition.

Instructions

One consideration is if the item has any moving parts or operates in any way you need to ask for any special instructions about how it operates . You may even want to have the owner show you how it operates, then you can try it to make sure you know how. Listen carefully to anything that the owner may say about the use of the item. If you are too proud to listen to instructions, do not borrow the item. Go rent or buy something that will do the job.

Before the item is borrowed

Before any item is loaned out or borrowed, both parties should thoroughly inspect the item, including all working or moving parts. This will confirm to both of you as to the condition of the item. If applicable and possible, pictures should also be taken of the various parts of the item.

Special Instructions for Use

If the item has any working or moving parts, the …. borrower should ask if there are any special instructions.

When the item is returned

When the item(s) is returned, don’t just drop it off and go. To verify that the item came back in an undamaged condition both you and the owner should promptly thoroughly inspect the item, including all the moving or working parts. You should check out everything to make sure that all is in correct working order. By doing this right away, it prevents there being hurt feelings:

  • of the borrower thinking that he is falsely accused of damage that may have occurred after he returned the item,

  • Or the owner thinking that the item was damaged while it was loaned out, although it may have been damaged after it was returned.)

If the item is damaged

If you damage something do not try to fix it yourself without permission from the owner, however you should research where and how it can be repaired . With owner approval, you may take it to a professional and have them fix it . You should offer to have it fixed , but you should not proceed without the owner's permission.

Some types of damage affect the strength and operation of the whole unit. Other types of damage can be easily repaired by replacing the damaged part(s) and will then afterwards as good or better than before.

There are usually two motives for getting something fixed after you damage something.

  • The first motive is to have the damaged item repaired in a professional manner or replaced. This involves having the courage and honesty to disclose to the owner what happened and to show him the damage . It is up to him whether he wants to live with a repaired damaged item, let you have it repaired, or if he wants another undamaged item in exchange.

  • The second motive is to try to hide that damage from the owner. This often involves  a hasty job, hoping that the owner will not see the damage . This leaves the property in hidden damaged condition.

 

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Forgiveness

What does it mean to forgive? What is forgiveness? In Christianity we are told to "forgive", but what does that mean? We are also told that if we do something wrong to someone, then we should go ask for forgiveness. But in truth, when a person is asking for forgiveness,what are they asking for? Let me make it simple. How would you ask for forgiveness WITHOUT using the word "forgive". Let me give it a try. Would this be an equivelant of asking for forgiveness, "Please pretend like I didn't do anything wrong, pretend like I didn't hurt you, and don't hold any illwill towards me. Treat me as though I had never done anything wrong to you. AND if you don't "forgive" me, YOU will be the unspiritual person, you will be the one who is wrong."

If we were to say those words to a person we have wronged, how utterly repulsive and despictable that would be. To heap all that garbage on someone we have already injured. To ask them to put aside all their feelings of anger and hurt towards us would be unthinkable.

Here is one problem with the world's (or Christianity's) view of forgiveness. It does nothing to change the offender. If anything, all "forgiveness" (in the typical sense) does is to set the offender free from the consequences of his behavior.

I propose that we look at the process of forgiveness. There are two parts of forgiveness:

Part One is to set the offender free from the power of sin in his life. (Only God can do this, but the offender can do his part.) Truly forgiving is taking away the offender's desire to sin, which includes putting away his pride by showing who and what he really is. This involves confession (closely examining oneself and confessing ones deepest darkest fears and sins.) It involves getting a trusted mature friend or a good counselor to help him examine his immature and hurtful thinking patterns and immature behaviors. This is a process that can take months or years. It involves a complete transformation of the offender  so that he no long is an offender. It involves the offender making restitution, as much as in his power, to those whom he had harmed. In doing so, he should have no expectations from the people he has harmed. he should in no way ever ask for forgiveness of those whom he has injured. To ask for forgiveness would be to injure them again. Asking for forgiveness is often an attempt by the offender to escape the consequences of his actions. Instead the offender should repent (permanently change the way that he thinks and behaves. This is a long process, but over a period of time the changes slowly begin to  take shape as the offender develops new thinking pattern, new habits, and new behaviors.

The Second Part of forgiveness involves the injured party letting go of the anger and ill will that she has against the offender. There are two paths to being able to truly forgive another.

  • One path often naturally follows Part One, that of the offender becoming a new person. As the injured party sees the offender acting responsibily over a long period of time the anger can slowly melt away. This can take many months or years. Sometimes some people are not ready to let go of the anger or illwill that they feel against the offender. For some people it takes time, even a lot of time. We should not pressure them to forgive.
  • The other path involves the injured party making a decision to forgive (not hold illwill towards) the offender. This person realizes that holding anger or bitterness towards someone is harmful to oneself, so she lets it go.
  • This does not mean that she should not hold the offender accountable for his actions. Instead, true forgiveness often involves holding the offender accountable while at the same time letting go of the anger and bitterness. As has been said by someone else"“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." We let go of the anger and bitterness towards our offenders because holding onto them damages us. Holding onto anger and bitterness towards another turns us into the very type of person that we abhor. Even as we struggle to let go of our rage, we can still call the police or other authorities to report the crime that was committed against us. If the offender escapes consequences, then he is left in the power of his offending behavior. Going the consequences of his behavior is part of the path of setting him free from his bondage, which causes him to hurt people.

Some people are not at a place where they can just instantly let go of their anger and truly forgive someone who has hurt them deeply. Don't try to coerse them into "forgiving" someone before they are ready because you would injure them again. Their anger at what the offender did is a very natural feeling.

Other people are deeply offended at the idea of a horrendous murderer or someone who has caused great harm just being let off scott free. Their sense of justice cries out against someone who has hurt many others should escape being punished severely. Part of the reason they may feel this way is that they don't believe people should be able to escape punishment and they don't believe that people can truly change.

The Nature of the Offense

When we look at the topic forgiveness, we also need to look at the the nature of the harm or offense.

The Injury or Offense

Was the offense a one time event that was out of character for the offender. Is the offender normally a responsible virtuous person who made a mistake? Did he try his best to repair or rectify the damage or mistake?

Or was the offense made by an offender who has a habit and a history of habitually hurting people and not doing anything to repair or replace what was damaged? Does he typically get angry whenever confronted about his behavior?

Asking Forgiveness

When I was in counseling, my counselor told us clients not to ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness victimizes the victim again.

We who have offended or injured someone want to be forgiven of things that we have done. We don't  want to have to experience the consequences of our behavior. However, God sends the consequences of our behavior upon us to set us free from our offending behavior. How often, when we have sinned, and then "ask for forgiveness" are we "offended" and sometimes "outraged" becaue the offended party didn't forgive us.

One of the hardest things for us to do is to look deep within, to look beyond the "sinful act" that we did and to see our ingrained pattern of offending people. That offending behavior and thinking pattern is called sin.

We may try to comfort ourselves by saying "God loves me just as I am", but in reality, God loves us in spite of who we are. But, even more, God lovesus so much that he wants to change us from the inside out so that we might become like his own son.

We want the offended party to just forgive us because we said that we are sorry and have asked "plese forgive me." However, true forgiveness (from the offended party) is based upon that person "seeing and experiencing" (over a long period of time) a permanent change in behavior from the offender. True forgiveness doesn't have to be asked for. (Does it really say any place in the bible to "ask" for forgiveness? But, rather, true forgiveness is a natural bi-product of an ongoing change of behavior of the offender. Forgiveness doesn't have to be requested, but it is naturally given. This is a process that can take years.

Modern day forgiveness ("ask for forgiveness and "poof!" "No consequences.") doesn't work, there are no lasting results.

Any parent who has successfully raised responsible children knows that a child must consistantly experience the consequences of his behavior in order to have a permanent change in behavior.

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Will You Forgive me?

 

When forgiveness is requested, the focus isn't on where it needs to be. When there is an ongoing problem, forgiveness is not the issue. Repairing of the damages and a change of behavior by the offender is what is needed. When there is a genuine change, then forgiveness is often a natural result of the changed behavior. But that often takes time (sometimes months and years). The longer the offense has been ongoing, and the greater the offence, the longer time that is needed for true forgiveness to occur, if it ever happens.

Christ tells us to forive. But does he ever tell us to ask for forgiveness? I can think of no place where christs or the apostles ever told the offending party to ask for forgiveness. Now in the case of Onesimus, Paul did make a request on the behalf of a runaway slave to his master. But the slave did not ask for forgiveness himself. Also, it appears that Onesimus went through a change and ...

You Can't Ask For True Forgiveness.

True forgiveness is something that only comes about over a period of time, if the right factors are involved. It involves a true and lasting change in the life of the offender AND also involves the offended party seeing the changes over a long period of time and realizing that the changes are real.

All to often the offender goes to the person he offended and asks, "Please forgive me." Now Stop! When an offender asks for forgiveness, what is he asking for? If he were to ask for forgiveness without using that word, what would he ask? Perhaps something like this. "Please pretend like I never hurt you. Put it out of your mind and treat me like you did before. Let's put the relationship back to what it was like before." Do you see what I see? This form of asking for forgiveness requires nothing of the offender. The whole thing is put on the back of the offended party. Then, when you add the supposed "Christian duty" to forgive someone, things get even more tricky. The offended party may try to forgive the other person, but finds that her forgiveness often isn't real. It's not real because its not true forgiveness the .... of forgiveness aren't present. The offender has not done anything to genuinely make changes in his life so that he no longer offends people. There has not been sufficient time (often it requires many years) for the offender to get well established in his (presumed) new behaviors and thinking patterns.

In reality, when an someone offends another person the relationship is permanently changed. It can never be what it was before. However a new relationship can be built based upon truth.

You Can't Rush Forgiveness

It takes however long it takes, if it comes at all. The length of time that it takes to offended party to forgive may vary from person to person. The more devasting the offense the longer it may take the offended party to forgive, if she is ever able to forgive.

If you are the offender, put aside all thoughts of desiring to be forgiven. These thoughts are all self-serving, which is what caused you to hurt her/him in the first place. As long as you are wanting to be forgiven you will be putting on a show, that isn't real, to impress the offended person. Instead, your thoughts need to be turned towards living a permanent honorable and virtuous life. Try to repair or fix everything that you have done wrong. In addition, live you life in a way that is honorable, truthful, and noble. Do your best in all situations. Treat everyone honestly, kindly, and compassionately. Remember, you won't do it perfectly. You may often fail. That is of no matter. Every time you fail at living honorably, get back up and try again, and again, and again. NEVER give up. With time you will get better at living virtuously.

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When You Have Harmed Someone, Don't Ask For Forgiveness

 

When you apologize, you should say "I am wrong. I did this (clearly explain what you did) I was at fault."  When I was going to Overeaters Anonymous we used the Big Book of the AA. One big lesson that I learned that in any argument both parties were to confess or apologize for what they personally had done wrong. They were not to think about what the other person had done wrong,

Think about asking for forgiveness. Without using the word "forgive", how would you ask to be forgiven. When you are asking for forgiveness, what are you really asking for? It seems to me that when a persons asks for forgiveness, he is really asking, "Please pretend like I never hurt you. Don't hold any ill feelings towards me and treat me well. The purpose is so that I won't feel condemned by you and so that I can feel good about myself again."

In this prideful society it is so common to think only of oneself and what "I" want. Asking for forgiveness is a self-centered request. It is an act of asking to not be held accountable for one's wrongful actions. When you ask for forgiveness you are asking something from the offended party that she may not be ready to do.

True forgiveness follows a change in behavior of the offender that is demonstrated and proven over a long period of time. It may take months or years. True forgiveness is not an instant action.

If you have harmed someone, as much as you are able, repair the harm that you causes: repay what was taken, replace what was lost, repair what was damaged. If it will take a long time do accomplish, do it anyway. Do this with no expectation for applause. This is merely your duty and should be done because it is the right thing to do.

Jesus said to forgive. He did NOT say to ASK for forgiveness.

It doesn't matter who is right or wrong. It is your responsibility for fix the Disturbance. "Realizing that a disturbance is your responsibility is a giant step towards emotional maturity1." "Take full responsibility for the offense, without sharing the blame with anyone else, and without presenting mitigating circumstances"2

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The Art of Confessing or Apologizing

Whenever we hurt or affend another, it is so easy to not want to be seen as the guilty party. We may say something like, "I'm sorry for hurting you, BUT, I didn't hit you that hard OR, the offense that I did to you wasn't that bad. YOU are making a big do about nothing." Often this is subtle attempt to get the blame off of us and to transfer at least part of the blame to the other party.
As a parent, one thing that I am learning, is when I apologize, I only focus on what I did that was wrong. Even if the other party was (in my mind) as much or more to blame than myself, I only confess to what I did, without mentioning anything at all about what I think that the other person did.

An apology or a confession that says or implies, even to the smallest degree, that someone else is partly or largely to blame is a hollow confession. It is our subtle attempt to get the focus off of us and onto the other party.

Our confession is about our own inner cleansing. It is about taking full responsibility for our own behavior. It is also deeply connected with our practice of humility.

If someone else has offended us, that should be dealt with at a different time. Whenever someone has offended or hurt us, we need to deal with it promptly so that their offence doesn't get intertwined with our own behavior later on.

 

Defusing Pride

Restoring Relationships

Self Examination

Any time that we even remotely involved in or associated with an argument or disagreement, we need to step aside and examine our own thoughts, motives and actions. For example, recently my two children were involved in fight of sorts. I went out to take care of it. After letting them both tell me both sides, I was overly zealous to correct the one I thought was at greater fault. The child I was correcting and I both were at odds with each other. It was only after I had stepped away from it and went for a walk that I realized that I was at fault for the way I had handled the child. I could have made an excuse that the child was really at fault. But I knew that I had to set the example. I took time to examine what I had done wrong. Then, when I got back home, I told the child, "My behavior was wrong. I was too harsh and judgemental when I spoke to you earlier...." After I had finished apologizing, my child also apologized to me as well. I'd had that happen a number of times. It seems that I have to be the one to apologize first, then the other person will often also apologize also.

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Looking past the Offense

Tonight my son was playing with our new 2 1/2 month old puppy. I think that my son may have played a little rough with the puppy because the puppy either bit or clawed my 12 year old son. I didn't see it happen, but my son came and showed me the scratch, which was about 3 or 4 inches long, on his arm.

As I thought back about this incident it would be very easy to see the dog as being an offender (biting or clawing, etc.) and to begin to treat the dog as a bad dog. This would become a kind of self-fullfilling prophecy. When you treat an animal, or even a person, as a bad personality, then it could easily drive it into being that kind of person/animal. This is where the power of forgiveness comes into play.

Forgiveness is not looking at the "offender" as evil, or a sinner, or as an offender. But it is looking past the offence to see the person or animal as a person of value. It is looking at the person as who they will become. It is also treating it with respect and dignity, honoring the person and helping him to become who they were meant to be.

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Ongoing Forgiveness

Throughout the course  of each day their are countless... that occur that can build resentment and bitterness. The process of forgiveness is monitoring and being constantly aware of our thinking. As each event happens that triggers a pain or ... response, then we consciously let it go. Whenever we feel hurt and want to withdraw, we instead reach out in kindness. With each .... we disarm it by proactively acting contrary to our emotions. We think kind thoughts and proactively do some acts of kindness to those who hurt us. To be .... much of the pain we receive comes from our own minds. Much of the hurt we receive from others is of our own imaginations.

It is so easy to build up tiny resentments which can damage relationships. To disarm the resentment we continually let go of our "rights" to be treated as we imagine. It is a matter of "dying to self" moment by moment of each day.

Forgiving others is not a one-time act, but an ongoing process. It is a way of continually acting with humility, not expecting to be the center of everyone's universe.

 A lot of the pain that we experience is because of our incorrect focus. We think of ourselves and of our "rights" of what others "should" do for us or how they "should" act towards us. Then we are constantly dissappointed or angered because we perceive that others are not meeting our needs.

Where is our attention focused? Is it focused on what I "should" be receiving, or on how I can serve others?


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We've Been Forgiven

Tell about the cell phone

We've already been forgiven. The reason that we still live as captives to sin and keep on sinning is that we don't know that we've been forgiven. In addition, we don't understand or don't realize what forgiveness means. It means that we have been set free from the power of sin. But it also means that we have to walk in that freedom. Every person is different, the path to experiencing that freedom may be different for each person.

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Virtue

These are the four virtures that my counselor suggested that I live by.

Compassion: Learn to care about others, look for opportunities to help and to serve.

Responsibility: Just do what's right & keep my word.

Humility: Know myself for who I am, think of others as better than myself.

Chastity: Keep myself pure; don't think or act deviantly; think well of and bless others.

 

 

 

Submission

What does it mean to submit?

In our struggle to be free and independent we often think that we want to be totally free, to call our own shots, to live our lives without anyone or anything else having any control over us. In reality, we will always be subject to rules and regulations. For example, we might say that we have to submit to the law of gravity. In reality we are subject to the law of gravity whether we willingly submit or if we (think that we) won't submit. For example, we can't walk of the edge of a cliff and expect to just keep walking.

In many ways, submission is much more refined and simpler. For example, I don't do anything major unless my wife is in agreement. If she says no, I can either (over a period of time) take more time to more clearly and truthfully (with no manipulation) explain what I wanted. However, if after all my explanations she still doesn't agree, then I'll just put it aside.

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Hold onto your principles.

 If we are not careful, the process of desensitization can have a large negative effect on our course in life. This is the process of slowly and gradually eroding your principles and values. Many enticing things come along to try to get you to put your wants first above your principles and your honor.

It’s presumably easy enough to say that  “I won’t do that bad thing over there!”. But if we make one “tiny” exception at a  time, over a period of time our collection of “tiny exceptions” add up to a very large deviance from Integrity. Just taking one “tiny” at a time often takes us down the wrong road so that we are going far beyond that “bad thing”  which we said we’d never do. Then we justify and make excuses to try to cover up our behavior.

Each time we take a tiny step away from our values we justify it to ourselves in saying, i.e., A girl might think that "the neckline’s only 1 inch lower than my last blouse", or "the hem is only 1 inch higher than my last skirt." Slowly, bit by bit, the necklines get lower and the hems get higher. Slowly the girl's sense of modesty is eroding away without her paying any head. OR to give another example, in the case of music, we might say, this song only has one or two questionable words. Then later, we think, this next song only has a few more questionable words. Slowly, we take a seemingly "tiny" step further than we did before. We don't realize that we are getting further and further away from the true standard. Eventually we find ourselves listening to lyrics that should make shocked at what we are doing.

It often looks like we are “going after that which we want”, while all the  time we are slowly drifting away from our principles and values. We need to firmly set clear boundaries, to put our line clearly in the sand and say “I will not cross that line.” We need to examine and clarify what those values mean to us?

The truth is that our boundaries keep us safe. They keep us from doing many things, things that we think that we want at the time.

For our ethics to stand the test of time, we have to put our principles and values up as the defining guideline BEFORE our likes or dislikes. How many times do we make a decision because “I like it” OR “I HAVE TO make this exception or I won’t be able to participate.” We don’t realize that every time we make a tiny exception to our values “so that we won’t be inconvenienced”, then we are saying that our values don’t mean anything. Our immediate wants or conveniences are more  important than our character.

Want-based Choices Versus Character Based Choices

Many seemingly inviting situations come our way throughout the course of our lives. The manner and method we use in choosing what to do is more important than the actual choice we make. The manner in which we make the choices builds or erodes the quality of our character. Although there may be may methods to make choices, here we will focus on just these two: Our wants versus our character.

Want-Based Choices

Using a want-base choice system, our immediate wants take top priority. We will do anything or give up anything to obtain what we want. If we have to compromise our principles "a little" to get what we want, that's not really a big deal. After all, we got what we wanted. We don't notice that with each "little bit" of our principles that we give up, our character keeps eroding, until......

Character-Based Choices

Using a Character-based choice system we put maintaining our character first. We base each and every choice on our integrity, virtues, honor, and the quality of our character. We realize that everything we do in life, and all the choices that we make, either strengthens or erodes our character. When we put our principles first, we will only do the things that we can do without compromise. We draw the line in the sand and will not cross over it.

Additional Notes

 

Making Wise Choices
Put something in your mind above you. It can be your view of God..
Make all of your decisions subject to .... Virtue and honor, or your... goal
When we make decisions that are based only on the emotion of the moment, that leads us towards a destructive path.
 
For example, in deciding what type of clothes to purchase, you can either put your desire...
I would suggest that you put the virtues, honor, & integrity as the measuring stick for all of your decisions. For example, when looking for a dress, slacks, skirt, blouse, etc. Examine every desired purchase in the light of those principles. Ask yourself, is this blouse chaste (cause men to think horable and noble thoughts about you) or will it cause men to think sexual thoughts about you.
One might say, "whatever they think they will think anyway." However, we have a duty to "NOT put a stumbling block in front of anyone and to not cause anyone to sin."

Perseverance & Consistancy

 

In one's growth there needs to be a stable foundation to build upon. Befosre a builder builds a house he first levels the area and lays a solid foundation. Withought the solid foundation the house may crumble and fall down.

Consistancy of responsible thinking and behavior provides a  stable foundation to build one's life  upon, no matter what you are trying to build. IN Character develop, that consistancy comes in the form of regular habits. Habits are things tha you do regularly without having to give it much thought.

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Franklin's 13 Virtues

 

 

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
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Stages of Growth

Over the years I've come to see that growth and maturity (being considerate of others) can be expressed in many ways. Here are some examples of the stages of growth shown by different materials or books that I have read. This chart is my attempt to show how the different growth stages connect and overlap with one another. This is not to say that these are the only growth indicators.

 

Various aspecs of growth, maturity, and leadership compared
Under idea circumstances.

Human
Development

See here & here

Growth    Godly Stephen Covey
See a description
here: 7 Habits 

Tribal Leadership
see chart here.

   

infancy &
childhood

Immaturity Unrighteous Dependent Stage 1: Despairing
Hostility "Life is bad"
   

Puberty and
Adolescence

     

Stage 2: Apathetic Victim
"My life is bad"

   
Young
Adulthood
    Independent

Stage 3: Lone Warrior
"I'm Great!"
(and you're not)

   

getting
married

  Repentance
i.e. conversion
 

Epiphany
(Awareness, awakening)

   
Middle
Adulthood
 Maturity    Interdependent Stage 4: Tribal Pride
"We are great"
(and they're not)
   
Late
Adulthood

Righteous
Living a live beyond
the power of sin

Synergy Stage 5: Innocent Wonderment
Doing what people think can't be done,
"Life is Great!"
   
             
             

 

Tribal Leadership

While the concept of tribal leadership is focused towards leadership, the concepts of the stages seem very applicable to stages of growth from immaturity to maturity. One important thought explained in Tribal Leadership is that everyone has to pass through all the stages. No one can skip any of the stages. For example, Stage 3 is all about "Look at Me! I'm Great!".  Part of this stage is beComing very good at something. Before anyone can progress into Stage 4, he must have owned stage 3, trying to...  and finding out that it doesn't work. Until someone deeply realizes that stage 3 "It's all about ME" doesn't work, they can't go into Stage 4.  Stage 4 principles won't work for someone who is still embedded in Stage 3.

None of us can instantly become mature.

Trials

Trials come to us for a variety of reasons. Some trials come because we caused it, some we didn't cause. Some trials we can do something about. Some we seeming can't avoid.

The intensity and length of the trial is often ....  in our minds. Once we accept a trial, it cease being a trial. As long as we fight the trial in our minds, we .... Once we accept the trial, we begin to say, "This is life, how can I make the best of it."

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Life Lessons

Life Lessons

Asking Questions

Many times in life we don't get our questions answered because we don't know how to properly ask the questions.

Clarify what the question really is.

Most reponsible people in life (who are the ones who may be able to answer our questions) are busy. We don't want to bother them needlessly.

Here are some good articles on how to ask better questions.

How to ask questions the smart way.

How to ask a question.

How to ask better questions.

How to ask a question intelligently.

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Focused Awareness

We are not aware of everying in our surroundings or our environment. We are aware of the things that we choose to be aware of or that are "in our face" at the present time. For instance, we are not aware of the

Going through life there are many little affects (disturbances) that can't reasonably be fixed, but that can only be attended to.

Awareness is that sense in you that is "turned on" to notice the seemingling small and insignificant things in your life and/or environment. For example, We just purchased a house recently. A refrigerator (which is about 8-10 years old) came with the house. One of the defects in the refrigerator is that whenever you open the door to the freezer, a tiny light on the outside of the door (mean to light up the area where you get ice and water on the front of the door) is turned on. About 7 years ago the manufacture sent out a recall notice for clients to have that fixed at no charge. But now, after these 7 years, that free repair option has ceased. So, our options are to either pay for a service call + labor + parts, or to just live with it. Not having a lot of extra money, we are just living with it. In the larger scheme of things, it just a small insignificant trifle. No one else in the family seems to pay any attention to the light. The point of all this explanation is that I have chosen to be aware of the light and turn it off each time I go by it. At this point it is an almost automatic habit.

Awareness is often coupled with some type of response. Sometimes that response is an action, sometimes it is just an appreciation of what we see, hear, taste, touch or smell.

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Life Examples

This will start out with examples of children (and or adults) growing up in two or more different families. In one family the child(ren) spend their extra time watching TV, playing games, etc. The older children frequently complain that their parents don't treat them like adults.

In the other family, the children get right in and do their chores and schoolwork first thing. The older children also make out their own chore/task lists. In addition, they are very observant and see the other things that need to be done, or that the parents would like to have done. They follow up each day or series of completed chores by showing their parents what they have done. Then, when they ask for permission to do various things the children give all the details about each event (time, place, who will be there, why they want to go.... The children know that the parents will want to know all these details, so they don't wait to be asked. These children have a proven track record of being truthful, responsible, considerate of others.... Then, when they ask their parents permission, the parents talk it over and readily give permission, as and when appropriate.

A Woman of Character and True Beauty

What makes a woman of character?

 

What makes a woman beautiful?

Developing Character

On every task I whether important or unimportant, you are training yourself to do quality work or sloppy work.

Your real life is the life that you live while you are working.

 

Good Manners and Character Links

Here are some websites that emphasize the importance of Good Character. When I looke up the connection between good manners and character, I was surprised to see how little was available on "Christian" websites and how much was available on Muslim websites. I found that the Muslim websites had some very good information about the connection of good manners and character.

Character Education Network

Character Counts

Youth Worker

Mind Tools

Ledger-Inquirer

Khutbah.com

Answering Christianity

 

How We Respond Changes The Outcome

Each of us in the life will experience many stressful or seemingly bad experiences or challenges. The outcome of that experience can be harmful or destructive to use OR it can build us up. The main difference of the outcome will be out attitude while we are going through the fire. If we are upset and fighting against everything and everybody in the situation, we are like to experience great harm. However, if we are at peace, and look how to best respond obediently, responsibly, and compassionately in each moment, this seemingly difficuld or horrendous situation often turns out to be very good experience for us

Within the context of each ..... there are often one or more ... that we can do to make our life more .... enjoyable.

Make the most of each situation....

Remember, how hard the situation may seem, God is in control, he sent the situation to us for our good.

Learning to Be Thankful

We self-centered humans are not naturally thankful. A young children we yell "Mine!" "Mine!" We think that we deserve everything, Everything we see is ours

Thankfulness is a habit that we can learn. By becoming aware of the special services that people do for us, (hopefully) we learn that we don't deserve anything

 

Benefits of being thankful.

When we enthusiatically express our appreciation to those who do stuff for us, or who give us things, they become more glad that they did something. Conversely, if they see us grumbling (even silently)about something that gave us or did for us, then it negatively affects they spirit. They often become less willing to something for us again. If it is in their power, they may even take back that which they gave us.

Thankfulness is a great gift in and of itself. It spreads cheer wherever it goes.

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Men's Work

There is a real (danger?) in any one type of "men's work" thinking that they are better than anything else based on....
In free reality, the particular program that a man went through is not as important as the fruit that has been produced in a man's character.
One great problem that can, and perhaps does, develop is kind of an elitism, that of thinking that a man has to go through "our particular prigram" because we are the "best" or the only program that can bring about real changes in a man. One of the real problems is that the value is put on the particular label rather than the quality of a man's character.

Our Thoughts

Our Thoughts....

Stop Unwanted Thoughts-1st Draft

From time to time some of us may be plagued by unwanted thoughts (fearful, sexual,  unhealthy attractions, forbidden love, temptation, etc.) that we can’t seem to get rid of. The more we try to fight those thoughts, the stronger they become. Is there any hope?

Getting Real With Yourself

"Fighting against" a thought actually makes that thought more powerful and keeps your mind focused on the very thought that you say that you are “trying to forget”. And, if we are really honest with ourselves, "fighting against"  OR “trying” to stop a thought is really a sneaky way to let yourself continue to think the thought in an inverse form. After all, who can condemn you for "fighting against" an "unwanted" thought? Well, the first thing that we have to do is to become honest with ourselves. We must admit that (with some types of thoughts) at some level we are really drawn to think that thought, we actually want to think those thoughts. We don't want to give up what those thoughts represent to us. (Otherwise the thought would have no attraction to you and you could easily get rid of it.) And the "fighting against" the thought is a seemingly justified way to continue thinking about that thought. Although inwardly we are drawn to thoughts, we also know that those thoughts are not good for us. They may even be destructive to us. Therefore, we realize that we must control our thinking.

Examine Yourself

Examine your self-talk. What are you telling yourself? Genuinely monitor your thoughts and hidden motives, No plan will work if you are secretly fighting against it, or if you make excuses, or if you keep telling yourself that you can't do it.

Gid Rid of Excuses

Stop making excuses, Stop saying, "I can't control my thoughts. I can't do it.  This is too hard!" Stop with the excuses! Just stop it!

When a person says, "I can't stop thinking about xxxx, what that person is really saying is that I won't stop thinking about xxxx.
The truth is that you WON'T stop thinking about xxxx until you are ready. You do have the ability to control over your own thoughts.

Be Proactive - Take Charge

It is so easy to have sloppy .... thinking. Just let whatever thoughts come and just go with it. Why fight it?/

Make A Plan

To succeed at stopping thoughts you need to have a plan of what to do when the thought comes, and then rehearse the plan over and over again. If we won't develop and follow a plan to stop thoughts, then our sincerity must be questioned. Are we really being real with ourselves and others?

Set forth a clear reason why you want to stop that thought and be fully convinced that you do want to stop the thought. Be honest with yourself and others..

Ask yourself, What thoughts do I want to be thinking about this person or subject? Write out a detailed thought script, to see some examples, click here. Then memorize it and rehearse it every day so that it will feel natural and be ready when you need it.

Focus Your Thoughts

Instead, focus your mind on meaningful, pleasant, or exciting thoughts and activities. This is about retraining your thinking, having a plan and faithfully following it. After developing a plan, get input from other people, as long a it doesn't become an excuse not to do anything.

Avoid Triggers

Don't do, or stay away from, things that stir up those thoughts. For example, if you have just lost a love, don't go playing songs about lost love. That just puts those unwanted thoughts in your mind over and over again

Music

Don't listen to music that matches your depressed mood. That will only encourage those unhealthy thoughts to come and stay in your mind. Instead listen to music that lifts you to healthy atitude.

Get Help

If you can afford it, you may want to get a counselor who can help you through it. If not, if you have an horable older adult, perhaps he/she can help you walk through....

 

Your thoughts stay in your mind by choice. You choose which thoughts stay in your mind.
Some thoughts come into your mind seemingly uninvited.
Thoughts come in ... groups. When you accept certain types of thoughts, that attracts other thoughts of the same type.
YOu can also choose which thoughts to create or bring into your mind.

References

Here is an article: Yes, you can stop thinking about it.
Here is Google search about stopping unwanted thoughts.When you learn to monitor your thoughts you begin to know when unwanted thoughts are about to apear and you can quickly bring up a thought script or

 

Thought Scripts

 

Sometimes, when we are learning to control our thinking and control unwanted thoughts, it really helps to have a thought script written out and memorized so that it can be used at a second's notice. For best results, the script should be written to apply to your specific situation.

Thought scripts are used to replace other unwanted thoughts.

Here is an example of one script I wrote, memorized and used for many years.

Script A

(Say with strong emphasis) “I wish the very best for you. I will only think good thoughts about you. You deserve to be treated with kindness, gentleness, respect, and honor. May the guys in your life all treat you with respect and honor as true brothers and may the men in your life always protect and nurture you. May your father love you in all ways that are pure and noble. May your mother show you  true love and be a good role model for you. May you grow up to be a woman of true beauty, godly character, full of grace and compassion. May all your days be filled with happiness and joy, and may you feel loved and protected. May God's richest blessings be yours in abundance.”

Script B

"You have stuck with me through difficult times. You know me and you still love me. You are a steadying influence in my life. You encourage and help me to reach out of myself and to relate better with others. You are a great blessing to me. May you be blessed in all that you do. I will always treat you with true love with all kindness, gentleness, compassion, and humility."

Overcoming Failure

Many of us have failed at many things in life. Many of us even think that we have failed God, over and over again. However, failure is not the problem.

"There is no failure except in giving up." - Robert D. Hales

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." - Henry Ford

"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure." Abraham Lincoln

Look at an example of an earthly father who looks on as his todler is trying to learn to walk. The young child attempts to stand, and then falls, again and again and again. Is not God more compassionate than any human father? No matter what our age and not matter where we are in life, we are all God's children, whom he loves.

God does not condemn us.

"Therefore, there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. .....those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. ... the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." Rom 8:1-2,5,6b

However, as long as we focus on and wallow in our failures, we will continue to fail. In fact, in too many cases, our failure becomes our excuse to give up and stop trying.  It's our self-condemnation and self-pity that keeps us in the pit of dispair.Our focus determines our path. Our biggest failure is that we condemn ourselves and thus wallow in our failures. God wants to take us out of our self condemnation and have us walk in the light as he is in the light. We are HIS children, sons of the Most High. He wants us to stand up and walk, not wallow in self pitty.

"let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, FIXING OUR EYES on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith" Rom 12:1b-2

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." Rom 8:16

The Importance of Dressing Modestly

This article is written from the perspective of a guy's, who is also a father. As a guy... I know how guys think. I know how women's ..... apparel affects us. As a father who loves my daughter, I'm also concerned with the way my daughter dresses.

Foundational Principles

Clarify Your Standards

Before you go buying clothes you need to clearly define the moral boundaries of your standards of your clothing. You need to know what your standards are AND you need to know why you chose those standards. Write out your standards, and your reasons for each standard, clearly as I have done below. Answer these questions for yourself: Examine your answers closely, be honest with yourself. Do NOT answer any of these question with answers like "because it's cute" OR because "I like it". Will we base our standards on God's moral principles OR on our own preferences?

  1. What height should your minimum hem line be? Why did you choose that height?
  2. What sleeve lenght, or lack of sleeves, is to be your minimum sleeve length? Why did you choose that length?
  3. Where should the neckline of your dress or blouse be? Why did your choose that location?
  4.  

Your standards and your reasons don't have to agree with mine. But they do have to make sense to you. Memorize them and keep them in mind before you go buying new clothes. Also, go through all the clothes in your closets and dressers and hold these up to your standards. Get rid of any clothes that don't measure up.

It is totally inappropriate for a an to have sexual thoughts about a woman that he is not married to. Conversely, it is just as inappropriate for a girl or a woman, whether intentionally or unintentionally to stir up sexual thoughts in guys that she is not married to. While guys have the responsibility to control their thoughts, this article deals with how women have a responsibility to ... not do anything that makes it more difficult on to control their thoughts... and stirs up sexual thoughts in men.

 

Guys are very visual creatures. Seeing bare skin in many places on a woman often triggers sexual thoughts in his mind. An honorable guy doesn't want to have sexual thoughts of anyone but his wife. It is thoughtless and unkind to dress in such a way to provoke sexual thoughts in guys.

If girls or women are dressing to show off their figure or to look "cute" or to look "pretty" then their focus is wrong.  

I recently heard one woman say that it wouldn't bother her to walk around naked in front of guys. This is not the issue. The important thing is that we put clothes on for the benefit of  and to protect other people. We don't want to be doing anything that would cause other people to stumble or to struggle with impure thoughts.

Proposed Standards of Modest Apparel

These are not just rules to follow that have no reason. Each of these standards has a reason. We want to be honoring to our guys and to our Lord God.

Are you dressing to please God, or to attract guys? What are your true motives?

First, ask you dad to approve all of your clothes. He is a guy and he was young once. He knows how guys think and how they are affected by the clothes that girls wear.

Skirt lengths: The skirts should be at least several inches below the knee, the longer the better. When you sit down in a chair the skirt should cover the front of your knees at least four or five inches. There are often guys sitting across the room facing you, they don't want to be looking up inside your skirt. It makes them uncomfortable, can cause them to struggle with impure sexual thoughts, and think less of you.  Any guys who like looking up your skirt are not the type of guys that you want to attract.

When a woman's skirt hem is above her knees and she sits down, then her knees show. As she continues to sit the skirt often shifts upward to reveal more nad more of her.... If she pulls the hem of the skirt downward, then that action brings the attention to that area of her legs/skirt.

Neckline: The front of your blouse should be tight around your neck, not hanging loose. The collar bone is a good defining point. (Cover your collar bone) When you are bending over in front of a guy, you don't want him to be able to see down inside your blouse.

Shoulders & Sleeves: The shoulders should be completely covered, tops should always have sleeves that fit snuggly around the arms, and the sleeves should come down the arm at least four or five inches.

Midriff Overlap: If you are not wearing a one piece dress, the tops and bottoms should overlap at least several inches. To test, stand in front of a long mirror. Lift up both arms and stretch the hands as high as possible. Check to see that your stomach doesn't show. Now stretch one arm at a time over the top of your head while leaning in that direction. Check to see if your stomach shows

Additional thoughts

Guiding Principle: Cause no one to stumble. Causes No Offense.

Means that we do nothing to ... towards their weakness, or that would 
By our Dress, by our behavior and our attitude.
 
Guidelines for Women
Guiding Premise: affect on men. 
Men are very visual creatures.
 
 
We wear clothes largely for other people.
 
 
Dress or blouse to Cover shoulder blades; Explain Why
Cover knees
Dress hang loose on body, not to clink to shape of body.
Breasts. clothes that fit the shape of the breasts ... show the
 
slacks are generally ... because they ouline the femail figure.  Much of the time women wear slacks that click to the shape of their bodies. They don't want to appear fat, so they wear snug fitting pants
 
You can easily see the truth of this thought by looking at .... silouttes of women's bodies that some men buy. Is there any other reason for men buying a siloutted of a woman's body except that it sexually arouses him?
 
When choosing an outfit to buy, first thought should be (to please God. This is a vague concept, subject to easy (manipulation towards one's own motives and biases))
 
Basic ... that can cause men to stumble. Shape, color, and texture + Behavior
Men are ... by the shape of a woman's body, especially by the breasts, hips, buttocks, and waists.
Much of women's clothing nowaday accentuates the shape of a woman's body. Why do you think that is? Stop and think about it. The muslims know that well. Think a bout how Umslim women dress. They wear clothing (such as ..... ) that hangs loosely on their bodies. Why do you think that ....
 
Now, reverse this... Why do you think girls and women in this country wear clothing that snuggly clings to the shape of their bodies? They want guys to notice them.
 
As a woman, you might think "that's none of my business if men..." Stop a moment. Examine your thinking. Why do you think that way? If you were to really believe that it doesn't matter what you wear, then why not just wear a sheet  over your body. If you insist on wearing tight fitting clothes, then you need to examine your own motives. Why do you do that.. Besides trying to attract men, there is also wanting to be accepted ty other women who dress that way. Then you also have to seriously ask yourself, why do these women dress in tight fitting clothes? Secondly, why do they encourage you to dress like them.
 
Now let's be real. We live in a very sexualized society. A large percentale of the programs, advertisments, publications are .... with sexual images..  They know that sex sell. Women who dress ... are prostituting themselves to the sight of men, and for what reason?
 
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The Loving of Another

What is true Love? How can I Love another in a way that she "feels" loved? First, we need to define what we mean by love. There are two aspects of love. There is "Love given" and "Love received" Let's take a look at the first:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Cor 13:4-8a

We can only truly give what is inside us, that which is a true part of our inner character. Anything else is just contrived for the sake of our "want" of the moment.

True Love is not about some one time thing that we do or give. Rather, true Love is about changing who we are on a permanent basis. True Love is about us putting to death all the selfish and base parts of ourselves and becoming "patient, kind, non-envious, humble, honoring of the other, calm, truthful, protecting, trusting, perseverent" as an integral permanent part of our new nature.

Much of what is given out as "love" falls woefully short of true Love. It is nothing more than lust in disguise. We give the other person some trinket, flowers, etc. because we want something from her. We want something back from her or we want her to make us feel good about what we gave her.

Lust is focused on me, about what "I" want and how "I" feel in the moment. Love is not dependent on receiving anything from another, but is focused on benefiting and serving "others", it's about what I can give (of myself) to my "beloved". If I only give love when I "feel" loved, then that too is lust.

Then we have to take is a step further. We are to love (treat others kindly etc. (1 Cor. 13) in a way that makes the other feel loved. This requires knowledge of the other. We often try to "love" the other person in a way that we want to be 'loved' (momentarily pampered), but the other is left empty. WE are upset because our 'love' wasn't accepted, this shows that our love wasn't pure. This also was lust on our part, because, even in giving, our focus was on US giving, not on what the other person needed. True love is based upon true knowledge of what the other person needs and then acting on it.

 

The Making of a Man

What makes a man?

Finding Interest in Life

Do you find your life boring? Do your job borring and uninteresting, devoid of meaning? Do you dread going to work each day, thinking that it is just going to be another dreary day? Are you considering quiting your job to find another one that you think would be more interesting? Are you discouraged or depressed thinking that life will never get better?

Well, let me tell you that there is hope. LIfe can be more meaningful?

Well, that is because of your mindset and your own attitude.

I submit to you that nothing in this life has anything interesting in and of itself.
To find interest in life, you must put that interest there yourself.

Engine

Many people struggle through life thinking that their life makes no difference to the world or anyone else. Let me give you

 

Change your attitude...  Don't Try, but Do.

The difference between Trying And Doing.

With Trying, you start off by giving yourself a way out if it doesn't work. Consequently you don't put your best continued effort into it. YOu are always evaluating everthing to see if it is going to fail.

With Doing, you put aside the whole thouoght of failing and look for ways to make it succeed. You are determined and perseverant. You WILL find a way. If one thing doesn't work, you'll try another, and other, and another. You are also willing to reevaluate and change your original thought and plans as you find different or better ways to accomplish the end goal. You also reach out to other people ......

The difference between a positive entusiastic mental attitude. As you press on to succeed you begin to realize that your own attitude is one of the biggest contributers to whether you succeed or fail.

True Beauty is Not Something You Put on Your Skin

Makeup is an illusion. It is a lie. It promises beauty but gives heartache. It teaches you to hide your flaws (and we all have flaws) as something to be ashamed of. It teaches you that true beauty is something that you apply to your skin. It is all based on a lie. It tells you that if you can make your external perfect then you will be happy. But it can't fulfil its promise, it only leaves a momentary pleasure.... high.

Makeup comes from an industry that wants you to believe their lie because they want your money for the rest of your life. "Keep giving us your money and you will be beautiful."
Putting on makeup teaches you that you are not beautiful just the way you are. It teaches you to look at yourself as something that is ugly unless you buy their products. They teach you that you are not acceptable unless you ..... As long as they keep you believing their lie, they become rich at your expense.
 
The cosmetic industry (or the beauty industry) has tricked the typical American woman into believing the putting on a ... of ... onto one's face and skin is part of being a woman.
 
Just stop and think a minute. Many women don't "feel" beautiful until they have put their ... on. Now think about that. If you don't feel beautiful until you put your eye shadow, make up, and jewely on, do you know what you are saying. You are saying tht the cosmetics are beautiful and that YOU are NOT beautiful. You are calling yourself ugly. Now think about what you are saying, "me without makeup = ugly, me with makeup = beautiful". You are telling yourself that the makeup is what makes your beautiful, that is really saying that the beauty is in the makeup product that you apply to your skin. The makeup is beautiful, NOT you.
 
How many years have you been telling yourself that lie? Probably for many years you have been listening the Cosmetic Industry advertising (propoganda) and to yourself saying that to look good you need to put all this stuff on your skin. You have been programmed to think this way. Do you want to be free from all of this madness?
 
The beauty industry has brainwashed the typical woman into a false sense of what beauty is. They teach that beauty is something that a woman puts on her skin
The Beauty Industry is comprised of merchants that sell Makeup, eyeshadow, jewelry,
The lie says that you are ugly, that beauty is something you buy from the merchants of the Beauty Industry and put on the outside of your  body. The lie says that you must cover up or distract the eye from your unsightly .....
 
 
Vanity is concerned about "looking pretty" so that others may think of her....
 
True beauty is not concerned what others think of her. Instead her attention is directed towards .... others.
 
It all sets up a false illusion, that beauty can be bought.
 
Wake Up, you who sleep. Stop believing the lies.

True Beauty Comes From a Pure Heart

This brings us to a major point. You can't make yourself beautify by TRYING to be beautiful. Rather, you become truly beautiful be living a life of .... that is pleasing to God. True beauty is a fruit of a way of life, of pure thoughts, blameless behavior, of genuine love and compassion for others.
True beauty come from within, from a pure heart that is 
Having true beauty is simple, but it's not easy. It involves putting do death our selfish desires, motives....
It involves correcting our thinking and our behaviors.
 
 

 

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I hope you can look beyond the messenger and see the message:

Your Clothing Reveals Your Identity

 

Your Clothing Shows Your Identity
Police officers wear clothing that identifies them as Law Enforcment personel
 
Doctors
Soldiers
Fireman
 
The clothing of each profession tells the onlooker much about each person. It tells the training that each person has had, it shows their character, their skills, etc.
How are you dressing?
Who are we dressing to please
Our clothing should show our identity, who we belong to.
Our clothing reflects our values and morals.
As men and women of faith, we are men and women of virtue, integrity, honor, truth. This is two fold, we both represent who we serve and we represent ourselves.
Our clothes are for others. For example, if you were the only one person on earth, who would you dress? Stop and think! Be honest in your response. Would you spend hours in front of the mirror, would you stress out what to wear? Would you need to wear anything? If you were the only person on earth I would say that how you dressed would be vastly different that the way you dress now. If you were alone on earth there would be no one to honor, no one to protect, no one to please but yourself. If you were to be totally honest with yourself, you'd realize that if no one else ever saw what you wear, you wouldn't care nearly as much about what you wore.
This brings ups an important point. We wear clothing for other people more than for ourselves. It is part of our ways of connecting with them and showing them who we are.