Slapped or Kissed?

Would you rather be slapped or kissed? That is not a trick question. It is a question about what type of relationships do you want? Do you want people who actually care about you? Or do you want people in your life who are seemingly nice but really do not care about you and are only in it for what they can get? We need to ask ourselves, what kind of person are we? Do we genuinely care for others? Or are we just nice to people for the purpose of what we can get from them? Are our compliments genuine and sincere or are they filled with flattery for the purpose of manipulation? Sometimes the people who feel and sound safe are actually not. Sometimes the people who rub us the wrong way are actually better for us than the feel good flatterer who is really lying to us to try to manipulate us. Remember iron sharpens iron but never without friction. We need more friction and less flattery if we want to be sharp and on point.

“Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.” (Psalms 141:5 NKJV)

David is welcoming the correction of the righteous. I would rather be slapped by the righteous than stroked by the self seeking. What about you? Do you want real relationships where people love you enough to be honest with you? Learning to respond to correction is essential for our personal growth. People who can’t hear correction position themselves for deception. Someone who is humble has the ability to hear hard things that others would want to avoid, deny or make excuses about.

“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV)

Open rebuke is more beneficial than a deceitful kiss. It’s better to be slapped or wounded by a friend than kissed by an enemy. We need to have courage to develop relationships where there is enough trust for us to be honest. It’s possible to be honest and honorable. The goal is to be able to slap someone with truth and it feel like kindness to them.

Self-awareness 

It is possible to be so self absorbed that we are not self-aware. If we are not self-aware we cannot administer self-control. We cannot control what we are not aware of. Being self-aware is about administering self-control. Self-control is ultimately about us fully assuming responsibility for what is going on inside of us and what is coming out of us, whether that is our words, tone, actions, reactions, body language and even facial expressions. If I am going to take what Jesus said about loving God, loving myself and loving my neighbor seriously I will have to pay attention to my own needs. Loving yourself starts with ascribing the proper value to yourself. You are priceless because of the price Jesus has paid for you. That is the foundation of your value. 

We care for things according to their value or perceived value, so understanding your value is essential. 

Because you are valuable and because Jesus loves you, you should love you. This basic biblical understanding helps to create a new awareness in you that is christian and God honoring not humanistic and narcissistic. This awareness allows you to properly care for yourself. When you understand what you need to thrive in this life you can properly take care of yourself. Then and only then can you help add value to others. It’s hard to add value to others if you feel worthless yourself. It’s hard to practice the art and science of objectivity with others if you are not self-aware. It’s hard to have compassion for others if you are so numb that you can put yourself in their shoes. When you value yourself you can care for yourself and then you can administer self-control and have a good relationship with yourself and others. Understanding self-awareness can be transformational. If you change the way you relate to yourself you can change the way you relate and respond to others. You can start this process by becoming more aware of the way that you speak to yourself. Often we say things to ourselves that we would not say to or about others. So watch what you put in yourself and watch how you speak to and about yourself. In this short Facebook live video below I share some practical metrics to self-awareness. Click here to watch. 

Self Neglect VS Self Denial

You have a relationship with yourself. Jesus knew that and so he said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” He also said, “take up your cross deny yourself and follow me.” So which one should we do? Both. In fact doing one empowers us to do the other. Whether we know it or not we have a relationship with ourselves. Whether we speak out loud to ourselves or not we have an ongoing conversation with ourselves so we might as well be nice. Self Neglect is not denying yourself. Denying yourself is putting away sinful thoughts, speech and actions that lead to bad habits and harmful consequences. If you neglect yourself long enough you will not have the strength to deny yourself. Let me give you a practical example. I will use myself so as to not project my issue on you. If I wait too long to eat, I will most likely over eat or eat something that is unhealthy do to the level of hunger that I am feeling at the time. If I don’t neglect myself and I prepare for my day by having a healthy snack with me chances are a lot higher that I will not over eat and that I will probably eat something healthy. So preparing a healthy snack such as cashews or almonds is a practical way that I can love myself. Because I am not neglecting myself, I am positing myself not to eat two slices of pizza while I am out and about. Sometimes loving yourself is just thinking ahead and being prepared to make better choices that you won’t regret later. The more we care for ourselves now, the less regret we will have later. I have never regretted drinking a protein shake, however I  have regretted drinking a huge milkshake.

Many people think they are denying themselves when actually they are neglecting themselves. Jesus is the most amazing example of someone who did not neglect himself, but did denied himself so much that he never even sinned once. Not in thought, word or action. He knew exactly what he needed to do so that he could do what God was requiring him to do. We need to learn from his example. There were times where the disciples were sleeping and Jesus was praying. There were other times when the disciples were up wide awake and afraid in a storm, but Jesus was sleeping. If you love yourself, you will take care of yourself and that will allow you to deny yourself in other areas of life when temptations come. This is not about finger pointing its about soul searching. Being rested and prayerful will make you better able to care for yourself and deny yourself. 

I will leave you with 3 questions that will help you turn this blog post into an action plan that will help you make progress in your own life. 

  1. What is a practical way that you can love yourself today? (This must be productive, not destructive.)
  2. Is there an area in your life that you need to deny yourself?
  3. Is there an area in your life where you have been neglecting yourself?

Remember to care for yourself, invest in yourself and deny yourserlf. You are valuable, you matter!