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.

God is not in control 

The Anatomy of a bad decision 

Transparent people are confident in grace. They are confident in what Jesus has done for them that they could not do for themselves. So to be totally honest I have made a lot of bad decisions. Some of those decisions have caused my loved ones and myself a lot of pain. Some decisions have cost me a lot of money; some have resulted in me wasting my time. I have also made some good decisions and then rewarded myself in a counterproductive way. For example, I lost two or three pounds in a week and then the next day rewarded myself with an ice cream sundae and gained a pound back with one snack. Many of us are counterproductive as it relates to how we reward ourselves for making a good decision. 

Let me be clear, a good decision doesn’t always get you the results you may have desired. Here is a brief example: Joseph the dreamer chose not to sleep with his boss’s wife; he wasn’t promoted, he was imprisoned. He was falsely accused and unjustly sentenced as a direct result of making the right choice. The good news is that decision positioned him for the process that God would use to promote him from the prison to the palace. Sometimes, a good decision takes longer to materialize but in the long run it is always worth it. A good decision has no regret attached to it; a bad decision almost always involves regret. Regret is something that we will either live with or learn from. The choice is ours. 

Bad decisions happen when we isolate ourselves from the counsel (or the advice) of the wise. If you don’t take counsel you will need counseling. Bad decisions happen when we have wrong desires and wrong priorities. Bad decisions happen when we are motivated by fear. Here are a few ways this plays out. For example, we are going through something that is painful and a shortcut is offered. We choose what seems to be the easier and faster way because of the pain. The end result is more pain and a longer unnecessary detour because we made a decision from our place of pain and impatience. It is important to know and remember that there are no shortcuts in the kingdom of God. Bad decisions are often made from a place of insecurity. We do things to try to prove ourselves instead of being ourselves. Or we don’t say or do things for fear of what people will think about us. We do need to be conscious of others, but we do not need to be controlled by the opinions of others. Other bad decisions are motivated by lust. Although lust is sexual, it is not only sexual. Lust says, “I can not wait, I will not wait, I have to do it now, I have to say it now, I have to have it now.” It is important to remember that patient and prudent people don’t make rushed and impetuous decisions. If you are someone who makes decisions based on emotions instead of wisdom and understanding read this blog. It will encourage you toward better decisions where you count the cost before you make the choice.

Transparency

If someone is not transparent there is usually a reason why. Some people have been hurt, abused, abandoned and let down. Some people are afraid, ashamed or just insecure. We must be intentional about not allowing how others have treated us to control who we are becoming.

Transparency is powerful because it builds trust. Trust is the currency of meaningful and purposeful relationships. Someone’s transparency is the foundation that I can put my trust on. If someone is not transparent it generally means they are hiding something. When we choose to be vulnerable we are actually showing others that we are more powerful than what others may think about us. By choosing to be transparent we are saying that we are more powerful than what happened to us or what didn’t happen for us. When we choose to be transparent we are telling others that we are real, authentic, honest and therefore trustworthy. When someone is transparent you don’t have to question their agenda because they have stated it. Being transparent means we are clear about who we are, who we are not, what we are doing and why we are doing it. Transparency is important because people can’t help you if they don’t know that you need help. Recently I shared on Facebook how my wife and I were 1 credit card away from being credit card debt free. My intentions were to share the progress we were making to be an encouragement to others. A few weeks after that I received a hand written letter in the mail with a check for $362.00. A kind and generous family wrote an encouraging letter and said “we wanted this money to go towards paying off your debt.” I was touched deeply by their generosity, but I realized without my transparency I could not have experienced their generosity. My encouragement to you is that if you want people to be real and honest with you, be real and honest with them. Transparency is not social nudity. Click here to see what social nudity is. 

Accountability 

One of the keys to sustainable success in anything is accountability. If you want to pay off debt or acquire wealth you will need to be accountable to people, your plan and the law. If you want to get free of an addiction or be a competitive athlete you will need to learn how accountability works. Accountability is supposed to work for you not against you. I realize that oppressive and insecure leaders have hurt people and so accountability may sound scary. But we can’t live in reaction to other people’s stupidity and expect to succeed in life. Forgive them, let it go, get healthy, be humble and accountable and you will move forward in life. Just know this, where there is true humility there is accountability.

Accountability is a about freedom not control. When most people think of accountability they think of someone calling them to ask, “Are you looking at porn? or Are you still using drugs?” That is the necessary but negative side of accountability. The positive side of accountability sounds something like this. “Are you writing that book you have been talking about?” “What are you doing to start that business that you have been talking about and planning for?” Accountability will pick you up when you fall, keep you on track, help you succeed and help you not become victim of your own success. Accountability helps you to build or rebuild trust.

In the Bible when the prophet Nathan held King David accountable, he helped save David’s kingdom, which actually protected his legacy. Psalm 51 is a direct result of a healthy confrontation that helped David become accountable. In the democratic process accountability protects us from tyranny. In the banking world accountability protects us from fraud. In the jewelry business accountability assures that what you have purchased is authentic. If you want to succeed in life you need to make sure that you see accountability as a servant not a slave driver.

God is Not in Control

God is not in control and he doesn’t want to be in control. If God wanted to be in control, he would be in control. Who is going to stop him? Who has the power to stop the all-powerful? His power is manifested in that he doesn’t want to be in control. Only weak insecure people want to be in control of others. People who are motivated by fear, lust, pride and greed those are the type of people who want to be in control of others. Powerful people let other people choose their own path; they let others determine their own destiny. In fact the more powerful someone is the less they want to be in control. God is the creator and the sustainer of all things. Jesus is both the Savior and the Judge of all of humanity. I believe in the Deity of Jesus and the Supremacy of Christ. I believe in the Sovereignty of God. I believe God is all-powerful, all knowing and omnipresent. God is clearly in charge, but not in control. If God wanted to be in control he would not have given you a free will. God created all of the animals and then waited for Adam to name them. Does that sound like someone who wanted to be in control? God is a loving Father, a benevolent King, and righteous Judge, but he is not a cosmic control freak. But what about all the evil in the world? Glad you asked. The news doesn’t show us the absence of God; it shows us the presence of the devil. The devil commits a crime and then puts God’s fingerprints on the scene. Don’t believe the lies. God is clearly revealed in Jesus. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. Does that sound like someone who wants to condemn or control you? Jesus died for everyone, everywhere through out all ages, but we have to choose to believe him. He invites us to follow him. He doesn’t control or manipulate us; he simply invites us to follow him. Will you follow Jesus? You are valuable, you cost him everything. You may be saying, “but I am an atheist I don’t believe in God”, well he believes in you. He loves you and he is pursuing you. No matter who you are or what you have done here is what Jesus is saying to you, “Come to me.”

5 ways to get Wisdom

The wisest and wealthiest man to ever live said, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Wisdom begins when we know that in the end we will have to answer to God for our motives, words, actions, relationships and the resources that were entrusted to us. When we make decisions from that place of understanding generally we make wise decisions. Jesus said, “wisdom is justified by her children.” Wisdom leaves us both evidence and an inheritance. What is interesting about wisdom is that it outlives the wise. Think of King Solomon, his wisdom is still speaking today although he is not. There are several types of wisdom. There is wisdom that is revealed. This is supernatural logic, that is only made possible through the faith of Jesus. This is hidden wisdom. God gives us revelation and we get wisdom. That is the wisdom that we can ask God for and he gives it to us based on our ability to receive and steward it. Then there is received wisdom that comes by asking the right questions and making the right observations.

Below are 5 ways to get wisdom.

  1. We get wisdom when we ask God for wisdom in faith understanding that he is generous. (James 1:5)
  2. We get wisdom we learn from our mistakes, our lessons learned become wisdom gained.
  3. We get wisdom when we respond to correction properly.
  4. We get wisdom when we stop long enough to reflect on our priorities, progress and circumstances.
  5. We get wisdom when we ask specific questions to people who care for us and are qualified to answers us.