Browsing All posts tagged under »Pharisees«

Perspective Makes the Difference

March 27, 2012


Have you ever noticed that in life, perspective can make all the difference on how you act, react or judge a situation or person? I’ve recently rediscovered this principle at work in my life. I am not proud of the fact but when I see someone do something which I would not do or ‘not do’ something which I believe they should do; I have begun catching myself as my first inclination is to judge that action in such a way as to ascribe a negative motivation for the action or inaction.

The reason is that whether or not we consciously acknowledge it, we all have an internal barometer or scale which we use to assess ourselves and others against. The fact that all have such an internal measure guide is not wrong in of itself. The main problem with using our own scale to evaluate actions or inactions is that our scale is fundamentally flawed. There are two primary flaws with using our own scales to evaluate ourselves and others against.

  1. Our scale is flawed in that it is biased in favor of us and biased against others.
  2. Our scale uses the wrong measurement criteria.

Let me explain.

I Will Give You the Treasures of Darkness (Tanzania Part I)

December 28, 2011


There are some who believe that our lives are defined by our mistakes. Our mistakes become who we are and how we will be forever known. It has been said that the mistakes we all make, the seemingly indiscriminate trials that are beset upon us and the hurts that are inflicted upon us, are our story.

Let me reassure you that while they are a small part of our story, they are not the entirety of our story. They do not have to define our life. Really they are not even the most interesting parts of our story. The really interesting part of our personal story is what happens next. How do we respond to our mistakes after we make them? How do we respond when tragedy hits us? How do we respond when others inflict hurts upon us? That’s when the audience leans forward in their seats, captivated to see, how we respond, how we move forward.

The truest measure of a person’s character is not whether or not they have made mistakes. We have all made mistakes and we will all continue to make mistakes, so long as we are alive. The truest test of our character is how we respond to our mistakes. Those are the really interesting and pivotal moments of our life story. I am discovering that the dark valleys of our life do not have to define us or defeat us. If we allow ourselves to see behind the curtain, the dark valleys are really places of learning and growth, but only if we do not allow them to keep us discouraged and overwhelmed by self-pity.

Sure, we all desire the mountain top experience, where we have peace and clarity, but the best fruit is grown in the valley. If we are to grow, each one of us will need to walk through those valleys of trial. Walking through those valleys can be the defining moments of our life, not because we experience them, but based on how we respond to them; how we move forward. If you are experiencing a trial, the audience is leaning forward in their seats, to see how you fight back and move forward. You are not alone; the experience is part of all of our stories. It is part of my story.

A Picture, Even if Painted with Words, Speaks Volumes

September 2, 2011


The human brain doesn't function/learn as if it had a hard drive to store specific knowledge and memories. While knowledge doesn't need to be packaged into campfire stories, using your own word, it does make it more "memorable". A picture, even if painted with words, speaks volumes. That’s what parables are and that’s why they are some memorable – pictures are the way our brains learn.

Have We Have Become Comfortably Numb?

August 29, 2011


Comfortable. The most dangerous place for people (especially the Church) to be is when we allow ourselves to become comfortable…comfortable not just in our physical living conditions but in an attitude of acceptance or resignation that the tragedies occurring around us are just normal everyday things which will never go away. We become calloused; deaf to the plight and pain of others. How else could we ever become comfortable enjoying our ‘stuff’ unless we were able to quiet the voice of conscience within us?

Be the Exception to the Rule

August 25, 2011


People in the church often err by labeling groups of people with broad strokes (e.g. liberals, democrats, homosexuals, etc.) and not spend the time to see that all people are unique individuals. There may be similarities, but just as all church attenders are not identical clones of one another, people outside of the church are not either, regardless of what group one labels them with. The reverse is also true, non-church folks tend to label church folks as all being hypocrites, illogical, insecure or hateful. If that were true, how do they account for Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Mother Theresa? Here’s the hope. When we individually as Christians engage non-Christians in a Christ-like manner, an amazing thing happens; it helps to falsify the stereotype of Christians that others may have previously held. Individuals impacted by our Christ-like actions can no longer claim (at least not honestly) or live comfortably with their previous label for “all Christians”. They are forced to broaden their prior stereotypical thinking to now include, at the very least, exceptions to the rule. They can no longer use “All Christians are…” because they now know a Christian who does not do that. It’s a two way street. As the Christian, in this case my friend, got to know this transgendered individual as a unique person with common human fears, hurts, dreams and hope – we begin to see others more and more like ourselves. Our common humanity is reinforced and mankind’s artificial “walls of separation” are broken down, if only a little bit.