5 Contrarian Responses To The People Police Violence

 

These would work but we will never do them.

1.     Make Prayer Your Primary Strategy

A primary strategy is something you use more than anything else. This situation is beyond our ability to fix. We have been addressing it for a long time. Think about it. There have been thousands of meetings, hundreds of legislations and reforms, marches and protests and still we can’t fix this. We need divine intervention. When will we admit it? When will we abandon our pride? What would it look like if your go to in the people police challenges was prayer? I’m not talking about the typical God get me out of jail and let me win the lottery prayers. I’m talking about grinding in prayer. I’m talking about spending significant amounts of time in it. I wonder what would happen if churches were more committed to prayer and prayer meetings? What if the prayer meetings were just as full or fuller than Sunday services? We fly across the country to hear people speak, attend cohorts and be entertained by one another but we won’t travel to pray. We are prayerless and we wonder why our country is in the people police relational mess it’s in. Why are we wondering? We have not because we ask not.

2.     Listen More Than You Communicate

God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth. We need to reflect this in our communication with one another. We are never going to fix this by talking over, through and by one another. At some point we are going to have to listen a lot more than we talk. Here’s how you know you have listened. First, you could repeat back to the person what they said and they agree with you. Second, the person feels or thinks they have been heard. Third, in light of what you have learned you could ask better questions. Fourth, you now know how to more effectively love the person.

3.     Aim At Being Righteous Rather Than Right

Righteousness is a standard. It’s independent of your perception and feelings. It is objective rather than subjective. A good example of righteousness are the 10 Commandments. Most people who are wrestling with this people police issue are consumed with being right. In a way I can’t blame them, this issue fuels so many emotions and uncovers so many past pains that it’s easy to fall into wanting to be right at any expense. You know you are more concerned with being right when you are willing to break a commandment in order to be right. Another way that you know you are more concerned about being right is that you no longer see the person you are talking with as an equal or a fellow image bearer who deserves honor. 99% of the time you yell you are all about being right. What if we were more concerned with keeping the law, loving our neighbor as ourselves and making sure every person we interact with experiences dignity and respect? What if we were more concerned with righteousness as we process through all of this?

4.     Be Willing To Lose And Be Wronged

This issue will never be solved by someone winning the fight, protest, etc. In fact I will go a step farther. This issue doesn’t change until we are willing to lose and be wronged. Search history and see this for yourself. When have we ever seen significant transformation in society without someone losing? The answer is never. Think about the tremendous loss everyone involved with the civil rights endured. The path forward is losing and being wronged. If you are a Christian this should be blatantly obvious to you. Jesus loss = our win! Losers aren’t typically transformed. Losers don’t seek the interests of others. When people feel loss they usually react badly. People police issues we face turn our relationships with one another into a competition and we want to win. When more of us are willing to lose and be wronged we will see change.

5.     Love The Unlovely

To some people the police are the enemy. To some police the people are the enemy. We don’t love our enemies we kill them. We defeat them. We dismantle them. I believe we could see significant change if we loved the people we believed were our enemies. There are some videos going around of African American men hugging officers. The problem is that it’s isolated and needs to be happening more and from the police as well. The hardest thing to do is to love someone who you think is wrong. It’s even harder to love them when you see them doing wrong on video. You just want to hate them and be angry. There is a place for righteous anger in all of this and it should be reserved for all who do evil no matter the “side” they are on. Hating your enemy comes natural, loving them doesn’t. If you want to contribute to change start loving those you consider to be your enemies. I leave you with words that could cause a social revolution and change the relationship between people and police.

Luke 6:27-36 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

 

 

Sometimes You Have To Do What You Don't Want To

Sometimes you have to do what you don't want to do

 This is life. There are no utopia's. Denzel Washington was once said, "sometimes you have to do what you need to do so that you can do what you want to do". We are consistently faced with things we don't like. Life is filled with distasteful things that are necessary. There should be no war here because there is no way to win it. Embrace this with all your heart, soul mind and strength and find solutions.

 I have observed something in people who achieve their goals. They don't avoid hard things, in fact they confront them head on. If you look at their priority list it tends to be filled with hard things. Hard things are a priority for successful people. This is the exact opposite of people who tend to struggle. I have also observed something else. People who get things done usually do the hard things first. Most people are procrastinators and excuse makers. If I had a dollar for every excuse I've made I would be very wealthy. Putting off hard things makes them harder. Hard things are like cavities they just get worse the longer they aren't attended to. Right Dr Charlie Ward?

Here's the bottom line: your life should be characterized by habits that consistently confront hard things with evolving solutions that enable you move towards your goals.

Grace and Peace

The best time to start something

The best time to start something

    You have probably heard the famous proverb, "timing is everything". Unfortunately this has mesmerized and paralyzed people. We are infatuated with getting the timing right when it comes to beginning something. The results of this thinking are: nothing.
    Think about it, the timing of most things we want to start isn't important. Make a list of the things you need to start and ask yourselves how important when you do it is? In most cases it's not that important. In fact, if you think about it, most of the things we want to start are past due which is why we want to start them.
    The processors, analyst and excuse makers are about to get going because I'm going to reveal the best time to start something. Ready? Set, go! The best time to start something is today and now.

Grace and Peace

 

 

 

Self Care > Other's Care

For those of us who were educated decades ago we know what the > and < signs mean. For all you newbies > stands for greater than and < stands for lesser than. If you have ever been on a plane you have no doubt heard these famous words, "In the event of a loss of cabin pressure oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling and crush your heads and if you are traveling with children or someone acting like one please put your mask on first and then assist them with theirs". It only sounds like that on Southwest which is why I love them.  

There is a great principle embedded in this announcement. Self care is more important than other care. Your care for others is dependent on how healthy you are. If you were sick and visited the doctor you would probably have issues if he/she opened the door and vomited all over the floor and then began choking and grasping for air. If they managed to say, "hold on a minute I will be right with you" I doubt you would be excited. I'm sure you would go into doctor mode and wonder how you could care for them. No one in their right mind would allow a doctor in this condition to care for them. 

Some of you are innate and natural caregivers and servants. I want to say thank you for loving the rest of us so well. The world is a better place because you are in it. But, you need to expend some of your energy caring for yourself. I've found that caregivers are prone to neglect themselves. They typically put everything and everyone in front of their needs. If this is you stop. Start taking care of yourself. If you don't you are going to be the reason why you can no longer care for others. 

Shame is a leading cause of personal neglect. Shame is the feeling that there's something wrong with me. One way we cope with shame is by serving others. The reasoning goes like this. If I serve people well and meet their needs then there's nothing wrong with me. People who struggle with shame don't take care of themselves because they don't see value in themselves outside of serving others. When they look in the mirror they don't see value. Why would you care for something/someone that is broken and worthless? 

Newsflash: you are not your shame. Shame is what you experience, it isn't the final word on who you are and what you will be. So, stop being bullied by shame and take a stand today. Nothing can eradicate the fact that you are made in God's image. No sin, no past action against you, action you have done or present situation. For me, the bible is the most effective tool for battling shame. Read it and see how God deals with shame. 

I want you to start taking care of yourself. Start today and start small.

10 Reasons Why people can't Hear You

Have you ever felt like people aren't hearing you? It's frustrating, painful and if we are honest it often drives us to do things we regret. Here are 10 reasons why people might not be hearing you. 

1. They might be hard of hearing. We tend to assume everyone has perfect hearing but this is not the case. The National Institute of Health reports that 15% of adults 18 or over suffer from some type of difficulty with hearing. Don't assume everyone can hear you. 

2. Sometimes there are factors in the environment you are in that keep people from hearing you. A loud air conditioner, loud music, television and people focusing on other things while you are talking. You may need to make an adjustment to your environment so people can hear you better. 

3. Listening is a discipline and an art. Most people don't know how to do it very well. 

4. Maybe you don't project when you talk. It's very difficult to hear someone if they have a low voice or don't project when they talk. Mumblers are really hard to hear. You might need to speak up and encourage others to do the same. 

5. You aren't clear when you talk. I've quoted a famous preacher before and I'll do it again because it's so profound. He once said, "we should speak so clearly that we are understood but also so clearly that people cannot misunderstand us". One of the best ways to know whether or not you are a clear communicator is to ask 2-3 of your closest friends. Give them permission to be painfully honest. 

6. You have distracting habits when you talk. Our body language is much louder than our vocal chords. Remember that. Our bodies are always talking even when our mouths are quiet. Again, a good friend or coach can help you with this. 

7. You are proud. There is no one harder to hear than a proud person. I think people can hear angry people better than proud people, although I don't recommend that emotion either if you want people to hear you. Pride is the leading cause of deafness in relationships. It's very difficult for people to hear you if you project that you are better, faster, stronger and above the person you are talking to. Which leads us to the 7th reason why people don't hear you. 

8. You don't listen to people. Pride is the number one reason why people don't listen. There is a reason God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth. Make sure you are living out the 2 ears to 1 mouth ratio in your relationships. This means you should be listening more than you talk. People are far more likely to hear you if they feel heard. 

9. People can't hear you if they are in pain. It's very difficult to hear when you are suffering. Factor this in if you feel like people aren't listening to you. You might even ask a person how they are doing and if there is anything they are suffering with. 

10. People have an agenda. Our current political climate is an unfortunate and perfect illustration of this. If someone has an agenda in a relationship they aren't going to be able to hear you like you want. 

Grace and Peace.