Offended Someone

by Ron Edmondson
We all offend people at times, but what can we do to move forward?

5 Steps to Take When You’ve Offended Someone

All of us say things we wish we hadn’t said. We all offend people at times. Everyone knows what it is like to put the foot in the mouth.
Doing so is common, but what do we do afterwards?

Here are 5 Steps When You’ve Offended Someone:

  1. Recognize that you will offend some people. – Actually, that should come before the incident. Even the most gentile-minded, peace-pursuing people are occasionally offensive. Sometimes the person on the other side of the offense has issues that make them easily offended. Sometimes we just say or do the wrong thing. It’s working to do so less often and never intentionally that should be our goal.
  2. Pursue peace – Our goal should be to be at peace with others, as much as it depends on us. This too should be set, as a goal, before it’s needed, so you’ll respond accordingly when it is needed. Strive not to say or do things which are offensive. This often means learning to think before you speak.
  3. Ask forgiveness and seek to rebuild trust. – Sometimes the best thing a person can do is to say they are sorry. Many times people want to pass blame, make excuses, or wait for the other person to make the first move towards reconciliation. If you know a perceived offense has occurred, put your “big boy pants” on and break the ice of forgiveness. Don’t be afraid to take the blame if it will bring peace in the end. Remember though, trust is built over time, so don’t be “offended” if it is not given to you instantly. You can release your own guilt once you’ve sought forgiveness.
  4. Examine your life. – If you seem to consistently find yourself in situations where others feel offended by you; maybe the problem is you. Don’t be afraid to look at the “speck” in your own eye. Examine areas of your life where you are consistently offending others.
  5. Stay true to God’s plan for your life. – While we should attempt to live at peace with everyone, we should never avoid offending people at the sacrifice of God’s plan for our life. Jesus’ best work was offensive to many. If you are being obedient to God, you will find it offends some (maybe many). Don’t let that distract you from doing God’s will. And, don’t hide in the offense you made. Move forward.

Sow Selflessness

 

by Rick Warren
What yousow, you’re going to reap. God rewards selflessness with eternal life.

Sow Selflessness and Reap Eternal Life

“The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others — ignoring God! — harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8 MSG)

Selfishness destroys relationships. It is the number one cause of conflict, arguments, divorce, and even war.

James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (NIV) Every trouble starts because of our self-centeredness.

It’s very easy for selfishness to creep into relationships. When you start a relationship, you work really hard at being unselfish. But as time goes on, selfishness begins to creep in. We put more energy into building relationships than into maintaining them.

If selfishness destroys relationships, then it is selflessness that makes them grow. What does selflessness mean? It means less of “me” and more of “you.” It means thinking of others before you think of yourself and putting the other person’s needs before your own (Philippians 2:4).

Selflessness brings out the best in others. It builds trust in relationships. In fact, if you start acting selfless in a relationship, it forces the other person to change, because you’re not the same person any more, and they have to relate to you in different way. I’ve actually seen it many times — some of the most unlovable people that nobody wants to be around are transformed when someone is kind and selfless toward them and gives them what they need, not what they deserve.

The Bible says in Galatians 6:7-8, “The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others — ignoring God! — harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life” (MSG).

This is the principle of sowing and reaping. What you sow, you’re going to reap. God rewards selflessness with eternal life. He has wired the universe so that the more unselfish you are, the more he blesses you. Why? Because he wants you to become like him, and God is unselfish. Everything you have in life is a gift from God, because he was unselfish with you.

You are most fulfilled in this life when you give yourself away. Jesus said, “Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live” (Mark 8:35b TLB).

Talk It Over

  • What is one of the hardest things for you to give to someone else?
  • How can you practice giving that thing away this week?
  • In what ways do you think God blesses you when you are unselfish?

Rx for Depression

 

by Bayless Conley
If your soul is dry, then the way to get it watered is to go help someone else.

Rx for Depression

Isaiah 58:10-11 gives you and me a powerful prescription for depression.  It says,

If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.  The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Take a moment to think about what God is saying.  Think about the promise:  If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, God will satisfy your soul in drought.

If you are a person who is given to depression and you feel like you have this big empty void in your life, I have a prescription for you based on this passage.  Are you ready?

Go help somebody else.  In fact, find a place in your church, local rescue mission, or The Salvation Army where you can minister to folks who are going through a rough patch.  Donate a couple of days a week, and help other folks who are going through a rough time.

God promises that if you will draw out your soul to the hungry and if you will minister to the afflicted soul, He will satisfy your soul in drought.

Rather than being so inwardly focused…“my problems, and I’m so depressed, and why aren’t things going right for me?”, go help somebody else.  Get things in perspective.  There are a lot of people who are a lot worse off than you are, and you will find that God will bring the rain into your life when you change your focus.

If your soul is dry, the way to get it watered is to go help someone else.  The sooner the better.

Scepter

 

by Beth Jones
If you’re an employee, a staff member or a follower and you feel that the scepter has not been extended to you lately, there is a reason. Find out what it is.

Has the Scepter Been Extended?

“So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter. And the king said to her, ‘What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!'” Esther 5:2-3, NKJV

Need favor with your boss? Supervisor? Those over you? What will cause your “king” to extend the scepter towards you and give you favor in his or her eyes? There are a few things we can learn from this story of Esther.

First—be a person of prayer and humility. Esther sought the Lord on His strategy for gaining the kings favor. She was humble, submitted to the Lord and “called to the kingdom for such a time as this.” It’s hard for any “king” to resist a person with a humble, contrite disposition. Those in authority are not often impressed with—or responsive to—those who are mavericks, cocky, over-confident, smart-mouthed or puffed up.

Second—find out what the “king” likes. Esther did. She knew how to approach the king. She knew what approach, verbiage, attire and aromas he liked and she catered to his pleasure. What does your boss like? If they are motivated by accomplishment and tasks, they probably like it when you hit your deadlines. If so, do it. If your boss is a communicator or a words person, they probably like it when you respond to their emails and memos. They probably appreciate it when you show them respect with your words and when you are friendly saying things like, “Hello, how are you, today?” or “I am thankful and blessed to work here…” and the like at the appropriate times. If so, do it. If your supervisor is encouraged when people step up to serve their requests or the needs of the company or ministry—especially in ways that are unexpected—then do it. If you’re boss invites you to lunch or dinner at his or her home and/or enjoys spending time with you and others in your organization, don’t be in a hurry to leave a meeting where they are present…rather engage in the conversation and consider inviting them to lunch or dinner sometime, on your dime. If your boss finds ways to give you gifts for a job well done, there is a good chance they would enjoy receiving an occasional gift from you.

Third—find out what bugs the “king.” If they have some pet peeves, don’t peeve them off! If they get aggravated with people who move at a slow pace, pick up the pace. If they don’t like it when details are missed—don’t miss the details. If they have to constantly check up to make sure you’re doing your job, do a better job. If they enjoy a verbally-charged, fun, friendly atmosphere, don’t be a silent stick-in-the-mud. Find out what your “king” dislikes and don’t go there.

Your boss wants to extend favor to you. There is no doubt about that. We can tell you from experience—the “king” wants to extend favor to those they serve! Over the years as pastors/employers, we’ve had it in our hearts to do some nice things for various staff members and/or people in the congregation…taking them on vacations, paying their way for this or that…and we’ve done it because those people, like Esther, found favor in our sight. At other times, the Lord put a desire in our hearts to bless a staff or congregation member…perhaps a desire to make a house or car payment for them or by offering them a promotion or opportunity…and unbeknownst to them, we’ve had to rescind the scepter of favor because those people made choices that caused them to fall out of favor.

If you’re an employer, boss, pastor or leader, you’ve experienced the same things. I have no doubt it’s your desire to extend favor to those you serve. You are happy to extend the scepter of favor to those with a prayerful, humble heart; those who do things you appreciate and those who avoid doing things that aggravate you.

If you’re an employee, staff member or follower and you feel that the scepter has not been extended to you lately…there is a reason—find out what it is. If you’ve fallen out of favor, be sure you take a good long, hard look at these three things mentioned above and make the needed adjustments.

Interestingly, these same principles go a long way in our relationship with the King of kings, as well. God wants to surround us with favor! So, let’s make sure we are people of humility and prayer. Let’s make sure we are living lives that please the King and let’s make sure we eliminate behavior that displeases the King!

Remember this, once you find favor in the “king’s” sight, doors open, good things happen, and the “king” will likely want to “give you up to half his kingdom!”

Say It: “Father, I ask You to open my eyes in this area. I choose to humble myself under Your mighty Hand. I choose to be a person of prayer. I ask You for insight on what my “king” (boss, employer, supervisor) likes and dislikes. Help me to change my attitudes and behavior to be pleasing to You and so that the scepter of favor is extended towards me! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Forgiving Ourselves

 

by Dr Charles Stanley

Often the only way to work through times of self-doubt and remorse is to focus on the basics of who God is and what He wants for your life.

The Challenges of Forgiving Ourselves

Psalm 32:1-2

Today, let’s look at seven questions to ask yourself when you struggle with self-condemnation.

1. Why should I continue to condemn myself when the Lord no longer condemns me?

2. Is my self-condemnation drawing me into a closer relationship with God, or is it driving me further from Him?

3. What good am I doing by refusing to forgive myself?

4. Is my self-condemnation helping or hurting my relationships with other people?

5. Does my refusal to forgive myself impress God? Does He find me more devout because of my guilt and shame?

6. Is there any biblical basis for withholding self-forgiveness?

7. How long do I intend to condemn myself? What will be the end result?

Normally, the answers to these questions are obvious. However, if you’re in the throes of self-condemnation, the truth may seem hazy.

Often the only way to work through times of self-doubt and remorse is to focus on the basics of who God is and what He wants for your life. If you are struggling with an inability to forgive yourself, prayerfully consider the seven questions above. Read them aloud, and let them work through your spirit. You may even want to open a journal or take out a sheet of paper to record your thoughts as the Lord speaks to you. You will surely face some intense wrestling in your heart as you consider these points—and as God reorders your thoughts about yourself.

Spouse’s Annoying Habit

 

by Focus on the Family
Find out what to do when you realize that the person of your dreams has some habits that annoy you.

Should I Try to Change My Spouse’s Annoying Habits?

QUESTION

Is it possible to change your mate? When we got engaged, I thought my spouse could do no wrong. Now that we’re married, I’ve become aware that the person of my dreams actually has some very annoying habits. How do I deal with this situation?

ANSWER

It’s normal to be annoyed with your spouse’s habits. It’s also fairly common to discover that the two of you have conflicting personalities. What you need to remember is that you willingly chose to marry this person, not just because you shared some similarities, but also for the differences. You felt the need to be completed by another person who is unlike you in some significant ways. The key is to work together to change the habits that can be changed and learn to accept those that can’t.

In an effort to coax constructive change in their mate, some spouses resort to manipulative measures. They leave pamphlets or books around hoping their partner will get the hint. Don’t take that route. Instead, if you have a concern, take ownership of your feelings. Voice them honestly and respectfully. Sometimes expressing them in a note can reduce defensiveness and cut through communication difficulties.

You also need to ask yourself why you want your spouse to change. Is it simply to please yourself or make them more like you? Would this change make things easier for you while causing your spouse to feel imprisoned? Or is your desire to eliminate behaviors that are actually preventing your partner from growing emotionally and spiritually? In other words, is your goal to liberate your spouse or to restrict their freedom?

Ultimately, nobody can change another person. The only person you can change is yourself. This doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no limits to what’s appropriate in a marriage: you don’t need to accept abusive behavior, and physical aggression is not to be tolerated for a moment. Still, in the case of smaller, less harmful habits, it may be worth addressing the issue if you think the change would truly benefit both of you and put your relationship on a stronger footing. If you choose to move forward, be sure to keep the following guidelines in mind:

1) Tackle the problem honestly. Don’t beat around the bush. Instead, say something like, “Honey, it bothers me when you burp at the table. It teaches the kids a bad habit, and it’s rude and offensive to guests.”

2) Explain the benefit of the change. For example, “Meals will be more pleasant for all of us, and you’ll be a good example to our guests.”

3) Don’t demand change. Instead, request it. Your spouse will respond more favorably.

4) Don’t attack your mate. When you attack your spouse, you crush their spirit. Confront the problem; don’t belittle the person.

5) Discuss ways to bring about the desired change. Change is hard for all of us. Let your spouse know that you’re on his or her side. Help them find ways to alter bad habits.

6) Encourage your spouse’s growth. Acknowledge positive progress, and offer praise and expressions of appreciation for your mate’s efforts.

7) Recognize that change takes time. Be patient, and let your spouse know that you’re in this together for the long haul.

8) Focus on your spouse’s good habits, not just the irritating ones. Look for the good in your mate. Remember Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is honorable, pure, just, lovely… think on these things.”

9) Pray for your spouse. God is ultimately the one who makes change possible. So pray for your mate’s efforts. And since some behaviors may never change, ask God to give you grace to accept the differences between you.

10) Seek to change the habit, not the person. If you’re trying to alter your spouse’s personality or temperament, you’ll be fighting a losing battle that will end in frustration for both of you.

Yea Nay Promises

 

by Bill Gothard
A “yea, nay” promise violates the nature of God, brings condemnation to us, and can cause bitterness in those who receive such a promise.

Reject ‘Yea, Nay’ Promises

Command 8: Keep Your Word | Day 50

A father watched with growing concern as the heart of his son grew more and more distant from him. The 15-year-old boy used to love being around his father, but now he looked for every reason to stay away from him. The father made several attempts to rebuild their relationship, but nothing worked. When I talked to the son, it became obvious that he was bitter toward his father. The depth of his bitterness surprised me. Several years earlier, his father had promised to take him on a weekend trip, but had never carried it out. In talking with the father, I quickly discovered that he had made only a halfhearted promise that he felt he really didn’t need to keep. Thus, he violated this command of Christ:

Command Eight: “Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).

People count on us to do what we say we will do. The Pharisees of Christ’s day had developed a clever arrangement to get out of keeping their promises. In making a promise, they would swear by something. Their intentions and sense of obligation to carry out their promises were revealed by the importance of that by which they swore. (See Matthew 23:16-20.)

Therefore, Jesus said: “Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black” (Matthew 5:34-36). When we make a promise to do something, we must be absolutely committed and sure in our minds that we really want to do it and that we can do it. We must keep our promises even if they require more sacrifice than we originally expected, as described in Psalm 15:

“He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not… He that doeth these things shall never be moved” (Psalm 15:4-5).

A “yea, yea” (yes) promise means that we will definitely do it and a “nay, nay” (no) promise means that we will definitely not do it. Notice the importance of this in James 5:12: “Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”

We have an important commentary on a “yea, nay” (insincere) promise in II Corinthians 1:19-20: “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ…was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”

A “yea, nay” promise violates the nature of God, brings condemnation to us, and can cause bitterness in those who receive such a promise. Let’s purpose from this day forward that we will mean what we say and that we will keep our promises to others even if it requires sacrifice to do so.