Three words can mean so much. They are powerful. They can change the heart of both the person offended and the offender. These words can let a person know we care. When used correctly, they are words of humility and consideration. When spoken, it shows a desire to reconcile, to bring some sense of closure and some form of resolution.
We know that we will not always agree on everything, so apologizing is necessary for any healthy relationship. If these three words bring so much healing and reconciliation, why aren’t they often used? Aren’t relationships based on truth and love?
Why is it easier to get the other person told rather than apologize for our portion of the wrongdoing? Because it is easier to place blame on others than it is to take responsibility and be accountable. No one likes to admit when they are wrong. It is embarrassing. It is disappointing to us and the other person. We do not have a desire to let others down. And we can struggle with being perfect which applies unnecessary pressure to us. The perfection God requires is not to dot every “I” and cross every “t.” His definition of perfection is to receive and walk in His love.
“I am sorry” is not only significant in the health of great relationships, this statement is key in our relationship with God. To be truly sorry is to repent and change. See, the motivation of this apology is that our hearts are tender to the hurt the other has experienced. When we repent to God, we are saying that we are sorry for hurting His heart and that hurting Him hurts us. This is the same in our earthly relationships if experienced in a healthy way.
I am sure you have had people to hurt you and never apologize for how they treated you, and some will never apologize because of pride and embarrassment. But this does not give you the right to allow your heart to be cold. You were created to receive love, love yourself and love others well. And in the language of love are three beautiful words that bring healing, “I am sorry.” Let us not allow this statement to become a stranger to us, especially as Christians. Selah.
There is a difference between needing someone and wanting them. The problem with how society defines love is that the only way we are okay with people being in our lives is only when they meet our needs. I will get right to the point with this. When we cannot give to others because we are so consumed with our needs makes us a potentially toxic person. We are hard to live with, hard to deal with and hard to be in a relationship with. No one wants to be friends with a leech. No one wants to be married to someone who is so dependent on them that they drain the life out of them.
We cannot genuinely love who we need. Think about it. If love is giving and sacrificial, we cannot sacrifice to give to others if we are always pulling for others to give us what we need. Saying that people are not Christian for not answering our every beckon call shows that our hearts are in the wrong place. Love gives a choice. People have a right to say, “no.”
People cannot be our source of happiness, fulfillment, and peace. Only God can be that for us. And when we allow Him to be that we can love others well. Otherwise, we will continue to jump from one relationship to the other, needing people to fill voids they were never called to fill. No one was ever created to constantly be a lifeline for us.
Needing others comes from a lack of healing within. To need people is to mistreat them. This does not mean that you cannot ask for support in rough patches of life, but you must be mindful of any one-sided relationships where you are doing much of the receiving and they are doing all the giving. This is unhealthy. The health of the relationship is based on the health of us.
So in your prayer time, if you find yourself needing people rather than wanting them in your life, if you find yourself receiving more often than giving, ask God to show you the void in your heart. He desires to heal you so that you are filled and complete in Him alone. Then you will be able to give from a whole place.
Our emotions are a big part of our soul. They guard and protect what we value in our hearts. It is unhealthy to ignore our emotions, and it’s also unhealthy to let them control every decision we make. We must be able to put them in their proper place.
Emotional exaggeration is what I define to describe instances where we base a bigger picture off a small piece, occurrence, or instance. For example, say one person whom you have not seen in a while said, “you’ve gained weight.” If you resolve to say, “everyone is telling me that I’m gaining weight,” this is emotional exaggeration, because we are taking something one person said and speaking and thinking as if everyone said it. There is a major difference between one person and everyone.
Emotional exaggeration is dangerous because it makes things bigger than what they seem. It can create anxiety. It can cause deception as well, making us believe things that are not true. It is imperative that we walk in discernment to know when we are ‘talking crazy,’ when we are filtering our whole life through the lenses and opinions of one or two people. To not give ourselves a chance to do better, be better, or believe different because of an experience with a few people is unfair.
I pray you will discern your words and emotions, that you do not allow them to get the best of you, causing you to make things bigger than what they are. I pray you understand that the deception is real in these cases, and just because you have a few negative experiences does not mean your whole life will be that way. In Jesus name, amen.
We hear this often, right? What we put in our bodies will start to show. If we eat too much grease it will show in our cholesterol levels. If we eat too much sugar it will…well, you get the point. But let’s go even further. We are what our eyes behold. The eyes are the windows to our souls and what we look at is what our souls are digesting.
We’re all grown adults. No one tells us what to look at because we’re old enough to determine that for ourselves. And that’s true. But truthfully, what we watch continually will come out of us eventually. You get to decide what you want oozing out of you later. But in order to do that, you must be conscious of what you’re putting in.
See, we will really know what’s in us during trials and tests. We may can hide for a moment, but when the fire gets hot what’s really in our souls will come out. And what comes out is what we’ve been eating on for a while.
Our belief has an appetite, and it works in either realm. If we feed it the Word of God, we will have Godly responses to trials. But if we feed our belief things that have been endorsed by the culture of the world, we will react in that way.
Ever had an upset stomach? Ever ate something you shouldn’t have? What a terrible feeling! But after your body kicks it out you feel better! Some of us are frustrated because our souls have eaten so much that we’re confused. It’s time for a spiritual regurgitation.
Isn’t it foolish to eat the same things that made us sick? Isn’t it not wise to still stay connected to what’s toxic? Eating what’s expired has never been healthy…Selah.
Have you ever noticed how two people can say the same thing but only one gets heard? Why is that the case? Why do we see this type of behavior? Have you noticed that the one who gets heard is usually the one whose name is well-known?
Scripture proves these hearing biases we have. Mark 6:4 says, “Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is treated with honor everywhere except in his own hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house.’” One of the words used for “honor” is “recognition.” This verse is loaded, but one of the points I believe Jesus was saying is that those who tend to be closest to you (relatives and those in your hometown) tend to be those who don’t take you as serious as those who really don’t know you or have a kindred relationship with you. As a matter of fact, the familiarity and ignorance of the character of Jesus caused Him not to be able to do many miracles in His hometown because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58).
Humanity still shows that we would rather listen to the ones whose famous rather than the ones we’ve always known. After all, we’ve always known them. We hear them release prophecy often. We hear them sing often. We hear them preach often. But we tend to give more attention to those we don’t know. We buy their books and CDs, but if someone we know releases a book, we may or may not purchase it, even if they are saying the same things. We invite famous people to headline conferences in our area while there are tried and true men and women of God whose always been solid among us.
What causes this behavior? Could it be that there’s something more we’re drawn to? It’s not necessarily the word that’s spoken; it’s something deeper. I believe it’s the notoriety the person has. Think about it. The anointing comes from God who is the Father of the famous preacher who spoke it as well as the local one. So it’s not like one person is “off.” It’s that one of them has something we desire, and it’s not word! It’s attention and notoriety. Just a thought…
So the next time someone in your family releases something from God, listen to them. Don’t take them for granted. Don’t let God have to remove some of your friends and family to places their anointing will be appreciated more. Don’t miss out on what He’s using them to say to us simply because we’re too common with them.
And to those who feel ignored because you’re too plain, not flashy enough, or not famous enough, keep teaching. Keep speaking. Someone is listening. God will not supply you with what will not be demanded for later. Don’t wait until your name gets great to start obeying God. Do so now, whether people pay attention or not. The seed has been planted, and God will remind them of what He used you to say.
We all have been there – hurt, abandoned, abused, rejected, betrayed. None of us are exempt from pain. However, it is how we handle the pain that determines the trajectory of our life.
Many of us have been hurt so bad that we’re waiting, literally waiting for an apology from the one who wronged us. But isn’t that dangerous? Or is it prideful? Maybe it’s even arrogant to think that we can add another day to our life. Could it be that wasting days, weeks and even years of our lives just to possibly hear three words is not being a great steward of the life we’ve been given? How is it that we’ve allowed people to have that much power over us, enough power to put our lives on hold while holding up current and new relationships because we’re still hurt?
I know, forgiveness is weak right? Letting go gives the offender too much power. After all, they did the wrong and we didn’t do anything. But may I submit something else to think about? We’ve offended God who gave us life and we’ve also offended ourselves by not giving us a chance to move on, progress and move forward. We’ve locked our identity into the person who committed the wrong, not God. And that’s not fair to Him, nor ourselves.
God has called us to live an abundant life (John 10:10). Abundance here does not mean houses, cars and money. It means peace and a clear conscious. It’s a heart that’s free to love and receive love. It’s a life that’s not so guarded that we have a hard time trusting anyone. It’s a life free from allowing anger, pain and hurt to control our decisions and motivations. Abundance is a heart that’s full of love.
I’m not trying to sound insensitive, but I am nudging you a bit. Let it go and trust that God will handle the pain you’ve been through. There’s a life you’ve been missing out on. It’s time to live it, free from expecting three words you may not ever get. Christ died for you to live. Receive this gift.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “one-up on you” where there’s a person who’s always trying to make what you speak about or what you do seem so small? They spend great effort making you feel incompetent. They add their two cents to try to prove to others that you don’t know what you’re talking about – they’re the only one that’s right. Nothing you say or do will ever be good enough to or for them. You’re not saying enough; you don’t know enough. You’re not anointed enough. You’re simply not enough. If you offer a hug to someone to encourage them, they would’ve hugged them and gave them a Scripture. If you fast for two days, they would have fasted for twenty-one. It’s all about proving you wrong. Your song was too long. You didn’t pray long enough. You didn’t hoop when you preached. Blah, blah, blah. And usually, those who are on you so strongly don’t have a relationship with you anyway. Side note: No one wants to hear advice from someone who won’t even take the time to fellowship with them.
So how do you deal with these types of people? You can’t be wrong all the time, right? You can’t be so far from God that you can’t hear anything He is speaking to and through you. Friends, this is a critical spirit, and being overly critical comes from a scornful heart. Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” The word, “scornful” in this verse means, “to make mouths at, to talk arrogantly, to mock, to deride (to express a lack of respect or approval of, to subject to usually bitter or contemptuous ridicule or criticism, to laugh at or insult contemptuously) to be inflated.”
See, those with a scornful heart struggle with needing to be heard and seen. Therefore they inflate themselves and openly express disapproval of how you’re doing things. They don’t mind criticizing you because they want everyone to know that you’re not it, they are. It’s painted that they are the model of success and the measurement of perfection. Of course not all criticism comes from a bad heart, but you will be able to discern the difference from a scornful heart because nothing you ever do will be perfect enough for them. And moreover, they will keep quiet and not celebrate what God is doing through you because it rains on their parade.
To deal with difficult people with this heart attitude we must understand the nature and purpose of what this spirit comes to do. Truthfully, those who “one-up” on us are those who feel horrible about themselves. People treat us according to how they feel about themselves. They nick-pick at others because they struggle with perfectionism, and their unsolicited advice can put us under the pressure to perform, the pressure to conform or the pressure to be someone else if we’re not careful. And please know that you will never be enough to a wounded person.
So to wrap this up, let’s tackle how to bring some resolve to this. First, don’t let their critical heart cause you to second-guess what God is telling you. They are hurting and they want you to take on the responsibility of their pain. Secondly, pray for them to be open to the Holy Spirit walking them through the process of healing. Pray that the same boldness they attempt to reveal other people’s flaws will be the same boldness they have to walk in the freedom Christ died for. Thirdly but surely not least, make sure you’re not the critical one. Selah.
Just like you, I’ve had my fair share of free time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the time to catch up on rest and relax. I’ve just been using this time to think a lot as well. I’ve seen on the news and on social media how many are saying they desire to get back to normalcy. But will it ever be normal after this? Even further, should we want it to be back to what normal used to be, or shall there be a new normal created?
How was your normal before the pandemic? How much time did you spend with your spouse and children? Were you taking care of yourself? Did you find yourself too busy? When was the last time you and your family had a family meal, a family Bible Study or prayer time? When was the last time you had a designated uninterrupted prayer time?
If being too busy with no time with God, with family or with you were your normal before the pandemic, would you want life to get back to that same rhythm? Or will you use this time to create a new normal? Let this quarantine reveal to us some habits to replace and new healthy ones to form. First, let’s start with our time with God. Let’s set, develop and intentionally defend our time with our Father. Secondly, let’s work to take better care of ourselves by getting proper rest, setting healthy boundaries like a bedtime, and developing a healthier relationship with food. And thirdly but not least, let’s intentionally set family time.
We only get one life. Let’s be grateful for the Lord’s mercy and ask Him how we can be better stewards of this life He has entrusted us with. Let’s aim for a new normal.
I believe the word, "perspective" is one of the key words for 2020. It's not just what we see but it's how we see a thing that determines how we respond to it (Matthew 6:22-23). Yes, there are many things that can pose to be a threat to our "normalcy," but there are also some things to consider.
No, we're not able to go to restaurants and sit down to enjoy the environment at the moment. We must be even the more careful and plan our trips to essential places. But let me pose a thought for you to think about. Could it be that we've been so busy that we've hidden our internal emotional and mental pain behind cluttered schedules? Could it be that we're being quarantined with the very person we've neglected - us?
Wellness is not often times discussed in the church, but it is essential for us to grasp so we will no longer hide our pain behind titles and filling our plates with ministry responsibilities. The culture of church has even taught us that we can’t even release our feelings to God in prayer. But how else can we heal if we don’t cast our cares on Him?
So now that the world is at a standstill, how are you, really? How is your heart? Are you still angry at someone? Has the pain you’ve ignored seeped into how you talk to people lately? Now that some “normalcy” is removed, who are you without those activities? How is your relationship with God? Have you been viewing God from a traumatized place?
I would suggest that now is a great time to heal. I understand that healing can hurt more than the wound itself, but it is necessary for our progression in the days, weeks and years to come. God is not just King; He is Father. He wants you to be vulnerable and transparent with Him. He wants to heal the areas of your heart that are broken and angry.
I pray the grace of God be upon you to articulate how you feel to Him in prayer. I pray you receive His grace to confront things that have been following you and creating cycles in your life. He wants to heal you from the inside out. Let Him do it this time.