Benefits of Shame?

Originally Posted February 28 2016

Shame is an interesting topic now a days. It has become the new enemy which we must irradiate from this world. We need to stop shaming people! We shouldn’t feel shame about the things we do or are!

But the more I think of it, the more I find that shame (much like fear) is not as evil as we make it out to be.

We feel shame when we feel like something we did was wrong. It’s called a conscience and it is actually a good thing to have. Now while I say shame is not evil, how we approach it, I believe is wrong.

Shame is not meant to limit us… to lock us away in a room feeling like we can’t do anything. No, actually it’s meant to do the opposite. If you feel ashamed of something you did or are doing, don’t cry in a corner, use it as motivation to live better! To still realize something might be wrong is a good thing to do! If you are able to do whatever you want and feel no twinge of regret or shame then be scared. It is possible to do and is a very VERY scary place to be!

Now that being said, there are things we feel shame for that we shouldn’t. Don’t be ashamed of standing up for what you believe in, or standing up against injustice, or not being a walking floor mat. Shame is not meant as a way to hold us back but as a reminder that we need to slow down and analyze. That we need to ask ourselves, “Is this really worth the risk you’re taking on, and the dangers you may create?” and… sometimes it is… other times it isn’t. To stand up for someone everyone else makes fun of is a noble purpose… to write a letter to the head office of Tim Hortons to get the guy who skimped half a container of cream on your double double fired is… not so much.

You are not a slave to your emotions, but we have fears and regrets for a reason. Don’t feel like you have to destroy your emotions lest you be a slave to them. You were created with them, you are meant to work with them!


Using the Sword of Truth

Originally Posted February 21 2016

Anyone who has known me long enough knows I have a slight obsession with ancient weapons and martial combat… ESPECIALLY when it comes to swords!

However, because of this, it really makes me think when I read in the bible how the word of God is a sword sharper than any two edged sword…

See, here’s the thing. A lot of people read that and think “HEY! The Bible is powerful! Let’s throw around verses when we need it just like picking up a blade to fight off a bad guy!” But this kind of thinking overlooks one VERY important detail about sword fighting… No one can just ‘Pick up a sword and beat the bad guy’… At least not without a heap load of dumb luck!

Swords are heavy and clumsy. You can’t hold them too loosely nor too tightly. If you simply swing one around randomly you’ll be so full of openings and tire yourself out so quickly that it won’t be too hard to overpower you… Provided you don’t lob off your own arm first…

To make any use of the sword you must practice daily. You must study it, care for it, use it to the point that it is not a tool to hide behind, but an extension of your body you can move forward with. Picking up a sword will not save you, practicing during your times of peace is what will.

In the same way with the Bible, don’t think that you can just turn to it when you need it. Doing so is dangerous and foolhardy. If you want the Bible to have any benefit to your life you need to read it daily, pray about it, study it, learn the context that it was written in. You must understand it’s context and subtext so deeply that it no longer becomes words to hide your arguments behind, but wisdom that guides your path forward.

The way of the sword is difficult to master. But most things worthwhile in life are.

No Greater Love

Originally Posted February 12 2016

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

I often struggled with this verse, after all, there aren’t many opportunities for me to lay down my life for my friends anymore, does that mean I can never show the ultimate form of love to others? But recently I’ve realized something.

The same way that “giving your life for God” means so much more than dying a martyr, I think laying down your life for your friends can also mean more.

I see a lot of posts, especially around this time of year, about what it means to be in love, or what love looks like, be it obsessively thinking about them, finding even the weirdest parts of them attractive, or longing for every little touch from them, but I don’t think that is enough. If you REALLY want to experience true love… A love that passes all understanding, and forever changes people, die to yourself….

Don’t get angry when they don’t do what you want them to. Give up any expectations of what you deserve and what you need to get for them to truly love you. Make your focus entirely on what you can give to them, not what you’re getting out of it. Be it friendships or relationships, live your life to build others up, not to strengthen your pride.

To die to oneself is by far the more difficult choice than to let oneself die, because you then have to deal with the consequences afterwards. But to die to oneself is the first step on impacting the lives of many, including your own!

You Are What Frustrates You

Originally Posted February 10 2016

One of the most frustrating pieces of advice I’ve ever been told (because it’s unfortunately very true) was that if you look at the people in this world who REALLY urk you… I don’t mean make you angry or upset because they’re killing children or drowning puppies, but the people who you just can’t stand being around because their very existence offends your being… Majority of the time the thing that urks you most about them is usually a large problem YOU also have but are blind to. And it’s horrible because I catch myself on it so many times! It may be a different subject matter (Jehovah’s witness vs Christian, sports vs video games and arts, working vs studying, etc) but the actions or feelings we are dealing with are the same.

It’s a horrible thing to realize but important for 2 reasons. First off is so you learn to humble yourself and be less harsh on those around you. But equally or possibly even more importantly is so that you learn to get over yourself and work on those problems you didn’t realize you had so you yourself can be a better person! Others, you can’t control, but you? With God’s help you’ve got a chance!

Life Goals vs World Perspective

Originally Posted February 5 2016

If there is one thing that I don’t think it is possible to overestimate, it is the effect your life focus has on your perception of reality. I watch people fight tooth and nail over issues every day which are impossible to win because each side sees a completely different world than the other.

Is your main goal in life to keep safe? Then who cares about what you do to others? What’s it matter if you put others in harm’s way? If someone’s continued existence threatens your own for any period, get rid of them! After all, why should others have control over YOUR life?

If your main goal is achieving freedom, then who cares if you do it at the expense of others’ freedom? Who cares if someone is risking their or others’ safety? They have the right to do and experience what they want to experience! And how dare you try to impose your self righteous, moralistic, conservative views on them under the excuse of keeping them safe! What horrid person worries about others’ safety anyways?!?

If your main goal is financial growth, then who cares how you get it? Who cares if you lie and cheat to get things cheaper? Who cares if you ruin businesses with lawsuits? You have money now! Well… Not enough but you can still get more! After all, they would probably do the same to you if they were as smart as you!

If your main goal is fame, then who cares who you step on to get there? Who cares if what people see of you and who you are are completely different people? Who cares what things you do behind the scenes to get people to support and advertise you? The world NEEDS to see you! Well… Not YOU, but the you you’re showing!

If your goal is to NOT be like someone, then who cares if there are things they did that worked? Who cares if there are parts of their beliefs and life style that you probably would agree with if you listened to them? You’re not going to listen to them! They remind you of that person who you don’t want to be like! They and everyone like them are jerks!

There are two things which I find people don’t like to think of that are greatly impact our perspectives. First off is the fact that no matter what we think, there is an honest to goodness reality out their that we don’t see. We can’t read minds, we can’t be everywhere at every time, yeesh, in almost 7000 years we still don’t even know half of what’s on our own planet! Our perspectives are so absolutely fragmented and reality is so much bigger. Always remember you don’t see the whole picture, but there IS a whole picture which is outside your control.

Secondly realize, not everyone is like you. Not everyone thinks the way you do or values the things you do. Whether they SHOULD value these things or not is an entirely separate issue, but realize that people come to their decisions through various means which seem logical to them. Not that we are all right, in fact it is usually more likely that we are all wrong… But people notice different things and blind themselves to different things

Put deep thought into what you are living for because it honestly controls more than you think. Faith in itself is not a bad thing, we all have it as we have no choice BUT to have it with how little we know. Faith in the WRONG things however can be absolutely terrifying. Don’t underestimate how easy it is to convince yourself that human life is worthless, nor how doomed we all are if we go down that route

It’s not WHAT but WHY

Originally Posted February 3 2016

List 10 things your parents did for you that really impacted your life……………………..

Now if I copied those 10 things, would I have the same relationship with you as you did with your parents? Not likely… If I did 100 things? …. Probably not. The main difference is that a relationship is not about WHAT is done as much as it is about WHY it is done, and unfortunately we do the same thing with following God.

I am all for learning from the wisdom and experience of Christians who came before me, but if you were to do everything Paul did, you wouldn’t be Paul!

We focus so much on the little things “they gave up the internet, so I need to! He sold his belongings, so I need to! She avoided thinking about marriage till she was 50 so I need to! They stood out on the streets shouting so we all need to!”

The thing is that focusing so much on WHAT they did, we miss the most important part! “They asked God to use them for His glory, and gave up fighting Him for control.”

In the end, THIS is what matters. Because the thing is, God has a different plan for each of us. He wants to lead us down different paths, use us in ways only we can be used. If we all walked the same path in life, we would lose the support from each other we can only get from our differences, as well as miss out on helping half the lives we need us.

The lives that came before us shed great wisdom, and can help us avoid a ton of pitfalls. But if your plan for getting closer to God involves a list of ten things you need to do to live your life like your hero, you’re doing it wrong. This is a relationship with God, not an Ikea shelving unit with God. Get your priorities straight, get communication open, and live each day with an ambition to look for where God’s leading you. You’d be surprised how far He’ll take you