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Category — Relatonships with others

When Being Honest May Not Be Loving

There is a notion afoot that goes something like this, “I have to speak what’s on my mind or I wouldn’t be honest.” Of course it’s good to be honest. But often, someone makes that statement as an excuse to say something hurtful to others. We’ve probably all heard someone make a cruel remark under the guise of “being honest.”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be honest or true to ourselves. We could well argue that such a value is commendable. But when we use “honesty” as a pretense for saying whatever is on our mind without regard for others, we have a major problem. Suddenly, our so-called honesty is clashing with a lack of love or concern for others.

Being honest with ourselves does not necessarily require voicing that honesty. Suppose our little child or grandchild participates in a recital and really messes up. Inside, we might be thinking, “Wow, she forgot her lines, didn’t stand where she was supposed to, and was fidgeting with her dress.”

For the sake of “being honest with ourselves,” do we blurt out what’s on our mind and clobber this little girl with harsh criticism? Or should we hold our tongue and look for ways to encourage her and help her improve without destroying her self-image?

Or let’s say your spouse wanted to surprise you by making dinner. But things didn’t turn out so well: the vegetables were overcooked, the gravy was burnt, and the meat was tough. We might hurl all those criticisms at our spouse with the excuse, “Well I’m just being honest!”

Meanwhile, we’ve hurt our spouse. We completely overlooked the fact that they made an honest attempt to demonstrate their love for us. And we’ve trampled on their efforts grinding them into the mud, under the guise of “being honest.”

Consider the following:

  • “The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.” (Proverbs 12:23 NIV)
  • “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)
  • “A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” (Proverbs 14:3 NIV)
  • “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4 NIV)
  • “Just like a spark can destroy an entire forest, so your words can kindle an inferno in your life and the lives of others. Such caustic words are evil, corrupting your whole being.” (James 3:5-6 paraphrase)

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re not being honest when you withhold a cruel remark. Instead, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)

©2017 Rob Fischer

March 10, 2017   Comments Off on When Being Honest May Not Be Loving

26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 21-26)

21. Small groups provide a way for us to be involved in something greater than ourselves! This past Christmas a small group rallied around a family that was hurting financially due to an onslaught of medical bills. This small group gave generously to provide a Christmas for this family! The noteworthy thing about this incident is that the majority of the small group members had never met this needy family. Small groups truly do give us opportunities to be a part of something bigger than ourselves!

22. Small groups cultivate an environment in which the Lord is present with us! Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” When the Twin Towers came down in the awful terrorist attack on the US in 2001, my wife and I met a couple of days later with our small group of young single adults. With the emotions of this horrible tragedy still raw in our minds and hearts, we gathered together that evening to worship and pray to the One who could make sense of it all. We spent the evening simply worshiping God, praying for the victims and their families and for our nation. The sense of God’s presence among us was overwhelming. [Read more →]

March 9, 2012   Comments Off on 26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 21-26)

26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 16-20)

16. Small groups are like the “mud room” in the farm house! Come as you are! A small group must be a safe place to be transparent and honest. In the small group we cry and laugh together. As long as we live behind a facade before others, we will not grow in Christ and we cannot help others grow in Christ. James said, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” (James 5:16)

17. Small groups provide us with the accountability that we desperately need! A few years ago, I was leading a men’s small group over the lunch hour. One of our guys (I’ll call him Kent) came in late and was noticeably troubled. We greeted Kent and I asked him what was wrong. He blurted out that he had just had a fight with his wife. I asked him if he had reconciled with her, to which he answered no. He explained what their argument was over and it was crystal clear to all of us that Kent was being extremely unreasonable and unloving toward his wife. Playfully, we told him to get back home and make things right with his wife and to let us know how things went. To Kent’s credit, he did! Kent was grateful for our tough love for him (and so was his wife!). [Read more →]

February 27, 2012   Comments Off on 26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 16-20)

26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 6-10)

6. Small groups help fulfill Christ’s design for us to be part of His family. We read about that in Ephesians 2:19-21. We can be a part of a large church, but we may not experience family unless we’re part of a small group.

7. Small groups follow Jesus’ example with His twelve disciples! Jesus chose twelve men…that they might be with Him…(Mark 3:14)Jesus spent time with many others too, but he focused on the twelve. There is a limit to the number of people we can impact deeply with our lives. Small groups provide a great environment in which to influence and impact a few deeply. [Read more →]

February 4, 2012   Comments Off on 26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 6-10)

26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 1-5)

1. Small groups are biblical! See Acts 2:46 (NLT) “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity.”

2. Small groups meet our God-designed need for relationship! God created us for relationship with Him and with others. Small groups can provide an ideal environment for us to cultivate deep, lasting relationships.

3. Small groups enable us to stay small as the church grows larger! While large churches enjoy many advantages, they also struggle with how to provide meaningful, caring relationships. Small groups offer a great solution to this challenge. And even smaller churches need small groups! [Read more →]

January 23, 2012   Comments Off on 26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 1-5)

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 9

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) By debts, Jesus is not referring to financial indebtedness, but our sins. The New Living Translation renders this verse, “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Just prior to modeling this prayer, Jesus reminded His listeners, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) If God knows what we need before we ask Him, then why ask? We ask God because it’s fitting to do so.

As we read or pray this prayer, it would be easy for us to see our “daily bread” or the “forgiveness of our debts” as the focal things, but they aren’t. The focal thing in this prayer is God and our relationship with Him. When we express our need to Him for bread and for forgiveness, we interact with Him in a way that cultivates our relationship with Him and acknowledges who He is. God is not merely the “bread-Giver” or “Forgiver,” He is our Father. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11) [Read more →]

November 16, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer, Part 9

Fragile vs. Durable Relationships

Recently, I found myself crying out to God after a team meeting, “Lord, why are our relationships so fragile?!” This particular team had experienced seasons of strong, healthy interaction. Yet, in one session the team relationships seemed to crumble. It’s as though we suddenly, inexplicably found ourselves on the verge of losing all we had worked for till now. This brought me to my plea before God, “Why are relationships so fragile?”

Occasionally, when I’ve cried out to God in desperation like that, I’ve sense His immediate, clear response. This was also such an occasion. I perceived God saying, “I don’t want your relationships to be fragile!” His response jarred me, because I’ve often thought of the health of relationships as fragile in terms of how volitile or easily they disintigrate. I had always assumed that frailty was simply the nature of our earthly relationships.  All that evening and into the next morning I mulled over the characteristics of fragile relationships and contrasted them with the characteristics of durable relationships. My brainstorming over these characteristic yielded the list below. I trust that God will use this contrast in your heart and life. May all your relationships become durable ones!

 

 

©2011 Rob Fischer

June 2, 2011   1 Comment

Forgive as Christ Forgave You!

There are times when someone hurts us so severely or so repeatedly that we feel we cannot forgive them. We feel justified in not extending them forgiveness, because what they did was so awful, so despicable. If the offending person is our spouse, his or her cruel or thoughtless act may have been repeated so many times that we no longer trust them. We withhold forgiveness because if we do forgive them—again—we cannot trust that they won’t do this awful thing again.

Our forgiveness, however, cannot be based on trust or on the likeliness that the offender will not hurt us again. Instead, our forgiveness must be based on the character and example of God Himself. In three primary passages of the Scripture on forgiveness, every one of them draws attention to God’s character and His example of forgiving us. [Read more →]

April 10, 2011   Comments Off on Forgive as Christ Forgave You!