Maybe I Should Play Solitaire More Often

Untitled-1Up until three weeks before our wedding, John and I lived 3000 miles apart from each other. At about 3:30 p.m. California time every day, he’d send an Instant Message on AOL (hey, we were scarcely out of the 90s, when AOL still ruled the internet) and we’d spend the next few hours chatting online. If he had to end the conversation before Mom had dinner ready, I’d kill time by playing solitaire on my computer.

You need to understand that I’ve never had much use of my hands, so card games posed a challenge. When my sister and I played Old Maid, Fish or the few other games I could manage, she’d wedge my cards (without looking) between a shoebox and its lid,  mentally numbering the cards from her left to her right. To play a card, I’d call out the number. Sometimes I’d forget to number them from my right to my left, causing all sorts of frustration for both of us.

Needless to say, solitaire games were — I can’t resist typing it — not Continue reading

Don’t Be So Sure Of Yourself

Pensive Woman

Whenever I see a notification that she’s left me a message, I brace myself. Usually, she takes issue with something I’ve written, and wants to correct my faulty thinking. Of course, I believe she has the faulty thinking, so we generally message past each other as we stubbornly double down on our respective positions.

I thought of her a few days ago when John and I had our morning devotions together. We’ve been going through Proverbs, learning the value of godly wisdom. Chapter 16 talks quite a bit about human arrogance in contrast to God’s sovereignty and righteous judgment. One verse in particular grabbed my attention.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the Lord weighs the spirit. ~~Proverbs 16:2 (ESV)

Immediately I thought of my online adversary. “She thinks she’s so right in always correcting me,” I muttered to myself, Continue reading

Praying About Twitter?

Head Stick Pics 005Arguably the biggest problem with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is the insulation from face-to-face communication. It always has been easier to say things in writing rather than speaking to someone in person; I get that. Twice, I received romantic rejections from men who wrote letters because they lacked the courage to face me. Writing puts us in control by shielding us from the reactions of others.

As a complication, social media provides a layer of anonymity. We may not have ever met that person we fight with on Twitter, and we may never meet her. So we don’t feel all that bothered if we end up Continue reading

Snippets Of Scripture Can’t Teach God’s Word Responsibly

IMG_1892When the church John and I used to attend embarked on Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose campaign, the leadership showed promotional videos during the three Sunday services leading up to the campaign. As I watched the first video, I couldn’t help noticing how frequently Warren quoted Bible verses out of context in order to substantiate some of his claims. Reading only the two opening chapters of The Purpose Driven Life, I saw the same trend, made worse by his use of multiple translations and paraphrases to provide his desired effect.

How did I recognize that he quoted Bible verses out of context? Simple: I’d done the same thing when I wrote counseling letters for Love In Action. I knew the psychological principles that our ministry embraced. All I had to do was shoehorn Continue reading

Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones, But What You And I Type On Twitter Can Be Devastating

Psalm 19V14_02

Someone on Twitter made unkind comments about my physical appearance this past weekend. Of course his remarks hurt a bit. I’ve felt more self-conscious when I’m around people, wondering if how I look offends them as much as it evidently offended the author of those unpleasant tweets.

But for the most part, I understood that the person just wanted to get a rise out of me. He had insulted a number of other Christians on Twitter that day, apparently threatening violence against a few of them. Obviously,  he was merely a stupid kid desperately trying to get attention. Several people reported him. I believe Twitter suspended his account.

His cracks about my appearance didn’t trouble me nearly as much as the juvenile way that people  (including Christians) interact online lately. They troubled me because I’ve been tempted to make personal remarks about certain false teachers that I’ve blogged about or have challenged on Twitter. You’d think that of all people, I’d be the last one to make fun of how someone looks, but the taunts I received Saturday forced me to Continue reading

Modeling Christ In Conflict (And Other Neglected Essentials)

IMG_4883Everyone has an opinion. All you have to do is log on to Twitter and you’ll see vicious arguments on everything from Critical Race Theory to pineapple on pizza. (Okay, the pineapple on pizza debate is all in good fun, but it does get somewhat passionate at times.) It’s remarkably easy to get stuck in the quagmire of bickering and nastiness.

Those who stand against doctrinal error and/or ungodly practices become lightning rods on Twitter. As an original signer of the infamous letter to Beth Moore, I can testify that people don’t like it when you tip their sacred cows. Sometimes, of course, the arguments merely expose the irrationality of the critics — after a while you have to walk away because they’re screaming too loudly to listen to your perspective. In such circumstances, the advice of Jesus must prevail:

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. ~~Matthew 7:6 (ESV)

But I believe this course of action should be a last resort. As we see in the four gospels, Jesus patiently argued with the Pharisees and Sadducees for quite some time. He knew He wouldn’t persuade them of their rebellion against God, but He demonstrated that they rightly deserved judgment.

The Holy Spirit, through the words of the apostle Paul, gives us insight into how to engage our opponents in a Christlike manner:

22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. ~~2 Timothy 3:22-26 (ESV)

Our opponents may be ugly towards us (especially on social media where there’s a certain degree of anonymity), but the Lord commands us to respond kindly. Kindness doesn’t require us to compromise the truth,  but it indeed demands that we argue fairly and with respect. These people are just that — real human beings whose feelings get hurt just as easily as ours do.

Often,  we can’t discern whether or not their questions are sincere. At least not immediately. Therefore, it’s imperative that we answer straightforwardly and respectfully, giving them the benefit of the doubt in hopes that the Lord will lead them to repent of error so that they will come to truth.

Twitter fights indeed can resemble 7th grade food fights. As Christians, however, we must rise above such childish behavior, treating people with dignity. Yes, we still must stand firmly on the Word of God, but we must also obey His commands to love and respect those who oppose us.

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Your Attempts To Love Examined Through Scripture ~~ Part 3

1 Co 13

Growing up in the late 60’s, I absolutely loved The Beatles. To this day, I recall their harmonization as they sang, “All You Need Is Love!” At the time, however, I thought of love as a flowery feeling that magically accepted everyone (unless they supported the war in Vietnam, of course). I had no clue that Biblical love demanded dying to self and standing with the Lord for His priorities.

Tuesday I began taking you through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to show how people — in this case, discernment bloggers and our critics — can exercise love even while disagreeing. I continued the discussion yesterday. Today I’d like to keep working through this well-known passage, including a clause that probably  would have made The Beatles Continue reading