Monday, October 25, 2010

Cleaning Up the Fallout of Anger

This week on the radio broadcast I’m talking about anger, and that set me to thinking about the fallout of anger. For example, when anger gets control, spiteful words spurt out, and those words fall out onto someone. And that someone is often a person we love or spend a lot of time with. The angry words we say may even be true, but they don’t land very kindly. That leads to hurt feelings and damaged relationships. What should we do about the words we can’t take back? Does it help to apologize?

Often, I feel like just letting the situation calm down with time, and over time I can forget about it. But what about the other person? Can they forget about my unkindness so easily? But if I broach the subject with them, doesn’t that just open up the wound again? What is the right way to handle it?

The Bible says that we should speak the truth, but it must be done in love. When I’m angry, usually the love part is missing in my remarks. Actually, this can give us an opportunity to explain why it is necessary to apologize. As we ask the person to forgive us, we can explain that we knew we did not speak in a loving way and that is wrong.

I always need to be sure I don’t start explaining why I said what I did, becoming defensive. I need to make it a true apology. The other person’s behavior is not my responsibility; I am responsible to right the wrong that I have done, regardless of the offense I may have reacted to.

Maybe you face situations like this too. What is the biblical approach to take?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's Celebrate Success

This week on the radio broadcast Mary is talking about procrastination. When I heard the message I had to ask myself, “What am I procrastinating about?” The first thing that came to mind was losing the 5 pounds I’ve added recently. Oh no! Not that. I’ve kept saying I will tackle that when the rest of my life gets easier, when life’s current challenges are taken care of. Well, that’s never going to happen. That’s what I said about the other 5 pounds I added last year. (Oh yes, it’s true.)

But habits grab on and don’t want to let go. I REALLY did not want to make the changes I needed to in order to lose weight. But the little motto Mary talked about kept appearing before my eyes. For one thing, it was my job to design and order the magnets with the motto: Do it right and do it now! The verse on them is Colossians 3:23—Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Well, this isn’t work, but it is stewardship of my body, and that is one job Christians are given to do. So I responded to my conscience and got serious about weight loss. After one week, “Yipee!” I lost 2 pounds. I can’t believe it! Success. That sets me up to charge on in my pursuit. I actually can break a habit. I’m encouraged, so let me encourage you too.

What are you procrastinating about? Can you face it and determine to do it now? Let me know what your challenge is, what goal you’re setting, and we can support each other. Then we can celebrate success together.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What To Do When You’re the Enemy

Sometimes we offend people without knowing it. But what should we do when we discover that someone resents us for something we did or said? For example, you may have had to tell a coworker that you couldn’t help him as he had hoped. Since then he has hardly spoken to you, but you really couldn’t help him then. How should you handle a situation when you’ve become The Enemy?

Sometimes we have to say no, and it may not be understood or appreciated. Assuming it was for good reasons, then we should not feel guilty about someone’s reaction. But that doesn’t mean we should just ignore the damaged relationship. We need to take the initiative to repair it, even if were just doing what was necessary.

Of course, how you may have said no is important, too. Hopefully you had explained your reasons, tried to find an alternative solution for him if possible, and expressed your regrets. If you had just dropped “no” on him like a bomb, that could be the reason for his hostile reaction.

You can ask God to give you wisdom in how to approach the person so that the relationship can be restored. You will need understanding, patience and a kind, gentle spirit. God is the author of those traits, so seek his perspective and help. God can also prepare the individual to be accepting and forgiving, so pray for that too.

Be willing to take the first step to patch up your relationship with someone you’ve offended. That’s what God did when we offended him with our sin.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When Others Don’t Walk the Talk

There are Christians in our workplaces that make a big deal about being a Christian, but then they don’t always walk the talk. Others notice it and may even make a remark to you if they know you are a Christian too. Has that ever happened to you? How do you handle it?

One thing we need to remember is that we never need to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus hasn’t failed; one of his followers has. So, don’t let this cause you to feel ashamed of being a Christian.

Don’t get caught in the trap of talking negatively about your Christian coworker. Take the focus off of his behavior and back to Jesus. You might say, “Christians are not perfect, and I’m sure there are things in my life that are not always pleasing to God. Please let me know when you see anything in me that disappoints you. You see, the great thing about Christianity is God freely forgives us and we can start fresh.”

Do you have other ways of coping with this issue?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Would a Workplace Bible Study Group Work?

What do you think of the idea of having a Bible study at your workplace during lunch? Are there people who would be interested? How should you go about it?

  • First, you need to make sure you have permission to use company facilities for your meetings. Remember that you don’t want to create any conflict over an on-site meeting. You may need to take it off-site.
  • Then choose appropriate material. It should be flexible to fit in your time frame, and you need to be vigilant to make sure you don’t go overtime. There should not be a lot of homework. I would try to make it an oasis in the middle of a busy workweek.
  • You could lead it or ask someone from the outside to come lead it, depending on your gifts and abilities. It should not focus on church orientation, controversial topics, politics or local hot buttons, but stick strictly to Bible-based teaching.
  • Pray much, but don’t be afraid to start it. It’s best to also set an end date so people won’t see it as a long-term obligation. You can then propose another 8 weeks (or whatever) and then continue in short terms as interest indicates.
I’ve seen God use a study like this for great good, and He can use you to reach your coworkers in this way. Would you be willing to pray about the possibility? You might be surprised to see who He leads you way and how He opens up the doors.
Mary’s study material, Time Out Bible Studies, includes an eight-week study called Improving Your People Skills. It incorporates her teaching on a DVD and offers brief, practical lessons. You can order a set at 1-800-292-1218 or online at