Poor Communication Behaviors

We posted Proverbs 18 yesterday.

What? You didn’t read it. That’s alright…..just go back and read it.  And then proceed with today’s post:

Top Paths of Destruction via Poor Communication Behaviors (based on Proverbs 18)

1. Stop being “friendly” and demand others serve you (no common courtesies like “please,” and “thank you”) (v1)
2. Don’t try to understand his/her perspective by asking questions, that might build relationship – why do that when you can lecture and communicate a condescending attitude instead? (v2)
3. Be nasty and mean in the words you say, being sure you fail to recognize the other as precious to God (v3)
4. Be disrespectful or sarcastic with your words (v4, 6, and 7)
5. Don’t share your struggles with a trusted advisor to get some help, but rather let other people know how horrible he/she is instead (v8)
6. Be lazy in your efforts at home – make the other person bear the burden of the relationship work, or the house work – whatever you do, don’t help(v9)
7. Don’t pray (v10)
8. Lean on your “stuff” and your own abilities, instead of God (v11)
9. Think you are better/smarter/holier than him or her (v12)
10. Be sure to interrupt and talk over your spouse or child even though it is rude – they should know what they have to say doesn’t matter and you really don’t care anyway (v13)
11. Tear the other down, instead of paying attention to small steps of progress, or whatever is right because that is what motivates them to keep trying to grow (v14)
12. Don’t apologize for how you have hurt the other, and especially don’t change your behavior (repentance) (v19)

Source: Respect Dare by Nina Roesner

Proverbs 18 – Required Reading

Read it through today……and we will break it down tomorrow:

Proverbs 18

1 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.

3 When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
and with shame comes reproach.

4 The words of the mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked
and so deprive the innocent of justice.

6 The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.

7 The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.

8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.

9 One who is slack in his work
is brother to one who destroys.

10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.

11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.

13 To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.

14 The human spirit can endure in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?

15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.

16 A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

18 Casting the lot settles disputes
and keeps strong opponents apart.

19 A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.

22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.

23 The poor plead for mercy,
but the rich answer harshly.

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Taking the charge

In the United States…it March Maddness!  It the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.  64 teams start.  3 weeks later we have a single champion.  I’ve been watching some of the games.  I watched a player take a charge the other night.

If you are not familiar with the term “taking a charge”…it is when an offensive player runs over a defender who has established his position on the court.  A defensive player establishes his position by having his feet set and is not moving prior to the impact.

Yes…I said impact.  The defensive player has to stand still and allow themselves to get run over by another player who is moving at full speed.  Let’s be honest…that is not normal.  Flinching is normal.  Moving out of the way is normal.  It is most likely why fans cheer excitedly when someone takes a charge because they know how courageous it is to stand still and firm.

Are we standing firm when God calls us to stand firm?  In our marriages?  In our role as parents?

It isn’t always easy.  Life will run us over at times.  Other people aren’t going to live like God calls us to live.  It will be difficult.  It might be hurtful.  It has a purpose.  And God has a game plan that will lead us to victory.

“Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

A phone call from my father…

I want to share an observation from my birthday last week…and then maybe challenge you to take action.  It’s been a year and a half since my father passed.  It has been an interesting journey filled with sorrow, regret, happiness, tears and even a little laughter.  I continue to learn from and be influenced by my father.

It was no surprise that every year on my birthday he would call to wish me a happy day.  He’d tell me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me.  In the moment…I didn’t realize how important those calls were to me.  I’ve had two birthdays without those calls.  I miss them….and I miss him.

It makes me wonder….am I consistently doing the same type of thing for those that are most important in my life?  Does my wife and our kids know that I love them through my actions?  How about my mom and my brothers?  My mother-in-law?  My wife’s family?  My friends?

It isn’t the large displays either.  It doesn’t have to be.

It is the little things (i.e. notes, texts, phone calls) with purpose and intention that ultimately mean the most.  It is the consistency.  It doesn’t take much to make a big impact in someone’s life.

Even though you may never see the return on your investment….trust me….it will be there.

Even though I miss the man…..I will always have what he invested in me.  Thanks Dad.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” – Proverbs 17.:17

Simple Ways To Better Yourself

Do you ever find it difficult to simply start something and stick with it?

Diet.  Exercise.  Reading the Bible.  We’ve all got things that we can add to this list.  I wanted to share some thoughts about tackling this problem while improving our relationship with our wives.

Accept You Are Limited By design

You can’t do it all! God made you with limitations on purpose. The sooner you realize this the more freedom you will have and the less stress too. One of Satan’s greatest weapons against us is making us feel like failures. You get frustrated because you can’t get up 2 hours early and go for a jog, lift weights, make a healthy breakfast, then sit down in a quiet place read the Bible, journal, and pray until you hear a word from the Lord. It just isn’t possible to make that kind of change all at once.

Make Small Adjustments

Realizing you were born to be limited isn’t an excuse to not make any changes at all!

It’s the one degree course correction that has great impact over long distance. Did you know if the space shuttle was only one degree off course it would miss the moon by about 13,356,000 miles. One degree can make a huge impact on your life over time.

What small one degree course corrections can you make today?

Here are some examples.

On average a person spends about 60 minutes waiting in lines, traffic, etc… If you remembered to pray for 5 minutes every day while you were waiting in line at the store or while pumping your gas. You would spend about 30 hours a year in prayer.

The average time spent on smart phones on activities other than talking to someone is about 1:07 a day. If you were to trade that last 7 minutes of social media for time with your wife  you would decrease your smart phone intake by 42 hours a year and increase your face time with your wife by 42 hours a year. Amazing!

Where Your Heart Is There Also Will Be Your Priorities

God has made it very clear to me that my priorities dictate where my time and money go. That being said, if our wives and marriages were a priority then I would spend as much time, money and energy as possible on her and for her and with her. The same goes with my health. Or career. Or hobbies. Or sin.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” – Matthew 6:21

The Majors

Let’s go back to my mid-20s…..

I’d go to church on those days when I assumed good husbands go to church with their wives:

Easter.  Mother’s Day.  Christmas Eve.  Valentine’s Day (only when it fell on Sunday)

One year my youngest son said….”Dad if you go to church with us this morning…when will you cut the grass?”  See…that is what I did while they were at church every Sunday.

I regret the example that I set for my children and the lack of leadership I showed in my marriage.  I’ve learned through our the last 10 years the importance of having a relationship with Christ.  I go to church.  I worship.  I volunteer.  I give.  I listen…and occasionally agree with the preacher out loud.  It has been an amazing change in my life.

It got me thinking about our role as a husband.

Are we taking the same approach in our relationship with our wives?  Do we only show up on the majors (i.e. birthday, Mother’s day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day)?   Do we only show up when there is something that we want (i.e. guys night out, sex, laundry done, game time, sex)?

We know the importance of having a purposeful and consistent relationship with Christ.

Are we applying the same approach and understanding to our marriages?

Just a little food for thought today.

Sanding

Have you ever used sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges on a project?  It comes in different “grits” depending on how coarse or fine you need it to be.  If you’re removing a lot – go coarse, but then be prepared to use the fine grit to make it smooth.   It is designed to gradually and purposely smooth over a rough surface or to remove something that is deeper than the surface.  It takes times and patience to produce the desired results.

God uses a similar process in our lives to do the very same thing.  I’ve had experience with this process.  I’ve been “smoothed” myself and I’ve been a witness to others going through the process.  I have lived long enough to know that God always has purpose in the pain and function behind the frustration caused by these sand paper seasons.  A few observations:

  1. I might be the problem.

I need to allow this sandy season to smooth out my rough edges in my character and to deal with the imperfections that are surfacing in my frailty.  James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  I have known this verse for a long time, and I love what it says about trials producing perseverance. As I continue to read the first chapter of James, I think the fourth verse speaks more directly to sand paper seasons. It says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  It is a process.  Don’t lose hope!

  1. We cannot retreat.

When we go through these tough seasons in life and most situations do not go as planned or just rub us the wrong way, we cannot retreat. We must stand firm in our faith and let these trials shape us to be more like Jesus. Sometimes, I simply don’t know if I have the mental or physical stamina to get everything accomplished that I need to as a Christ-follower, husband, father son, uncle, friend and employee. Many times, I end up shutting down and retreating to something mindless like television. In my wiser moments, I call out to the Lord and meditate on His Truth. He is my Sustainer. He is the only One who can help me allow perseverance to “finish its work.”

  1.  We must keep our perspective.

Through prayer and reflection, He shows me snapshots of how past sand paper seasons have harvested fruit in my life; fruit that can only grow through a sandy season. I see how surviving my own general stupidity and loss has shaped me into a stronger man.  God has opened my heart and opened my eyes to the many people who struggle in areas that I have survived.  I am astounded at the amount of patience and forgiveness that God has for me as I face challenges in my marriage, my family and my work.

I’ve see an overworked, overtired dad feeling like he isn’t good enough to love and lead his marriage and his family.  I see the fear in his eyes and the look of failure on his face. I know that look because many days, I am that man. Even on the most frustrating of days, I am reminded, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1), including sand paper seasons that shape us, our marriages and families.

  1.  Know you aren’t alone.

If you are going through a rough patch right now, take heart in knowing that you are not alone. God is with you and is using this to “refinish” you to be more like Jesus and closer to His heart. It is my prayer for you and for me that we will persevere through our sand paper season and arise “mature and complete”.