Speak No Evil and Be Kind

What about those people who are clearly evil doers? Some are regularly involved in activities that are divisive and dangerous, but continue in public like a nice, wonderful person.

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Some of the instructions in the Bible are quite difficult to understand, and even more difficult to follow. Paul instructs Timothy to teach people “to speak evil of no one” (Titus 3:2 ESV).

How should we understand this instruction? Does it suggest that we are to remain silent about all the evil that goes on around us? Surely someone needs to point out the things that need to change. But we can avoid direct personal attacks. Even if they are wrong, we can take a different approach.

Those who do wrong, those who do evil, clearly know that they are doing wrong. When we tell them, we are only informing them of something they already know. Normally, this just drives people away from us and does nothing to solve the problem.  When we make a public statement about that person and their misdeeds, we again are simply notifying people what they already know. Again, it will drive that person and many others away from us. Thus we diminish the opportunity we have to influence them.

Paul qualifies his statement by saying: “Always show a gentle attitude toward everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient and wrong” (Titus 3:2b-3a). The reason for gentleness is that we were once just like these evildoers.

It was the “kindness and love of God our Savior” that saved us and transformed our lives. Many commonly think such an attitude will only allow for more of their evil deeds.

But God’s approach to transform people is different from ours. So, it’s time to think differently, behave differently, and speak differently.

Speak no evil, and be kind.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

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Automatic Alignment System

Leadership is viewed in various ways by people of different cultures. Acceptable behaviour for leaders can differ from one society to another.

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Where we live, we’ve had people running for office while they are in jail for criminal offences. Their names were on the voting ballots, but they were incarcerated. It seems the voters don’t seem to mind at all.

Paul left Titus in Crete for the important task of appointing leaders for churches in each city. He gave Titus a list of acceptable behaviour and characteristics. He puts these behaviours in direct contrast to the character of those who are unfit for leadership.

In his travels, Paul dealt with people of many nations with differing cultures. What is acceptable behaviour for one nation may be different for others. I am sure that it gave him one of the greatest leadership struggles of his life.

But in this struggle to guide leaders in their character and life, he seems to have a set of guiding principles: “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15 NKJV).

He takes this whole issue of behaviour to a deeper level. More important than identifying appropriate behaviour, he looks at their inner condition. Are they internally pure or defiled? Whatever is on the inside will eventually come out in their behaviour. Whatever their current behaviours are, they will surely come to alignment with their inner heart condition.

Maybe it is an “automatic alignment” system. The condition of the heart sets the pattern for the person’s life and character.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

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* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

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Attitude Problem or Defense Mechanism?

Don’t you hate it when you have to deal with those people with attitude problems? I sure do. With some, it’s difficult to be in the same room with them.

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But what is an attitude problem? I can easily recognize the attitude defects in others, and they see clearly through me and notice the many “cracks” in my attitude too.

So in effect, whoever has an attitude different from me has an attitude problem. Everyone has defects that are like “cracks” that everyone else can see.

We have all experienced pain in our past. Under the surface, these are methods we use to try to protect ourselves from further pain. We use words that push people away. Through our emotions and attitudes, we say that we are no less than anyone else.

We long to be accepted for who we are. It’s not that we don’t want to be changed — we want to be changed by God. But we want to be accepted as we are. Once we are accepted in our current state, we feel that the acceptance is genuine and unconditional. Then, gradually, God can change us.

Everything else appears as rejection. The pain of rejection is too intense for anyone to bear. So we put up these defense mechanisms that are intended to protect our hearts from further pain and agony.

So what about those people with attitude problems? And those people with words that are too sharp to get close to? Just forgive, and continue to forgive. Believe that these are people for whom Jesus died. He has a plan for them, and is working on them. They are in a process of transformation into the image of Christ, God’s Son.

And I the same.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:

 

Three steps to impact the environment of your home and heart

When we listen for God’s voice, we have the option of following him. But when we fill our hearing with lots of noise, our ears are too full to filter out the voice of God.
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For this to effectively take place in our lives, I believe there are three things that are important.

First, increase our exposure to God’s voice. Make reading and meditation of God’s word a regular practice for everyone in the home including the smallest children. If they do not read yet, read the Bible to them. When they are just learning to read, have them read the first verse of the chapter, and you read the rest of the chapter to them.

Fill your home with music that exalts God and his ways. Set the tone in the home with music and praise to our God. Be jealous for God and don’t allow other voices to have more importance.

Second, develop a mindset of obedience. Make it firm in your mind that you are a man of God, that you are a woman of God. Once that identity is firmly set in your mind, you will be more apt to have a mind of obedience. Sure we have our freedom and independence as human beings. But we choose to obey because God is our everything.

Third, be intentional about obedience. One step toward this is to begin a simple process of daily writing down something that impacted you during your daily reading of the Bible. Write down even a sentence that you feel God has spoken to you. In the midst of your struggles, it may be something related to what you are facing. Just the process of recording your interaction with the word of God will greatly impact your thinking. Write that down on a small card and keep it in your pocket so you can look at it throughout the day. Put in in your phone as a constant reminder.

Once you begin doing these things on a regular basis, God will begin to impact your thinking, your behavior, and your responses. The environment in your home will begin to shift focus.

The people of God at the time of Zechariah were struggling to build the temple of God. It was left unfinished for a long time. But God wanted them to listen to his voice. He said if they would listen for his voice, he will bring people to help them build. But the key was listening and obeying God’s voice.

Listen for the voice of the Lord. He will bring you help to move forward. (Zech 6:15)

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