Why I Blog

I started this particular blog on the Eve of Christmas Eve, December 23, 2015.  I never dreamed that I would now blog twice a week, and be engaged in a blogging community that has opened my eyes to a unique, amazing world of wisdom and knowledge around me.  Some well-meaning loved ones have told me that since I don’t make money off my blog (yet), that I should only engage in this as a mere hobby.  However, to me, blogging is much more than a hobby.  Blogging, for me, is a ministry–a service, if you will.  Yes, I still have a day job, and I love it! However, when it all comes down to it, about 90% (I’m estimating, of course) of the blogs that I have read have to do with life, whether it is a life about how we dress and carry ourselves, a life of exploring new places (travel), a life of being a parent, a life of doing what we love the most, or how to live life well.  The three primary purposes of my blog are:

  1. To teach others about how to live life well—both emotionally and spiritually.
  2. To encourage others—So that my readers will know that they never have to face life’s challenges alone and feel invalidated by anyone.
  3. To teach myself the things that I need to work on. I often know what to do, but fail to put what I learn into practice. I blog to keep myself accountable.

 

First of all, I blog to teach others how to live life well, both emotionally and spiritually.  I, not only want to teach others from the things that the people in my life, including myself, have done well, but also so that others can learn from the mistakes I’ve made, to spare people the consequences of doing the same thing wrong.  I want my readers to be able to grow as individuals and together, and be catalysts to make their world a better place, not only for themselves, but also for those around them.   I write from a primarily motivational/spiritual perspective, and incorporate that into what I hope to teach others.

I also write to encourage others.  Many people that I have encountered in life feel alone and believe that, few, if any, people really care about and want to make any kind of investment in them, or their life stories.  One of the main reasons why I often relate my own experiences into my blog is to let, you, the reader know that if you, or a loved one, are facing anything similar, that you don’t have to face that trial alone.  I also want you to know that you are loved and cared about, and I value you and your life stories very much.  When I write about my personal experiences, I also want you to be encouraged not to give up. This is, because, from experience, I have always found that, in perseverance, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.  If you ever need moral support and feel like you have no one to talk to, you can always email me privately, using the contact form on my website.  I will be more than willing to offer you words of support, validation, and/or advice (if you want it).

Finally, I write to teach myself things that I need to improve.  Sometimes, when I blog, I feel like I fall woefully short of the ideals I believe. This is why, when I blog about something, I often write about things that I do well, or that other people in my life have done well. Of course, I also write about things that I need to work through, from a self-teaching perspective. For instance, I once wrote about the things that I still struggle with. For that post, see this link.  This serves not only to re-teach myself, but also to keep myself accountable, so that I will, at least, strive to line up my beliefs and actions better.

These are the three primary reasons why I blog.  I hope one day some of my posts will be published in a magazine or some other media form, but that is not my primary goal. My primary goal in all this is, through my words that I type up on my blog website, to  inspire others to live better, not only for themselves, but also to change the world for the better. If you blog, why do you blog? Please share in the comments.

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On Overcoming Fear

What are you afraid of? For me, my biggest fears have been fear of rejection and fear of failure. My other, lesser fears include fear of tarantulas, fear of heights, fear of wasps and big spiders.  Yes, many fears can be crippling and can pull one down, but some of them can actually be beneficial. Fear can be good if it protects you from greater dangers, if it creates respect and reverence for someone or something that deserves or is entitled to it, and when it influences us to make wise decisions.  For instance, recently I wanted to pull a double-shift for one of my managers to help him get things done, but because of a big snowstorm, he advised me not to. Because I was afraid of what would happen with me being possibly drowsy (I would have been up for more than 24 hours that day if I did said shift, and working more than 12!) and bad weather conditions , I listened to his advice to cancel working the double shift and just work my normal shift that day.  His care and my willingness to listen that day could have possibly saved my life, because even when I was going home at the normal time (and the weather and roads weren’t as bad yet) the drive was still a bit treacherous. Imagine how it would have been in the midst of the storm and with me being drowsy! Also, the Bible says to fear God, and this is a good fear because it helps believers to respect Him and to worship Him better.

However, fear can also be bad. This kind of fear can cripple you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Furthermore, this fear can keep you from accomplishing your goals and purposes in life and, in some cases, can even kill you!  For instance, fear of failure has prevented me, in the past, from trying new things or doing things that I needed to do to be more successful.  When I didn’t think there was even a slight possibility of accomplishing something, I tend to either give up, or more likely, just get very frustrated, instead of finding a new way to accomplish said thing.  Certain fears, like a fear of rejection, can also be an indicator of your lack of trust both in your own God-given abilities and in everyone else.

Overcoming fear is about triumphing over “bad” fear in order to live a more successful and fulfilling life. Though I still struggle with certain fears, these are several ways that I have strived to overcome them:

The first step in overcoming fears that cripple and depress you is finding the root cause of your fear or fears. There are many root causes of fear. For instance, I often struggle with the fear of failure because I want things to be just right.  The root causes, or the things that cause me to fear failure, are:

  1. Feeling that I wouldn’t be of use to the world if I didn’t succeed in said thing. (a sense of inadequacy)
  2. Feeling that other people would think I am “stupid” or “worthless” for my perceived failure. (fear of rejection)
  3. Fear of the consequences of my failure.

Other common “root causes” of fear are our lack of trust for a person or institution, a feeling of discouragement (that we can never get it right anyway no matter how much we tried), or shame if we did feared thing. Once we find the root cause or causes of our fear or fears, we are ready to begin overcoming our fears.

The second step in overcoming fears is what I call, exposure.  I would not try to expose yourself to the fear all at once; it will be too overwhelming.  Instead, slowly expose yourself to the fear.  For instance, if you are afraid of spiders, I would start by looking at pictures online, in a magazine or book, of a spider.  Then, when you can look at said pictures without feeling anxious or icky about, then buy a plastic spider at a craft or party store, and touch it and feel it crawl against your skin.  When you can do that without feeling anxious and squeamish about it, then try to do the same with a small real- life spider. When that doesn’t bother you (i.e.. you don’t scream or get squeamish), you have conquered your fear! Congratulations! For another example, if you fear rejection by people when you share your struggles with others, first tell someone else about a minor struggle you faced this week. Then, when you can do that without worry or fear, tell someone about an on-going struggle you faced this month. If you can do that with no problems, then you are ready to share the struggle you had to face this year, or in your life. Also, ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen to me if I were confronted with my fear or if my fear came true? “ and “How can I deal with what would happen without giving into fear?”

For physical fears, such as fear of spiders, I would a.) expose myself to the fear little by little, and b) Find support in dealing with my fears. This support person or persons would make sure I can get through the fear well and would “talk me out” of the fear when I am afraid. For emotional fears, such as fear of rejection, I would remind myself of the people that love me, and believe that they actually love me.  I would remind myself that these fears are usually lies that cripple me into becoming the person I want to be. Finally, I would also seek out supportive people that will help me in coping with my fears by encouraging me and talking me out of giving in to my fears.

Finally, if you have overcome your fear or fears, I would try to help others overcome their fears. However, make sure that you yourself are still not struggling with said fears, otherwise you will pull both you and the other person down!  In order to be a good supportive friend in helping others overcome their fears, make sure you can in some way relate to their fear or fears. Also, never ever minimize or act condescendingly towards them for their fears. For instance, if your friend is afraid of wasps, do not tell them they are a “baby” for being afraid of them.  Also, don’t dangle a wasp in front of them to tease them. This is very condescending and bullying behavior. It will not only make them even more fearful, but also, they won’t trust you to help them overcome their fears anymore, and you will have lost the opportunity to make a real difference for them. The point is to always help them in a positive, supportive way.

These are the ways that I try to overcome my fears. Yes, I still struggle at times, but I have overcome and am overcoming many of my past fears.  Being triumphant over these fears has definitely helped me to be a more motivated and successful person.  What are your fears? How have you tried to overcome them? Please feel free to discuss in the comments.

Why I Love

I will fully admit. –Since I love, I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Some may say it is foolish to love so hard, and I understand where they are coming from, but , from my understanding, that is the power of true love.  Love goes all out for someone.  As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:5-7 (KJV): [Love] beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (bold italics emphasis mine). Here is why I strive to love so hard:

1.Because of God’s love for me—God has been actively orchestrating my life since the beginning of time! Even when I wanted to give up on myself and my life because of the difficulties I have I had to endure in my life, I firmly believe God has never given up on me. He loved me even when I didn’t feel good enough for anyone and had a self-pity party.  He has showered me blessings way beyond my comprehension and my merit!  He has shown me care and compassion, even when I have forgotten His goodness and God Himself.  That is true love!  That is why I strive every day to love God, through loving others. Yes, I may fail at loving others at times, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get up and try again.  With God’s love, there is always hope for anyone, even me.

2. Because of my life’s purpose—One of my life’s purposes is to love others as God has loved me. I want to share this great love with others because I can believe true love can change the world for the better.  I found that when I want to give up on loving someone, I feel depressed and even suicidal at times! That is because if I refuse to love others, all other things that I do are fruitless and meaningless.  It even says that in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-4 (KJV), where charity equals love:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

3.Because it gives joy—I strive to love others because it not only gives me great joy, but because the joy in love and being loved is contagious! I find when I strive to love others the way God has loved me, it brings great joy to everyone involved. For instance, during the Christmas season/holidays at work, I made it a point to give every salaried member of management a Christmas card to let them know, in essence, that their hard work and dedication to our company does not go unnoticed.  All the managers seemed appreciative and joyful upon receiving the cards.  It also gave me joy to be able to make the managers feel loved and appreciated.  When I have the difficult task of loving someone that I’m either upset with or that I don’t particularly like, and I do, it’s like a burden is lifted off me.  However, when I do love these people, I don’t only feel better about myself, but I often feel like there is hope for restoration and healing in our relationships.

4. Because it is better than the alternative.—Today, as I write this, I am deeply troubled and saddened by the hatred and anger in this world, as I hear of another mass shooting in my country. However, today is also Valentine’s Day, a day that we are all supposed to love and care for each other.  Over and over again, hatred always creates destruction and dissension.  As hard as it is to love certain people, we must be diligent in at least attempting to be kind and love others.  Don’t rely on feelings alone to love someone; otherwise, we may fall woefully short.  However, love because your very life and your very legacy depend on it!

This is why I strive to love others every day. Yes, there are times when I fall woefully short of where I should be in loving others, but even in times when we fall short; we must not give up on love.  When we give up on love, we lose our lives, both spiritually and emotionally.  However, when we do love, we can turn the world upside down for its good and preservation.

I’m thankful for (a list)

The following list is inspired by the List that Ann Voskamp started, and also the list that my former pastor started. You can view my former pastor’s blog at: http://chosenrebel.me.

I’m thankful for… (started 12/13/2011)

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. What Jesus did for me on the cross
  5. The resurrection of Jesus
  6. Mild winter (Note on 2/9/2018—NOT mild today! LOL, but this was on 12/13/2011!)
  7. The Word of God
  8. A nurse in the clinic I volunteer at ( items 1-8, written on 12/13/2011).
  9. 90% Christmas sale at Target (because I got a lot of good deals!) (written on 1/6/2012)
  10. A sunny, warm January day (1/6/2012)
  11. Good reads (1/6/2012)
  12. God’s mercy ( written on 2/6/2012)
  13. Good songs (1/20/2012)
  14. Knitting teachers (1/20/2012)
  15. Someone at my church teaching me how to do a French knot in cross-stitching ( written on 2/6/2012)
  16. Hope (2/6/2012)
  17. That God gives new life ( written on 2/11/2012)
  18. All my needs are met (2/11/2012)
  19. People that inspire me to be more and more like Christ (True today –2/2018 as well!) (2/11/2012)
  20. That my appendicitis was found (5/5/2012) before my appendix ruptured! (written 5/31/2012)
  21. That I am almost completely healed from my appendix operation (5/31/2012)
  22. That I have a good support system as of now (5/31/2012) (true today—2/2018 as well!)
  23. A bible study/small group/ community group to be a part of (written 10/9/2012)
  24. My dad and his help today (10/9/2012)
  25. Energy to do things (10/9/2012)
  26. Writing skills ( written on 11/18/12)
  27. Help from a friend at church (11/18/12)
  28. Pastor Frank and his sermon on Ruth (11/18/12)
  29. Another warm January day ( written 1/11/13)
  30. Stephanie’s encouragement (1/11/12)
  31. Time with God (1/11/12)
  32. God’s grace in my life (1/11/12)
  33. Thoughtful and generous family and friends ( written on 2/27/2013)
  34. A good and enjoyable birthday party on 2/2013 (2/27/2013)
  35. That it wasn’t snowing on my birthday (2/27/2013)
  36. That my mom knows how to manage money well (2/27/2013)
  37. Going shopping with friends at Half Price Books (written on 3/17/2013)
  38. My brother making tacos for me (3/17/2013)
  39. My brother in general (3/17/2013)
  40. Pastor Frank’s patience with me (3/17/2013)
  41. Laughter (3/17/2013)
  42. Pastor Frank’s reading guide (6/2/2013)
  43. Humor (6/2/2013)
  44. That my friend was OK after being in an accident (6/2/2013)
  45. A new job (that hopefully will last!) ( written on 7/9/2013)
  46. A good vacation (7/9/2013)
  47. God’s faithfulness to me (7/9/2013)
  48. A dream as a teaching tool for me (written 8/17/2013)
  49. Strength (8/17/2013)
  50. A new day (8/17/2013)
  51. Good friends that care ( written on 2/9/2014) (Still true today—2/2018!)
  52. A convicting sermon (2/9/2014)
  53. A sunny day (2/9/2014)
  54. Great prayer warriors (written on 2/28/2014)
  55. Pay raise at my job (written 2/28/2014)
  56. That someone I know is out of the hospital (2/28/2014)
  57. Time with my friends at Olive Garden celebrating my birthday (written on 2/28/2014)
  58. The IF: Gathering last weekend (written on 2/13/2015)
  59. That my dad brought Chinese food (2/13/2015)
  60. That God is with us now even at our darkest (2/13/2015)
  61. That there is an alternative romantic movie for those that don’t like Fifty Shades series, called “Old Fashioned” (written 3/1/2016)
  62. Good friends who love me to celebrate my birthday with (3/1/2016)
  63. The love jar from my friend E. (3/1/2016)
  64. Good food from one of my favorite restaurants (3/1/2016)
  65. That God healed me out of my stomach issues that was bad last week (3/1/2016)
  66. Good times with family (written on 7/12/2016)
  67. A day of rest from work (7/12/2016)
  68. A job (my current job—note made 2/2018) (7/12/2016)
  69. God’s hand working through my work relationships (7/12/2016)
  70. A bright, sunny day (7/12/2016)
  71. My friend K and her friendship (written 7/22/2016)
  72. Pens that work (7/22/2016)
  73. A full time job (at my current job—as of 9/2016) written on 3/29/2017
  74. My co-worker’s jokes (3/29/2017)
  75. Sunshine (3/29/2017)
  76. Joy and laughter (3/29/2017)
  77. A God who cares and is always there for me (3/29/2017)
  78. Good temperatures (written on 4/18/2017)
  79. A chance to relax (day off work) (4/18/2017)
  80. Good memories (4/18/2017)
  81. Being alive! (written on 6/14/2017)
  82. A good church (6/14/2017)
  83. Fruit cocktail on a hot day (6/14/2017)
  84. My brother’s cat (written on 11/19/2017)
  85. Getting to talk to my brother on Skype (11/19/2017)
  86. A good sermon by my current pastor (11/19/2017)
  87. Staying in my department (11/19/2017)
  88. My current manager I (11/19/2017)
  89. A great sermon today by my current pastor (written on 1/14/2018)
  90. Bright sunshine on a cold day (1/14/2018)
  91. Heat in our house on a cold day (1/14/2018)
  92. Warmer temperatures (written on 1/24/2018)
  93. Time for reconciliation (1/24/2018)
  94. Help from co-workers yesterday (1/24/2018)
  95. My manager Chris * (Not his real name) talking me out of staying at work longer last night because he cared about my safety in the snowstorm (written 2/9/2018)
  96. That I’m not out on the road driving with this monster snowstorm (2/9/2018)
  97. Answered prayers for a friend who is very sick. (2/9/2018)
  98. More time to get things done around the house (2/9/2018)

These are the things that I’ve compiled so far (there is so much more—I’m sure!) that I’m thankful for. You can start a list like mine today and put next to each item you are thankful for, the date when the good thing occurred (that you are thankful for) and look to this list when you feel discouraged or upset. See how much you have been brought out of and how many blessings have filled your life. If I made a more comprehensive thanksgiving list, there would be more things than papers and time to fill it! May you be encouraged today!

The Greatest Revenge: Loving Your Enemy

What do you think about when you picture your enemy or enemies? It could be someone that hurt you deeply, or it could be someone that, for some reason, you just despise.  It could be someone that hurt your loved ones or friends.  What if I told you that you could get revenge on them legally, but it would not be the “revenge” you expect or want?  What if I told you to love them?

I’ve been reading the book, “Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Christian missionary who was martyred during the World War II era.  He says in the aforementioned book, “The only way to overcome our enemy is by loving him.” (Bonhoeffer, 147).  Or her.  This is why I found that this is true, and why I consider loving our enemies the greatest ‘revenge’ ever:

  1. Because of the Burning Coal Principle. –What I call, the Burning Coal principle, is derived from the Bible in Romans 12:20-21, where it says, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (KJV-emphasis mine).” The Burning Coal Principle is where one consistently strives to love his or her enemy by serving or doing kind acts on their behalf.  It shows the greatest kind of love, agape love, which promotes their well-being. This is the greatest “revenge” because when one loves his or her enemies like this, it does one of two things to the enemies.
    • These people will change their attitude and/or behavior towards you and repent of their evil towards you. They will appreciate that you are trying to be merciful to them despite their mistreatment of you. They will know that you love them and are not trying to take worldly revenge on them, but will get a glimpse of divine love from you.
    • If these people (enemies) do not change their ways and continue abusing and inflicting heartache on the person loving them , it will place a greater judgment on them. I believe God will punish these people for eternity if they don’t repent. Even on earth, they will most likely still suffer repercussions for their evil acts because if they see they are returning your good by being evil instead of good, people will most likely lose respect for them until they repent and show kindness to you.  They may also be disciplined by authority accordingly, if their offense is serious enough to warrant that.

2 )Because loving your enemy changes you.—Loving your enemy changes you, I believe, for the better. It takes a very strong and courageous person to be able to even consider loving an enemy. But when you do, it changes your attitude not only towards them, but also towards the whole world. When you become strong enough to even consider loving your enemy, you will discover that you have a more positive image of your enemy. No longer will he or she be just this evil monster or witch-like persona you had in your mind, but a hurting, needy soul will emerge in its place. You will be more motivated to serve them because compassion and love takes over the dark image you have of your enemy. It may take some time for this more positive image to emerge, so don’t rush things, but take one step at a time, if you want to really love your enemy, as Jesus did, when he was dying on the cross.

At first, loving your enemy may feel like you are “faking nice” to them, but as time passes, you will be more able to serve them with a genuine heart of love and compassion. Furthermore, loving your enemy forces you to look outside just yourself and your own physical and emotional needs and gives you a servant’s heart.  In general, you will love more and judge others less.  You will be more tolerant of others’ shortcomings, including those you love, but also your enemies’, as you strive to understand all people better and get rid of the entitlement mentality—which holds on to your rights and doesn’t really consider others’.

3.) Finally, loving your enemy changes the world around you.

a.)Loving your enemy can restore broken relationships.—For instance, off and on, I  had several people at work whom I would consider “enemies”, or at least, I was not on friendly terms with them.  However, when my pastor (and, frankly, God) inspired me to put the Burning Coal Principle to practice, what I found was that the relationships were restored. In some cases, God restored it to the point where I had an even better relationship than with them before I they were my “enemies” !

b ) Loving your enemy can bridge divides—In  Rwanda, when the Hutus and the Tutsis hated each other. The Hutu majority were trained to hate and kill Tutsis. Entire Tutsi families were murdered in this genocide. Some Tutsis wanted revenge, but some of them actually forgave the Hutus and eventually helped end the genocide-war.

c) Loving your enemy shows genuine love.—Loving your enemy shows genuine love because it is love that is not controlled by emotion or favor. It actually goes the distance and is supernatural. We do not naturally want to even consider loving our enemies because it goes our mentality for justice and our notion of fairness. However, when we strive to love our enemies, I find that we don’t focus on that as much. Instead we focus on not just our enemy’s good, but also the good of the world around us.

 

Loving your enemy is something that is very difficult to do. We (me included) fail at this, time and time again. But if we view our enemies as hurting and broken people, instead of the devil incarnate or just an evil menace, maybe we can change not only them, but the whole world

On Conquering Hate

All around me, I see and hear people arguing and fighting with each other. We even hear of it among our own government (if you live in the U.S, though it does happen in other countries too)! People’s souls, around us, are being wounded and degraded at an alarming rate.  It’s everywhere—the curse of hatred.

Some people have given up the fight against hatred. They aren’t used to anything different.  They have either succumbed to it themselves, or have given up trying to change the world for the better. I am telling you, though, that one day when everything is made right again with this world, hate will be defeated and conquered. Love will rise again!

In the meantime, we must not give up fighting against all forms of hatred, big and small. The change starts with us, in our own souls and our own lives. Here is what I learned about conquering hatred:

  1. Aim for kindness.—Someone once said, “Be kind. Everyone around you is fighting a harder battle.” How true that often is. We sometimes don’t even know what our own family members are thinking or feeling!  How much less do we know about the inner lives of our friends and acquaintances, and the people in our community that serve us?  This is why we should aim for kindness always.  Sometimes, a person may be in a bad mood and (wrongly) take it out on us because he or she may not know another, more appropriate way of expressing how they feel, but we still must not hurt them back, though, we often do. We can make a greater, more positive difference if we showed compassion to our fellow human beings even when they aren’t treating us as we think they should.

We can aim for kindness in these two ways:

  • We can be kind in our attitudes and words: In Proverbs 23: 7, of the Bible, it says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” which means that you are what you think.  So, when we strive to think kind thoughts about others, we will naturally want what is best for them and be encouraging to them by affirming their worth and their good qualities.  However, if we have negative, hateful thoughts about others, our words and actions will also indicate that.  We also can be kind in our attitudes when it is more difficult to do so.  For instance, if you have to do what you think is a “thankless” task at work, instead of grumbling and complaining to others about the job you have to do, you can strive to do it with heart and with joy, knowing that you are serving for a higher purpose.
  • We can be kind in our actions: In my job (retail), ways I aim for kindness are, for example, when a customer is carrying a lot of things in their hands, I always offer to get them a shopping cart. This way they don’t have to carry everything in their hands and have to put it somewhere, and have the hassle of then getting a cart for themselves. I also strive to go the extra mile to look for something for a customer, so they can find what they need for their lives.  Sometimes, I help the custodians clean a messy area in the break room, not so I get recognized, but so the custodians do not have to be overwhelmed and burdened by so much work. I also do it as a way to thank them for the job they do for us.  I also strive to smile and maintain a joyful attitude.  Outside work, one may be kind in our actions by visiting a sick friend or neighbor in the hospital, feeding the homeless, or even helping a family member with a tough task before they even ask us to do said thing.

2. Forgive others quickly.—When someone hurts you, I would recommend not harboring bitterness and/or anger towards that person for more than a week because after that this negative spirit starts poisoning your soul and those around you. When I didn’t follow this directive in the past, I found that a negative and jaded spirit did start to form inside me. Not only that, but this anger and bitterness stunted my spiritual growth and kept me from growing closer to God and becoming the person He (and I) wanted me to be.  See Cultivating Peace After Conflict post for more information on resolving conflicts quickly and peaceably.

 

Why do more people not resolve their bitterness more quickly? I think it has to do with our misconceptions about what forgiveness really means. Here is what I learned about what forgiveness is and isn’t:

  • Forgiveness is not excusing the offender’s actions.
  • Forgiveness does not require amnesia of what had happened to you.
  • Forgiveness does not require reunion.
  • Forgiveness is letting God deal with the justice, and trusting Him to deal with the offender, rather than you being the judge and jury.
  • Forgiveness is ridding yourself of your hate, bitterness, resentment and anger towards the offender for your sake, so you can be at peace.
  • Forgiveness should be done also for your sake, not just the offender’s.

3. Stay away from all forms of hate.—Another thing we can do to conquer hatred in our lives, is to make sure we are not influenced to hate from outside sources, whether it be media, other people, or in other ways.

 

First of all, I would recommend keeping positive company. This means limiting your time with people who are negative influences on you or who influence you to hate other people.  Also, limit contact with people who constantly cut you or others down.  Instead, spend time with people who love others and who are a joyful and positive influence on your life.

 

Second of all, I would not go to websites, or read literature, listen to music, or watch anything promoting the hatred or the devaluation of other people.  For instance, it is one thing to read hateful literature because you are required to for a research project, but do not willingly read hateful literature for your own entertainment or curiosity.  Even if you are required to read something controversial or hateful  for a school project, be careful you are not being influenced by any hateful ideas or beliefs that the author may have.

 

Lastly, when you see people hate each other or speak hateful or malicious words to another, lovingly, but firmly, call them out on it. Counter their hateful words, but do not get sucked into hating them yourself!

 

If we all (me included) followed these three main directives in conquering hate in our lives, I believe we would be much better as a society.  As Ghandi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Let’s be that change today, and love others lavishly and wholeheartedly!

 

Why I Believe in Miracles

Because miracles are rare and spectacular displays of divine affection and because life can be very difficult for many people, there are some that no longer believe in miracles. According to the Oxford-English dictionary, a miracle is, “a remarkable event or development that brings very welcome consequences.” (source: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/miracle) However, I personally believe in miracles mainly for these three reasons:

  • Miracles cultivate hope in my life.
  • Because the demonstration of miracles by God in my life has saved me on more than one occasion.
  • Because God’s miracles have restored several of my relationships with others.

Often miracles, whether in literature or in people’s lives, happen when it seems like hope has run out. This has certainly been the case with me.  I believe the miracle of me becoming a Christian started when hope seemed to run out for me. I was sixteen years old and in high school. The teenage years are a turbulent time for many people, and I was no exception.  I just got out of coping with a couple of serious mental health issues, and I felt like I had no one I could really turn to or trust.  I had few, if any, friends and my course load at school was challenging. To top the stressors off, I encountered a teacher who had the reputation of being a bully and a verbal abuser.  I even flirted with the idea of suicide. However, after a friend of mine invited me to a bible study and I started to search for answers, God took a hold of my life, a few months later.

About fifteen years later, God saved my life again, but this time physically. (For more details on this miracle, see this post. ) It started when I was having pains in my side at work. My parents and I thought it was just a hernia or a muscle pull, so I tried all the over-the-counter medications we had.  However, when I started throwing up blood, we knew something was terribly wrong. Long story short, I went to the ER, and the doctors treating me discovered that my gall bladder was terribly inflamed and twice the size it should have been. I learned later that I could have very well died from this if I still had not listened to that voice inside after I had thrown up the blood! My gall bladder was then taken out just in time before it burst and caused any real damage.

About a week ago today, God saved my life yet again! I was driving to church, minding my own business. It was dark, but the street lights were on. I had the right-of-way, but a driver, not even seeing or caring about their surroundings, cuts in front of me to the point of almost colliding with me. Luckily, my instincts kick in, and I stop just in time to avoid colliding with the driver, as he or she just whizzes away.  I felt startled, but was very grateful that I was able to avoid a serious accident!

Some of the miracles, that I believe God has worked in my life, have also caused my once-broken relationships with certain others to be restored.  I can think of some people in particular where I did not think the relationships could be restored. I thought the best it would be is that we would quietly  tolerate each other and/or avoid each other as much as possible. I really thought (wrongly) that these people would ruin my life. However, because of the support of God, my family, pastors, and many of my friends at church and many prayers, the people who I have had problems with, have not only failed to ruin my life, but they have turned out to be one of my greatest blessings in my life thus far!  God also worked in my heart and life to let go of (i.e  forgive) the hurts that I held against them and really love them even more than myself.

If I had to list every little miracle God displayed in my life, I would be writing forever. However, these are some of the major ones in my life. This is why I believe in miracles.  Yes, life has been difficult, at times, for me, but then there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. That is when miracles can happen. What miracles happened in your life? Why do you or do you not believe in miracles? Please discuss in the comments.