Heartless Solutions Can Lead to Isolation

Heartless solutions can lead to isolation.

Why then do we tend to have so little hesitation

In offering our best advice without reaching the heart.

Is it all about our pride, about how great “we art”?

“We gave her some solutions that we knew were a sure bet.

So, why is she depressed, they wondered? Why is she upset?

We want to solve her problems, help her turn her life around,

But she shunned our great ideas and called our advice unsound.”

Perhaps they didn’t understand her need for real compassion,

That no heartless solutions could bring her true satisfaction

Because they never spoke to issues that concerned her heart.

All they seemed to want was, their opinions to impart

But she grew weary of their heartless views and sayings trite,

Possessing no desire for yet one more unsound sound bite.

Before she dared accept their great advice, she had to know

That these folks cared about her heart – not just where she should go.

“Just listen to me,” she would plead. But no one wanted to.

That left her feeling isolated, nothing more to do.

Their inability to hear her voice made her withdraw,

Because they seemed so set on pointing out her every flaw

Instead of showing thankfulness for good things she had done.

How hard was it for them to see the victories she’d won?

Most of us can use at least a little validation,

Because without such cheer we can remain in isolation.

The point is that heartless solutions don’t do anybody any good

Even though our best intentions tell us that they should.

Yet without love, I’m just a clashing cymbal, clanging gong.

I do believe I’m doing right when I’m entirely wrong.

“Love one another” Jesus told his disciples. So maybe we should pray more before offering solutions, because only God has the perfect love we need to give to others.

Stinky Stuff God Has Used to Set People Free

How stinky the prison in which Joseph sat.

He ended up there because some lady rat

Accused him of doing what no man should do.

She said he attacked her, but that was not true.

 

But in that foul hole, this young man found release

From her accusations through THE prince of peace.

Her lies didn’t hurt because God set him free

So that he could follow his true destiny.

 

Jeremiah the prophet was tossed in a pit,

And sank in the muck where men left him to sit,

Because they did not want to heed what he said.

That’s why they decided he needed that bed.

 

Imagine him mourn as they lower him down,

Bemoaning the evil that stinks up his town.

“Repent of old mindsets that offer no glee

And you won’t be harmed by this captivity.”

 

The officials determined to starve him to death,

But he looked to God, who had given him breath.

Then up from above – was it manna? Not quite.

How stinky the rags that enabled his flight!

 

They didn’t smell pretty yet helped rescue him

From being shut up in that prison so dim.

For, those who love freedom must deal with the stench

Of soul-binding fetters that make their guts wrench.

 

See Lazarus leaving his now-empty tomb,

Wrapped up like a mummy, with so little room

To walk or to move or to breathe out a word.

Martha said, “It’ll smell,” and I think they all heard

 

Jesus say, “Take the stinky stuff off. Set him free.”

What stench! Hold your nose if you love liberty

That comes when you have faith to move any stone

Which stands in the way of approaching God’s throne.

 

Though confession be smelly, it helps to reveal

God’s mercy through Christ who has power to heal.

For, consider the man who lived close to some pigs,

While cutting himself among burial digs.

 

His devils did not smell good, even in pink.

When Christ cast them out, they sure did make a stink.

But Jesus still used it to set the man free.

For, He can use all things to help you and me.        .

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Ripping up Bad Report Cards: a Freeing Experience

Fearful spies brought God’s people a bad report of the Promised Land (see Numbers 14:32).

Most people got discouraged when they heard it.

“Oh, how we wish we’d died,” they cried,

“In the land of Egypt (where they had been gypped).”

 

To enter a land of milk and honey

With an outlook bright and sunny

seemed like an impossible task to them.

 

That’s how I used to feel: like I could never reach that promised land. Then one day recently I was looking through some bad report cards former teachers had written about me.

These were bad reports, I realized,

Telling me I was the wrong size

To tackle all those giants in the Promised Land.

 

Rip, shred, tear!

One bad report card hit the trash, then another.

With great joy I threw them all away.

 

My teachers’ wrong assessments went sailing into the can. Along with those false assessments went the insecurity that stems from trying to please other people rather than pleasing God.

Because teachers have expectations

Based on whatever evaluations

Someone else expects them to complete

In order to prove they’ve done their job

And done it well.

 

If a teacher is mostly negative, however,

It can affect a child’s self esteem

(And make it hard for them to reach their dream).

 

Rip, shred, tear!

 

For many years those bad report cards

Stared me in the face.

One of them especially lacked very little grace:

 

Tons of minuses from a teacher who must have hated me.

She couldn’t find one quality in which this shy child excelled.

 

NOT A SINGLE ONE.

 

Despite the fact that I never caused trouble in the classroom. I got zero points for being well-behaved.

 

ZERO POINTS WHATSOEVER: as in, one entire column showed straights N’s (N meaning Negative).

 

So, what do you think I did with that report card?

 

Rip, shred, tear!

Throw out the bad report card and free the child from discouraging expectations she could never meet.

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

True, like everyone else I have fallen short of God’s glory, but that DOES NOT make me inferior to other human beings. Because Jesus cared enough to die for me, which is what those failing teachers failed to see.

Do I hate them for it? No, but I do give the worst grader an F minus when it comes to understanding children. Yet, at the same time I do believe that she, too, can change. In fact, perhaps she has already changed for the better. If not, I pray she comes to know God’s love in a most amazing way.

Meanwhile, do I accept her bad report?

NO WAY!!!!!

Throw out the bad report card and free the inner child,

And in the end there shall be peace and harmony for all.

 

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