Archive for April 11th, 2018

11
Apr

2018-04-10 Life Group Observations

   Posted by: John    in Life Group

The theme for this week’s sermon and discussion is

One Anothering: Jack Frost Nipping At Your ???

Click here to watch the sermon for this week

2018-04-10 Life Group questions

2018-04-10 Life Group questions

Things learned and observed from this Life Group session:

Virtues, Quirkiness and Trust

Colossians 3:12-13:  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Bible

Bible

The term ‘bear with each other’ is the basis for this week’s sermon and discussion.  Reading the verse, there are a number of virtues (or perhaps qualifiers) that precede the counsel to ‘bear with’.  These are human traits that are not always natural, such as patience.  Some people are naturally patient, others are not and have to work on developing that trait.

Steve Moore’s sermon had a lot to do with the quirks or idiosyncrasies that everyone has.  For example (and I mentioned this at the group), Laura is very particular about how the laundry is folded and put away.  I used to have a drawer that I just tossed socks and underwear in.  I was perfectly good with that arrangement but she was not.  Now my sock and underwear drawer is organized, neat, and color coded.  Every now and again we will be folding laundry and I will throw a pair of socks across the room and into the drawer…and I get the laundry look of death from her.  What I don’t say often enough to her is that the time she takes to make sure that such a mundane and unimportant thing as the organization of my underwear is so much appreciated.  It is important to her and I don’t have the need or right to make her feel bad or put her down over it.  This is an example of a quirk that is 100% harmless unless someone CHOOSES to make it a problem.

It was interesting to listen to people discuss some of the quirks they or their spouses have.  A couple thoughts came to mind.

  • In my opinion, quirks would be defined as things that we say or do that are generally not harmful or hurtful. That isn’t saying that they CAN’T be harmful or hurtful.  A lot is determined by delivery, expression, timing and emotion.  An absolute truth delivered in the wrong way can be more damaging than a blatant falsehood or a casual dig.  And really, what is the point of digging on someone if their quirk is unintentional or harmless.
  • I believe that most people are unaware that they have more than a few little things that are annoying to their spouse. I know I have my own quirks but I am hard pressed to identify more than a few, although after this sermon and discussion I know I have many more that will be far more evident to Laura than me.
  • I am sure that everyone in the group has used their partner’s quirks against them at some time. In my experience, people will exploit another person’s weakness or habit for a variety of reasons.  These would include fun, joking, anger, retribution and sometime plain meanness.  Having a little fun with someone is fine until it becomes hurtful.  Hurt someone too many times and trust begins to break.  Repairing broken trust is painful, time consuming and doesn’t always work. Isn’t it better to just not go there?

Speaking of trust, one of the most important things in all relationships is trust.  Trust includes knowing that you aren’t going to be hurt or trashed for your quirks.  Expecting a continual negative response for a habit or annoyance every time it comes up results in trust breaking resentment and anger.  As mentioned above, regaining that trust is difficult.  In the sermon, Steve mentioned several times that there are plenty of idiosyncrasies that we should be overlooking, or ‘bearing with’.  I would bet that some of those things are actually strengths, much like the underwear drawer example.

I thought about an instance where one of my quirks and what someone did with it resulted in a big trust issue.  I have never liked large bodies of water, such as a swimming pool.  This probably stems from nearly drowning in a pool when I was two years old.  I do not remember it but it’s got to be stuck in my head somewhere.  I can swim because my Mother sent me to swimming lessons (and I hated every last miserable second of it).  My choice is to just not get in a pool.  Period.  Years ago, I tried to set that preference aside.  My ex-wife knew why I didn’t like being in a pool and ridiculed me for it until she finally badgered me into one.  I got in and one of the first things she did was kick my feet out from under me.  I have not been in a pool since.  That event ruined a lot of trust that was never regained, largely due to never receiving an apology and being ridiculed worse than before, often in front of other people.

 

On treating others better than you treat the ones closest to you…

That leads to something else Steve mentioned in his sermon, that people sometimes treat strangers or others they work with better than they treat the ones they are closest to.  I have pondered this principle often over the years, and a couple things come to mind.

The Brick Wall

The Brick Wall

Referring again to my previous relationship, I spent a number of years watching my ex-wife be absolutely charming, witty, happy and outright fun with other people.  But the minute those people were no longer around, that happiness immediately changed to an uncaring, unsupportive and sometimes mean person.  When that happened, my thoughts were “Why are you so rotten to the person you profess to love”.  Granted, I was not perfect either, but I do not believe that I was that cold, not at first anyway.  Over the years I built a pretty impressive brick wall to protect myself from the constant barrage.  It has required a lot of time to take it down.  Even now, several years later, when I have to interact with that person I find that I am an amazing fast mental bricklayer because the digs and meanness are still part of her behavior.  I have vowed to not let her hurt me anymore.  More important, I have vowed to never do to Laura what was done to me.

MaryEllen brought up an interesting point regarding where her ‘bar’ is set, or in other words, her standard regarding various people.  The bar she referred to is the one that she, in her mind, uses to measure others.  MaryEllen works with a group of people who are where they are because they have issues and problems.  Because of that she does not have high expectations of them.  Sometimes when she arrives home she will be upset at her husband and daughter for things that are minor compared to what she deals with at work.  In other words, someone she works with may do the same thing her husband does, but that someone gets a pass because her expectation is not the same.  She felt like it had to do with where she sets the bar…low for the people she works with, but high for her family.

I believe that having the bar set high does not give anyone the need or right to treat those closest to them badly, to disrespect or vilify them over things that are unintentional or otherwise harmless.  Abusing our loved ones over quirks goes directly to Paul’s advice in regards to ‘bear with’.  Our kids are going to have as many quirks as we have.  We need to learn to ‘bear with’ the ones that don’t matter, and address the ones that do, keeping in mind that we should always approach corrective action properly, with love and patience.  For the times that anger is warranted, we need to keep ourselves in check and make sure that anger does not spill over into driving that close person away.

 

Forgiveness

In the verse above, Paul advises to ‘Forgive as the Lord forgave you’.  This can be difficult depending on the type, duration and quantity of the problem.  I find it fairly easy to forgive for most things.  That does not always mean immediately, but as a rule, I feel I have compassion for those who ask my forgiveness.  My wife and I are not perfect and we get sideways a bit at times.  But once it’s over, we ask forgiveness from each other and I am able to give it without condition or reservation.

Forgive

Forgive

Jesus has said that he requires us to forgive.  I don’t think that always means forget.  I don’t think Jesus expects us to forgive someone and place ourselves in a position to be hurt again.  There are a few people and things I have not been able to forgive.  That’s a function of time and growth, but I am finding I am more prone to forgiving than I used to be.  There are a few factors that contribute to that change.

  • My wife, who loves and accepts me for the person that I am including my quirks, flaws and occasional brokenness. I love her with all my heart.
  • My church, particularly Steve Moore and how he gives his sermons. I have learned more in the past 6 months about how I should live and be.
  • My Savior, who I have come to know loves me regardless of anything else. Without Him, there would be no point to life at all.

In the end, people are individuals, with personalities, likes, dislikes, moods, talents and issues.  Paul tries to help us know how to work with those things, find the strengths, overlook the idiosyncrasies and keep our relationships strong.

11
Apr

I Remember…Brown Primer

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

It’s kind of funny to see cars running around town that are primer coated, not painted.  It reminds me of two cars we had when I was a kid (and young adult).

We didn’t have a lot of money so you make do with what you have and try and keep it working.  That applied to cars as well as stuff around the house.

Over the period of several years, we had two station wagons that ended up being brown primer for years.  Granted, it keeps the vehicle from rusting away, but it sure was an ugly color.  But we drove them and they did the job they needed to do.

I suppose these kinds of things that help keep you humble.