Shed the Shame: 4 Ways Shame Adds A Burden to Our Marriage

There’s a gentleman in our church community who’s introduced me and my son to backpacking. Ethan and I have fallen in love with it. We talk about it frequently as, every time we go, we enjoy it immensely and learn something new to apply to our next experience.  That, by itself, would make a good marriage blog.

Find something (potentially new) to with your spouse.
Learn something new about each other.

Now back to my original thought…

One thing we’ve learned about improving our backpacking experience and thus, improving our enjoyment, is to do whatever it takes to shed unnecessary weight in what we carry. I’m not just talking about watching the pounds of equipment but identifying every ounce we put in our packs. Why? Anything we allow, ultimately, somebody has to shoulder it. So Ethan and I spend a good week laying out and identifying everything we intend to take on our journey.

It’s such a simple metaphor and yet, completely profound. If you don’t stop to identify what you’re taking in to your marriage, you may not notice the full weight of the burden in the first part of your marriage journey. But over time, you’ll experience the relational gravity of it and assume the marriage (or your spouse) caused it instead of recognizing that you may have potentially carried it in. Remember: Whatever you allow into the journey of your marriage, somebody has to shoulder it.

This past Sunday, we dealt with the issue of shame at KfirstAnd when I thought about how shame applies to marriage, this backpacking metaphor kicked in. Far too many couples are having their passion, hope, and peace crushed under the weight of shame. What is shame? I describe it this way: guilt is the regret I feel; shame is the guilt I wear. We begin to bear shame when we take our perception of what we don’t have, what we’ve done, or what’s been said and apply it to our identity.  Never forget, “the two become one.” So what you carry, dramatically affects your spouse. 

What causes shame? 

Difference in Upbringing
Good and bad, your history has developed your expectations, built filters for listening, and formed your responses. And at times, if your spouse had a different background, you can see, and even impose, shame upon them as if their upbringing was completely wrong. Just remember: “different” isn’t necessarily “wrong.”

Personal History
The both of you carry into the marriage a bit of baggage (personal history). You carry the experiences of success and failures; victories and devastation. Shame-based thinking take the past and inflicts the future with it. I’m always amazed at the little things in life (tones, scents, scenarios) that trigger something from my past that can cause guilt to resurface and shame to be worn.

Lack of forgiveness
From refusing to forgive your spouse, other people, to even forgiving yourself, unforgiveness doesn’t have to do have anything to do with your marriage to impact your marriage. Inflicting unforgiveness is a violent action against your heart (not to mention the shame you bring upon others). And the more you hold against others, you carry into your marriage. Why? What affects you will infect your marriage.

Comparison
It’s astounding how much we underestimate the issue of comparison. We spend more time comparing and identifying what we lack instead of appreciating and investing into what we do have. Shame is the offspring of comparison; we either force shame upon ourselves for what we don’t have or see others in shame for how much better we have it.

In the words of one of my favorite preachers, Christine Caine, “The human creation was not made to feel the burden of shame.” That not only applies to individuals, it applies to your marriage. 

My challenge to you today is this: Like my son’s and my preparation for backpacking, take a block of time to really review if your “packing” unneeded shame-weight. Have a talk with your spouse and set up a time (say in a week) to talk about any shame-based thinking or actions that are happening in your marriage. Imagine how much lighter your marital load will feel when you eliminate the unnecessary shame from your marriage. It won’t stop you from working on your journey, but it’ll make the burden that much lighter.

Love you all. Praying for you.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

 

Chips are Bad for the Heart: 4 Reasons Why You Can’t Minister with a Chip on Your Shoulder

I think most people can admit that, deep down, you have a love for chip.  Save your comments on saturated fats and cholesterol, I know they’re not healthy, but can we just admit, that apart from the health factors, chips taste amazing? As you are reading this, most likely you are imagining not just a type of chip (corn, potato, veggie, etc) but a specific brand of that chip.

Growing up, we were a “Better Made” family.  Not only were they a local chain (Detroit) but they were pretty dang good. And I can’t remember a time in my childhood where we didn’t have a bag of Better Made around. It was my father’s favorite brand and it was the perfect accompaniment to a tall glass of ice-cold Coke and a football game.

But when I think about chips, this is the commercial that comes to mind:

It takes me back to a simpler time when I didn’t have to care about what I was eating because track and football was burning it all off.  

But, lately, that slogan “You can’t have just one” has been what’s on my mind. Why? I’m preparing for a message in our series, “Pivot Point” here at Kfirst on the issue of offense. And as I study, I recognize that entertaining offense in our hearts opens us up to more offense. Like a small bite from a poisonous snake, the offense-venom spreads throughout our spiritual bloodstream at a prolific rate.

My focus turned from my message and went into inspecting my heart. Here in the coffeehouse, the Holy Spirit began to work upon me. I looked over the past 19+ years of ministry and could see far too many moments when it seemed I had allowed offense to not just be present but to frame my ministry.

I found myself staring at a blank page in my journal and writing the words:

Chips and ministry don’t work; pastoring with a chip on your shoulder will destroy you.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “chip on the shoulder”? I’ve usually experienced the usage of it in the sports world as someone is described as, “playing with a chip on their shoulder.” Usually it means that someone is acting out of a feeling of inferiority or a grudge. So in the context of my journal entry, to pastor with “chip on your shoulder” means you minister while holding an offense or grievance.  And, unfortunately, I’ve wasted too much time and squandered too many opportunities feeding off of those “chips.”

I wonder if a few of you have as well.

Why don’t “Chips” (offense) and ministry work? Here are 4 reasons why:

1 – Offense mimics “passion” and “progress.”
One of the most deceptive things about offense is it impersonates itself as something that is permissible to entertain. We think ministering with a “chip on our shoulder” is a badge of honor. But in reality, that sensation of momentum and drive we’re experiencing is really a focus that is directed inward. In other words, the false sense of motivation isn’t Christ-focus, it’s Me-focused. You’re determined to make “you” shine as to prove a point instead of living to glorify Christ.  

2 – Offense is addictive.
Living with offense is, far too easily, a place to hang your hat. It feeds a victim mentality which finds identity in a place of hurt. And that place of hurt is an addictive place to live. It creates a story; a narrative to live by. But I wonder if too many of us our more addicted to talking about our pain than we are talking about the healing Jesus can bring. As a minister (let alone a believer), if we find our identity in ANYTHING other than Jesus, we are living from a sub-par place that will lead us to sub-par locations. We don’t live FOR an identity; we live FROM an identity. And from our identity in Christ, a victim mentality is impossible to maintain. If we are healed in Him, if we operate in Him, then what we do will flow out of Him and not our offenses.

3 – Offense gives a false sense of fullness.
I think there’s a real challenge to this. When I entertain offense, I tend to continue to feed off of it. And the more I feed off of it, the less healthy mindsets I feed on. I’ll go back to my “chip” metaphor. How many times have you started snacking on junk food before a meal because you were extremely hungry? But when you got to the meal, you couldn’t eat what was put before you (that is probably 10 times healthier for you) because you had filled your stomach with junk. Offense wants to stuff you and weigh you down by leaving no room for that which can build and grow you.

4 – Offense clogs up the life-flow.
Offense in ministry is what high cholesterol is to your blood. The presence of it will slow down life, inflame issues beyond what they should, and lead you toward death. The death I’m talking about is beyond the physical. I’ve watch churches dying from issues of offense. Relationships between churches have been destroyed over it. I’ve seen pastor’s marriages plummet as offense is entertained. The more you entertain it, the less surprised you should be when you, your family, and the ministry you are involved in start suffering from offense’s catastrophic results.

I love the quote from Steven Furtick on the subject,

“Offense is a moment; offended is a choice.”

Are you ministering with a “chip on your shoulder”? Are you living with offense?  I’ve been there. I understand. And like you, can have a lot of excuses to carry my offense. None of us can be excused from being faced with offense. But we do have a choice about picking it up and letting it be the frame for which we live life and operate in ministry. But no justification can rationalize carrying the burden of the unnecessary pain of not dropping offenses, offering forgiveness, and allowing Christ to bring deep healing.   

Is there any more fitting scripture about this than John 10:10?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Please learn from this pastor who used to live off “chips.” Offense is what the Enemy wants to used to steal your joy. He wants to kill your calling. Destruction is all he is after. But releasing the “chip” and grasping onto Christ brings us to a place that is nothing short of a full life (which includes a full ministry).

I love ya pastor.  I’m praying for you.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Kingdom Health: 3 Pastoral Lessons from the Vineyard

One of the strategies of preaching that I’ve really tried to learn from Jesus’ example was the ability to connect the Kingdom to present surroundings/experiences. He was a master at helping to give people understanding by turning people’s attention to things like fields, birds, lost coins, and sheep. A tangible metaphor helped explain the Kingdom in a way that people of that culture could understand and grow from.

It’s for that reason, most of my sermon illustrations come from personal experience and not a book. Jesus didn’t get his illustrations from hanging out at the Temple everyday. He walked around the local cities and villages. Jesus took notice of people and atmospheres. I believe if pastors/preachers are looking for fresh illustrations, the best ones are waiting for you…

  • …outside of your office. Be a pastor who is in your community.
  • …when you spend time with your spouse and/or family. My wife and children have taught me a ton of lessons, but remember, only use family illustrations with permission.
  • …during times of leisure/fun. It’s amazing the things you can learn about yourself if you’ll stop taking life so serious and enjoy yourself.
  • …on vacations. Usually, vacations help lower my guard a bit. And it’s in that place of vulnerability, where moments happen and God speaks.

If we’ll take a moment to listen, it’s amazing where the Lord will speak to us from. And for me, one of those moments happened in the Napa Valley.  I’ll admit, I was nervous about being in a winery. I remember telling my wife and kids, “no one posts anything on social media” out of fear of what people would assume. In my denomination, there has been so much recent debate about alcohol and the last thing I wanted was a fantastic experience, on one of the best vacations of my life, to turn into a social media debate.  I wasn’t there to drink. I was spending time with some amazing friends to experience a tour of a historic winery.

The guide walked us through a variety of locations. He would stop, tell us about the winemaking process, but also interject some history. The more he talked, the more notes I was typing into my phone. I remember, at one point, turning to my wife and saying, “Every pastor should take this tour.”

For example, I learned that the vineyard owner would find the most difficult soil and plant there.  Finding easy, fertile soil produced fast growth but sour fruit. He discovered that the harder the plant worked, the sweeter the fruit.  (Insert “church planting” or a “discipleship” lesson HERE.)

But apart from the vast amount of things I learned from the vine, I really grasped onto some Kingdom lessons that came from the history the man behind the vineyard.  He has been referred to as the face of the Napa Valley: Robert Mondavi.

Here’s some simple pastoral lessons from Robert Mondavi: 

1 – I am not here to build my empire; I’m called to build the Kingdom. Prohibition was devastating to the valley. Not only were their economics devastated, but people came to the valley and started burning the vineyards. Family’s whose livelihoods, not to mention their homes, were in those fields.  People lost everything. Robert Mondavi was one of the few whose fields survived. When prohibition was lifted, he welcomed those who lost everything to come to work for him.  He didn’t see others as “rivals.” He saw broken people.

For too long, we have treated the church across the street (or across town) as a “rival church.” The competition spirit amongst pastors has absolutely grieved me. Why? Because I was there. Other churches (namely youth groups at the time) were nothing more than the ministries I needed to “beat.” I get it. I’ve been at the place where coveting, envy, and frustration crowded out my passion and vision. I totally get being so frustrated with my lack of results that I pointed fingers at other pastors and churches instead of checking my own heart and seeing the Enemy for who he is.

The winemaker and his history was the reminder of the Pastor who took me in and showed me that the Kingdom always trumps Empire. He showed me that success wasn’t the size of my ministry but the expanding of the Kingdom of God.  Pastors are co-laborers and not rivals; we, together, serve Jesus. Which leads me to…

2 – I am to freely pour out what has been poured into me. What Robert Mondavi had, he offered to others. This man gave displaced families and workers an opportunity to learn and engage in what he was doing.  Nothing was hidden.  He shared his methods and talents. And when they were in a place to move out on their own, he helped them to start their own vineyards.

This is a mentality I didn’t always understand. I think I was more worried about making a name for myself, my church, and my denomination than I was lifting up the name of Jesus. I think sometimes we’re more worried about branding OUR church that we’ve forgotten WHO we are doing this for.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with branding, marketing, and doing things with excellence as long as it exalts the name of Jesus.

One of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made (and continue to make) is to chase mentors.  If you’re waiting for mentors to chase you, you’re missing the point of it all. Growth comes when we lower our pride and admit we need help. It’s why, in the midst of my own ministry hurt, I ran after the “Robert Mondavi” type pastors who weren’t jealous of others but were zealous for the Kingdom. I desperately needed (and still need) pastors who were willing to share what they have without any worry of reciprocation.  And because of their faithfulness, it increased my passion and filled me with hope for a future of healthy ministry.

And for that reason, freely I received, I want to freely give to anyone who comes to me as God gives the opportunities.

3 – Networking means “God is working.” God works in community. Our guide told us that when, Robert Mondavi learned something new, he would call together the local vineyard owners to share what he discovered. Why? He philosophy was, “When I help others, I raise the vintage of the Valley.”

This was completely contradictory to what my nature wanted as well as what I learned in ministry.  In my broken pastoral mind, what I had was mine, and if I shared it, I then have to share the “success.” Not only that, but IF I shared it, I wanted to make sure I raised the “vintage of my reputation.” I was driven to build MY church not realizing that it wasn’t MINE to begin with.

I am eternally grateful for the healthy pastors who spoke into my life for the purpose of “raising the vintage of the Kingdom.” I’m thankful to the Paul’s (mentor) and Barnabas’ (encourager) who unselfishly poured into me from their own failures and successes, from their creativity and dreams. The more I networked with other leaders, the more health I began to see in ministry. The greater opportunities of allowing people to speak into me lead to a deeper move of God in my life. I don’t think that happens by chance. The scriptures are proof that God works through community. We just have to allow for that.

I seriously wish I could take pastors through that tour. Apart from leaning about wine, vines, and crop growth (which is brought up so often in scripture), the Kingdom lessons have transformed my ministry philosophy.

Today, purpose in your heart to take a new turn in ministry. Make the decision to raise the vintage of the Kingdom by taking strategic next steps to see Kingdom health in your life.

Repent of selfishness and give God your brokeness.
Chase a mentor. Be a mentor.
Share a some of your failures; Celebrate His victories.
And when God does/shows something new to you, call up another pastor to talk about it.

Raise the vintage of the Kingdom today.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Pastor to Pastor: 4 Next steps to follow when a fellow pastor has failed.

My heart is broken this morning. Sitting in a pool of tears in a coffee-house this morning, I’m sure I must be concerning the baristas and customers looking my way.  

All morning, I’ve been fine, but sitting down and reading articles about the resignation of a favorite pastor of mine has brought be to a very humbling place.  The news came to me yesterday after a great morning at Kfirst.

Perhaps the shock of it has now settled in after 24 hours of processing it.
Perhaps my own humanity gets realized in these moments.
Perhaps the love for the church I serve is so immense that I’m examining EVERY area of my life today as to make sure I’m reflecting Christ and His Kingdom.

(A boy just walked by me looking at me weird…seriously, I was fine when I left the house.)

So when I struggle to fully grasp or comprehend something, I journal and I blog. It’s my way to work out my thoughts. Why? Because if you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t know that rawness has gotten the best of people on social media and caused more havoc by escalating situations more than needed. (I’d highly recommend a journal as to protect you and your friends from thoughts and emotions yet to be hashed out.)

This hurting pastor doesn’t know me. We’ve tweeted back and forth a few times but that doesn’t make us BFFs. How God has used him in the Kingdom has inspired me and the church he leads has (and continues to ) challenge me. I will not use his name nor refer to the church out of respect for both of them…

But my brokenness isn’t exclusive to just his resignation. It happens with EVERY situation like this. I love pastors. I’ve been a broken pastor before. I am here because of men and women who wouldn’t abandon me in my fracture but spoken into my wounded heart and mind (Luke 10:33-37).

What also breaks my heart is knowing the amount of “carnivorous christians” that will smell blood in the water. There are people who crave these moments. They whore themselves to the attention they get from stirring the pot so that they can promote their self-righteousness. They claim to be about the Kingdom but only care about building an empire that revolves around the box they have placed Christ and His Word into. Instead of rallying to the broken, instead of humbling ourselves and checking our own hearts, they abandon and even attack the hurting. I can sit and point the finger at them, but that tendency lies in all of us. So I say to US ALL…

Brothers and Sisters, this should not be (James 3:10).

So, in blog style, I’ve sat down and begin to pen out next steps for me.  

What is a minister’s response when a fellow minister has failed?

1 – Rally to the broken. The enemy works in isolation; God works in community. We need to be quicker to sit in the dirt with those who are broken rather than stand around ready to hurl rocks (John 8:1-11). We need more advocates in the Kingdom instead of accusers. I may not have a personal relationship with this pastor (or others), but I doesn’t stop me from responding to their pain.  Which brings me to #2…

2 – Pray for the broken. There is a fractured minister. He/she has a hurting marriage and family. There is a hurting congregation. You don’t have to know the details to pray. Don’t allow the desire for “the dirt” be deeper than the desire to pray. Let the Spirit of God pray through you. Let Him give you the words to say. Be obedient to pray when He prompts you.

3 – Stop the attacks. Don’t facilitate infection but be a source of healing. The Good Samaritan had the perfect response of “pouring on oil and wine.” Oil was the soothing agent to remove pain. Wine was the antiseptic to stop further infection. Let your response do both.

4 – Stay humble and learn. These moments that should bring us to a place of humility. They remind us that none of us are exempt from temptation. The Bible gives so many examples of men and women who failed.  And for a majority of them (if not all), it was in a place of isolation, hunger, and/or exhaustion. To every minister of the Gospel (this is a message I’d like to preach to pastors):

  • Have accountability. I love my board. (I don’t always do well communicating how much I value my present and past board members for their wisdom and insight. Despite my demeanor, deep down they are blessed and wise men and women of God and I am very thankful for them).  BUT you desperately need ministers who are IN the trenches and those who WERE in the trenches. Have the presence of both Paul (mentors) and Barnabas (peers) in your life who have permission to ask or inquire of ANYTHING in your life/marriage/family.
  • Don’t stop being teachable. Learn from others regardless of age, denomination, or size of their ministry.
  • Guard your heart against competition; keep the critical attitude at bay.
  • Don’t spread gossip in the name of prayer requests.
  • Keep yourself spiritually fed. Spend time in the Word. Have personal worship time. Listen to podcasts.
  • Get rest. Have good sleep habits. Date your spouse. Have time with your children. Vacation without guilt. Rest may be the most fruitful thing you can do for your ministry.

Would you spend some of your day today in prayer over fellow ministers? If you are struggling WITH temptation and/or struggling IN temptation, would you reach out to someone? If you have no one, I’d be glad to pray for ya. Hit me up in a message or DM on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t feel like you have to be alone.

We must be about the Kingdom. And it won’t happen if we are devouring our own. It’ll happen when we bind the broken and heal the hurting. And those we lead, will follow our example.

Love you all.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: This was the song I’ve been listening to during my blogging today: 

Pastor to Pastor: How Do You Deal With People Leaving the Church?

I’ve never hidden my heart for pastors.  I think part of it is the fact that I am currently in pastoral ministry. But what drives the other side is, when I was a broken and frustrated pastor, others lent their ear and freely gave their insight and wisdom.  So, in essence, how in the world could I ever hold back anything that God has given me?  

Freely received; freely given.  Thine is the Kingdom.

Weekly, calls come in from pastors wanting to talk about a variety of subjects. I welcome calls like that. Why? I want to learn and grow and I think conversations with fellow co-laborers is a great avenue to let “iron sharpen iron.” I feel every interaction I have with a fellow minister is a growing opportunity for both of us to grow. One of the subjects that inevitably comes up is the struggle that comes when people leave the church.

I’m not necessarily talking about people abandoning their faith (whole other blog).  I’m talking about that moment when people decide to stop attending the church you pastor and attend somewhere else because your church community isn’t a fit for them.  It’s a moment that can suck to deal with. I love people and I wish everyone could find their fit at Kfirst.  But I realize that isn’t realistic.

Seven years ago, a very good friend told me that, minimally, 30% of the people who voted you (wanted you) in as the pastor would depart and go somewhere else.  Some because you would never be who they thought you were (expectations both realistic and unrealistic). Some left because of too much change, not enough change, or they didn’t see the change they wanted to see (see expectations). Some departed because their hearts were too connected to previous leadership (styles and approach).  Still, some left because of offense and frustration. 

Pastors, if there’s anything I can implore of you during congregation transitions, it’s this: Reflect Jesus to people when they come to your church; reflect Jesus if people leave your church. 

What do you do? As a pastor, how do you approach people leaving because they didn’t find a “fit” at your church? It’s as simple as 1,2, 3.

  1. Bless them. If they’re courageous enough to leave in an honorable way AND let you know, you need to push past any hurt or frustration and do, what I think, is the most honorable thing to do: bless them. 
    • Offer prayer over them. Bless their search for a church community. Speak blessing over their home.
    • Offer to help them find a church. It’s rare people take me up on that, but my heart has to be for the Kingdom more than my church or denomination.
  2. Speak well of them. Shut your mouth. Shut down the gossip (if any) about them. Let the words of your mouth and the meditation of our heart be honorable to the Lord. Just because they left your church community doesn’t mean they departed the Kingdom of God.
    • “Pastor, did you know ______ left the church?” “Yep.  We talked and had prayer.”
    • “Pastor, I heard ________ left because of _________.” “Well, first, I chose to believe the best of _________. Second, stop talking about it. Third, tell the people you’re hearing this from to stop talking about it. That’s between _______ and God and we can’t run our church community by gossip and assumption.”
  3. Respond well to them. I see people in the mall, neighborhood, social media, etc. that have left Kfirst. Them being here doesn’t decide if I like them personally or not. For some, Kfirst wasn’t the “fit” for them and that’s okay. I’ve developed some great friendships with people in the community that didn’t find their “fit” at our church. That’s fine.  That happens and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.   Don’t respond to people in a crappy way just because they don’t attend any more (I wish I didn’t have to type that).  Grow up and treat people with respect and kindness. 

Here’s some final thoughts to lend to you: 

  • Be merciful. I believe mercy is best illustrated as “velvet steel.” If someone encounter’s you, they experience the velvet (kindness, honor, respect).  Yet, the steel prevents you from being a doormat. Know who you are in your identity in Christ.
  • If I offended someone, I’ll be the first to ask for forgiveness regardless of whether I feel they’re justified in their offense. 
    • It could have been a complete misunderstanding, but regardless, I offended and I should initiate asking for forgiveness. 
  • If someone is offended, they should be the one to initiate a connection.  If I know about it (sometimes someone is hacked off and never tells me), I’ll try to connect.  But he/she needs to take responsibility and step up to Matthew 18 the situation. 
  • Anyone telling me “God is leading me away” will always get a reply, “I’m gonna respect what you have personally heard from God.”
    • Who am I to argue with what God is speaking if they’re not going into a place of sin. (A reminder: Leaving your church isn’t a sin.)
  • I don’t play politics. “If I do _________, will you stay?” When someone is departing from your church community, negotiating doesn’t fix anything.  It only pacifies the situation.
  • If someone has experiencing hurt and/or offense, my goal isn’t to “keep” them, but help them into healing. 
    • If they stay, I want them healthy.
    • If they still leave, I want them leaving healthy.
  • If someone disagrees and wants to leave, I just ask that we agree to disagree. I just believe that we can embrace Jesus, not necessarily see eye-to-eye on every detail in life, and STILL be cordial with each other. 
  • I don’t do exit interviews. That has been a place for me to get annihilated while empowering someone with the hammer to do it all the while, they get to leave and I’m left picking up the pieces. 
  • Don’t tolerate sinful practices. Gossip, slander, and bitterness are not Kingdom attributes.

Again, reflect Jesus to people when they come to your church; reflect Jesus if people leave your church. Perhaps if we (the pastors) will do a better job reflecting Christ during these situations, the parishioners will have the example to follow. 

My prayer over you is that God would help give abundant wisdom (James 1) of you as you traverse through this amazing opportunity to lead a local church community. I speak God’s blessing over you in handling both when people come AND when they leave. Remember,  with people, resources, strategy, wisdom, let your heart and your leadership reflect: 

Freely received; freely given.  Thine is the Kingdom.

Love you pastors.  I believe in you. You are a tremendous gift to the Kingdom. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Dirty Laundry Can Ruin Your Marriage

 

 

 

 

 

dirty-laundry-600x314

 

You’ve seen it and I’ve seen it.  

If you are involved in ANY type of social network, you’re going to have it flashed in front of you.  Some of you deal with it in work.  Others deal with it in the neighborhood.  I see it in church a lot. 

Dirty laundry. 

I’ve been familiar with the idiom for years. I’ve heard my parents use it as well as friends and co-workers. 

Someone is “airing their dirty laundry.”

The phrase simply means you are talking about things (usually a problem or dispute) that should be kept private. It stems from the idea from the fact that your dirty laundry (an analogy for dirty secrets) should be kept out of sight when people are visiting, otherwise it could be embarrassing for you or them. It can also be phrased “Don’t air you dirty laundry in public”.  But these days, there seems to be little to no boundaries when it comes to what SHOULD be private and not public.  

I believe social networking is a tremendous gift.  It’s given us the power of connecting with the people around us as well as reconnecting with friends and family once separated by geography.  You feel a part of your friend’s life even though he/she lives across the country.  It’s also empowered so many introverts with a voice of expression (both good and bad).  For those of us who grew up struggling with shyness and insecurity, social network has helped us break out of our shell.  My own personal social network posting philosophy is fun, inspiration, and connection (friends, sports, hobbies, etc). 

People post anything…and I mean anything. 

Selfies. Pictures of their food. Ridiculous moments of their day (I’m guilty). What their child said/did that was so cute. Random thoughts.  Inspirational quotes.  Memes of kittens with a random scripture overlaid.

It seem like there’s no end to what we can come up with to post. 

Then it comes up.  

Dirty Laundry.

dirty-laundry

“My husband/wife said something that hurt me…”
“My husband/wife is a…”
“My husband/wife expects…”
“I don’t care what anyone thinks, but my spouse…”
“What is my spouse thinking…”
“I can believe he/she is acting like…”
“People, you know who you are, need to…”
“My in-laws are…” 

As much as people can complain about what to post (quotes, kittens, food, etc.), this is one post that has to go away. There is no place for this.  You may have the right to do it…but it doesn’t make it right. Please take your dirty laundry off the line and take it back into the house. 

Why? Because it’s telling the all of us one of several things (in reality, it could be more than one): 

  1. Your hurting. 
    That’s a given.  I will not be sarcastic about your hurt.  I will not mock it.  You’re living in fracture and you need the same healing that I received through Christ.  One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
  2. You don’t have a clue about how to handle conflict with your spouse.
    Again, I’m not mocking you, but you need help. It’s okay to admit you need help.   But seek it without dropping your laundry on the social network world.  Unless all of your “friends/followers” are solid Christian counselors, keep it out of your feed. Proverbs 12:15 “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Go to prayer.  Get help as a couple. Become a student of marriage and work on your conflict resolution.  I promise. It will bless you and your spouse.
  3. You enjoy drama and you, apparently, don’t want the soap opera that you are living in to end.
    Admit it.  There are drama kings/queens all around us.  If you are one of them…STOP IT!  (I’ll admit, sometimes I think I’m one of them.  That’s where Anne calls me out.)  Misery loves company (another idiom I should blog on) and if you are miserable, you want people to be sucked into it.  Why? It’s giving you attention.  You are the focus and the longer the facebook thread is, the more fulfilled you feel.  Proverbs 27:2 “Don’t call attention to yourself; let others do that for you.”
  4. You’re selfish enough to rally everyone to your side and away from your spouse.
    You know there are people on social network that are foolish enough to take your side having only heard your side of the story and not your spouses’. Hurt people do hurtful things like manipulate situations to help themselves.  Galatians 5:16 “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.”
  5. You’re vicious. 
    Your rants are a warning to people of their future if they cross you.  It’s burning bridges that you, in your hurting state, can’t afford to lose. Listen to the words of the Psalmist, “God, get me out of here, away from this evil; protect me from these vicious people. All they do is think up new ways to be bad; they spend their days plotting war games. They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt, speak venomous words that maim and kill.” Psalms 140:1-2.

If your on the reading end of social network, the “dirty laundry” being aired out is nothing more than a black widow’s web designed to ensnare you and poison you. Reach out to the hurting individual privately. 

Let me say that again: Reach out to the hurting individual privately.  Don’t engage in business that isn’t yours.  But there are ways to reach out to speak healing without becoming a part of the problem. 

If you’re the one hanging the “dirty laundry”, it’s time to step back and get some help.  It’s time to engage with your spouse in a way that fosters healthy communication skills.  Proverbs 10:19 says “The wise measure their words.” Your words need to be used in the right timing, in the right atmosphere, with the right tones.  It won’t turn around overnight. But intentional acts/words of health breed marriages, that themselves, move toward health. 

Your dirty laundry wasn’t meant for others.  It’s for you and your spouse. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Marriage Devo – Day 9

Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we are in our Annual Marriage Series at Kalamazoo First Assembly of God and we’re going through devotions for couples. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.