Sunday, June 21, 2009

Love your Enemy

I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately, especially related to the emotional component of how love and hate/anger are related to forgiveness. The Biblical passage that has me stumped is in Matthew 5 where Jesus teaches us to "Love your enemies."

An enemy is "one who feels hatred toward, intends injury to, or opposes the interests of another; a foe." Jesus doesn't say befriend your enemy. Jesus doesn't say feel good feelings about your enemy. Jesus doesn't even say forgive your enemy. If my enemy were to repent and ask for forgiveness, and I were to forgive and reconcile with that person, then he would no longer be my enemy. This command is all about *my* behavior irrespective of what my enemy does. It is a hard command, very hard. Maybe the hardest of them all. It is very asymmetrical. Someone does evil to me, but I return that with good. That is the point Jesus is making.

So, can I love my enemy and still be angry at him? That probably depends on how my enemy responds to my loving behavior. If I can win this asymmetrical battle by overcoming evil with good, chances are my emotions will follow. And, perhaps my my enemy will repent or at least relent or even turn from their wicked ways and seek God, but I cannot count on that. I may continue to be attacked in which case I can put up boundaries or flee if possible. There are no guarantees. If all I get is continued persecution I'm left to depend on Romans 12:19. Jesus does offer a little bit of help. He says "pray for those who persecute you." Take it to God, and maybe He will help us with this very hard teaching.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Get What You Measure

I'm hard wired as an MBTI Thinker/Judger. It is designed into my personality. There are some dangers and problems that come from being wired this way, but I believe God made me this way for a reason. So, I need to figure out how to work with the Owner's design. As one of my good friends likes to say, "You get what you measure." Maybe measuring is better than judging, particularly if you're not sure your judgment is right.

Another friend of mine sent me this insightful coaching tip from

DISTINCTION: Measure vs. Judge (Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)

When you want to grow in some manner it's useful to measure your progress so you can tell how you're doing. Are you getting closer to what you want or further away? If closer, do more of the same. If further way, change something. Measuring relative to some standard lets you determine your progress and quickly make corrections.

What do you measure against? Anything which looks like what you want.

It's when you let measuring turn into judging that the trouble starts. To judge yourself means that you decide some level of your self-worth by how the measuring goes. And that's a problem because there is always something, or some place, or someone richer, smarter, taller, faster, prettier, smaller, nearer, younger, or older than you. You will always lose the comparison, if you make it a win/lose comparison.

"I'm not enough" is the lament of the person who judges their performance.

"I see what I need to do next" is the healthy attitude of the person who measures their progress.

Coaching Point: What are some useful measurement points you can find?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Words Women Use

This came to me as an email forward, so I cannot credit the wise man who captured this knowledge for the rest of the male species. All I can say, is "thank you!" and pay it forward by posting it here without annoying others by forwarding it to my entire email address book. I'm sure this is already in a zillion other blogs, but it is worth adding one more entry into the blogosphere with the hopes this sage advice enter the collective consciousness and disappear from the email forwarding circuit.

Words Women Use

1. Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to do what you're doing before helping her do what she wants you do to.

3. Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4. Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5. *loud sigh* This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6. That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome.

8. Don't worry about it; I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to #3 above.