The Essential Keys to Forgiveness

LIBERATION DU CAMP DE CONCENTRATION DE RAVENSBRUCK 1945Corrie Ten Boom famously spent the last year of the war in the Ravensbruck concentration camp for women after her family was caught hiding Jews in their home. She lost her father shortly after their arrest and her sister died in the camp. Following a speaking engagement in 1947, she was approached by a former guard whom she recognised. He asked for the very forgiveness he had just heard her speaking about, having now become a Christian. Continue reading

‘Care-Fronting’ for Leadership Growth

Coffee_MeetLeadership maturity has many measures. One is the ability to confront people healthily. No avoidance or white lies, but confident and intentional calmness. However, the ability to address issues well is an art more than it is a science, requiring intuition and relational intelligence. However easy this may seem in friendships and in professional settings, it is altogether more difficult when working in volunteer environments. The “I shouldn’t have to put up with this” mindset can hit leaders selflessly sacrificing time and energy so that they will easily throw away the rich growth and humility that comes from perseverance in healthy confrontation necessary for leadership growth. Here’s a few tips to maximise that confrontational ‘opportunity’. Continue reading

5 Questions for Better Communication

communicateWe can too easily rob ourselves of the joy of life if we stay in the shadow of misunderstandings, misgivings or misrepresentations of fact. Of course, life does not always eventuate as we would like it to and any negative emotions may even be somewhat justified. But why would we continue to harbour them instead of letting them go? Often, it is because communication is hard work. In her recent book, Rising Strong, Brené Brown, a social work research professor, suggests that we attach stories that we write in our own heads to life’s circumstances. These explain the comments or actions of others in a way that makes sense to us and then overtakes the sometimes awkward need for candid confrontations. But what if these are wrong? Continue reading

56 Percent

coupleUrban myths often emerge from misrepresented data. The often-quoted belief that divorce rates within churches are no different to wider society is an example that defies the evidence. The figure is at least twenty percent lower, according to Harvard researcher, Shaunti Feldhahn. The discrepancy is related to how one defines what it means to be Christian. This same problem is also at the heart of a widespread but erroneous belief that eight out of ten unmarried young adult Christians have been sexually active despite the Bible’s clear indication that sex is to be confined to marriage. Continue reading

The Bible Verse Abused More Than Any Other

TruthAn important verse in the New Testament is so frequently abused in light of contemporary wisdom on relationships that damage is done without realising it. The context of the verse actually affirms the need for Christians, as Christ’s body, to protect each other from error in order to promote growth and unity. It is shown to be a critical component of Christian discipleship and, by implication, an essential element of leadership. There is clearly much at stake when we get this wrong. Continue reading

If Every Couple Followed This Advice…

beachI remember watching a program in which a guy stated that he understood women. In response, he was asked why he was still single, to which he replied: “Because I understand women”! Many misunderstandings that undermine relationships can be demystified and overcome by following some timeless biblical advice… but if only warring couples would heed it. Attention to these three simple elements can pay huge dividends, albeit with the possibility that some impartial counsel and guidance may be needed to help with maintaining accountability and overcoming blind spots. Continue reading

Trapped by Offence – Part 2

trap-4-290Yesterday we looked at the destructive power of offence. In Matthew 18:7, Jesus told us that it is impossible for offences not to come. We all get offended. However, not everyone handles their offence well. Some people get over their offence and others don’t. Every time we choose to hold on to hurts, they becomes like persistent thorns in our side. And what is the antidote? What allows us to really let it go? Let’s continue looking at some helpful strategies. Continue reading

Trapped by Offence – Part 1

trap-4-290While a husband was lying down, his wife came up and removed his glasses. She said, “Without your glasses on, you look great. Just like the young man I married.” He replied, “Without my glasses on, you look pretty good too!” Even when we’re a little more sensitive than this, it is easy to offend. It is also easy to be offended, and offence can rob us of valuable relationships and even ultimately rob God of … us! Proverbs 18:19 says that offended people are harder to win than a walled city. Offended people build their own walls after one attack too many has had them decide to avoid further intrusions. So, how can offence be overcome? Continue reading

Liar, Liar – Part 2

pinnochioSpeaking honestly involves the need to speak the truth as an act of love toward others, when we might sometimes prefer to withhold it. However, it naturally carries the responsibility of refraining from overt dishonesty. Accusations of lying abound in times of conflict, but if we try to see the best in people, then we create less tension for ourselves as we consider our interpretations of others’ behaviour. Continue reading