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How to Live a ‘Golden Rule Lifestyle’

26 Aug

Three young boys keep my young friend Deedra Lindsey Sherm busy these days. I had to laugh at this exchange she shared on Facebook:

Son #1: “Mom! He hit me!”

Deedra to Son #2: “Son, did you hit your brother?”

Son #2: “Yes, but he hit me, so …uh …you know … the Golden Rule!”

LOL, right?

Obviously, Son #2 didn’t have a clue about the true meaning of the Golden Rule. The biblical maxim is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). In other words, we are to treat others as we want them to treat us. Son #2 would re-write that to read, “Do unto others BECAUSE they just did to you!”

The same Golden Rule concept is found in the Old Testament in Leviticus 19:18 ~ “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Other than the obvious fact that this will make our “neighbors” (or anyone we have contact with) enjoy greater blessings, it also does something for us. We feel better about how we relate to others; we feel happier and we know we are pleasing God. When we are generous in our interactions with people, God blesses us in unexpected ways (see Proverbs 11:25).

So what are some practical ways we can live out the royal rule in relationships ~ the Golden Rule? Here are eight simple ways:

(1) Think and reflect. Take time to consider how you’d want to be treated. Use your imagination. Create some scenarios and think, “How would I want someone to respond? What would I want someone to do or say?”

(2) Ask God for a sensitive heart. Try to understand, as best you can, what a person’s need is or why he or she behaves in a certain way. Walk a mile in a person’s moccasins (or Jimmy Choo heels) so you can empathize. Let a Golden Rule lifestyle begin with you! Pray for opportunities to bless others.

(3) Act with kindness and compassion (see Ephesians 4:32). Have you ever noticed that once you “get” the suffering or circumstances of others, you are drawn to help them or at least pray for them? Rather than practicing random acts of kindness, be proactive. Ask, “What can I do, if anything, to relieve this person’s pain or struggle?” When God speaks, follow through.

(4) Open your ears before you speak. It’s so easy to give advice before we have the whole story (Proverbs 18:13); and sometimes all a person needs is a caring person who will listen. Understanding comes through listening, not talking. Consider how you would want to be heard, and respect others enough to give them the same courtesy.

(5) Be a helper and healer. It’s so easy to get tunnel vision ~ to only see our own needs. Once our eyes are open to needs and struggles, it’s a sign of great personal strength to be helpful in practical ways, or even to find ways to bind up (bandage) a person’s heart. (I recognize that sometimes, only Jesus can help and heal; but maybe you can remind a person that a loving God has all the power and help they will ever need. You may need to introduce them to Him.)

(6) Be a true friend. Be careful and respect others’ boundaries, but ask God to help you reach out in friendship in a meaningful way. Open your heart and arms and welcome people into your life. Let them know you care and want to be with them.

(7) See the individual, not your differences. Think of the story of the Good Samaritan ~ the man who reached out to care for the desperate victim saw him as a man, not through the lens of prejudice. Think about any prejudices you might have that would prevent you from practicing The Golden Rule:  age differences? skin color or nationality? gender? appearances? Ask God to help you see people the way He sees them. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has needs. Be humble and Christ-like, looking out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-7).

(8) Sometimes, turn the other cheek (see Luke 6:27-31). Some people are just plain mean and uncaring. But that doesn’t mean we retaliate or “pay them back” for their bad treatment. The Golden Rule isn’t an excuse for retaliation when others act extreme; but rather, encouragement to treat others well, regardless of their behavior. We allow others to own their feelings and behaviors, and we rise above circumstances as we put on the character of Christ and respond as He would.

The simple truth is, a Golden Rule Lifestyle will bless us as we bless others. Live it out “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 6:7).

Does someone come to mind that needs to experience the Golden Rule, applied from your life to theirs? How will you respond?

– Dawn

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Privacy Issues

5 Feb

I’ve sighed many times at all the “privacy issues” that come up with social media, but Pam Farrel sent me something she saw on Facebook that made me LOL!

“New privacy issue with Facebook! As of tomorrow, Facebook will creep into your bathroom when you’re in the shower, smack your rear end, and then steal your clothes and towel. And it’s all gonna happen when you have soap in your eyes.

“To change this option, go to Privacy Settings > Personal Settings > Bathroom Settings > Smacking and Stealing Settings. Then, uncheck the Shenanigans box. Facebook kept this one quiet. Copy and Paste on your status to alert others.”

That’s funny, but for many, real privacy issues are no laughing matter. With all the “hacking” and viruses trying to invade our privacy, many of us are searching for ways to guard against those who want to destroy our computer efficiency or, worse, steal our identities!

This made me think ~ how like Satan, the enemy of our soul. He wants to destroy our effectiveness for God, and he is the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44) constantly feeding us lies about our true identity.

Like a sneaky cyber worm, Satan “hacks” into our lives for weaknesses, foolish choices, and sinful behavior that he can throw up against us at the most inconvenient times.

  • He invades our thoughts and tries to shut down spiritual growth.
  • He relishes opportunities to make us feel guilty.
  • He rejoices when we feel unworthy to follow and serve Christ.

Temptation of Christ - Scheffer

We need to establish some strong “privacy settings” by changing the options Satan has in our lives.

Just as Jesus made the enemy flee by quoting appropriate scripture zingers (Matthew 4:1-22; Luke 4:1-13), we need to know and skillfully use the Word of God to guard against Satan’s tricky attacks. We need to be alert and guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) with biblical truth so the enemy cannot steal our joy in Christ and we can experience true freedom (John 8:32).

We reinforce those settings every day as we spend time reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the truth of the Bible. We also are wise step up our protection by putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

If we have some “privacy issues,” it may be because we’ve failed to be faithful in saturating our hearts and minds with the heart and mind of Christ ~ loving the things He loves, and obtaining His wisdom.

So ~ quick check ~ are your “privacy settings” up to date?

You Are Now Leaving Whine Country

13 Aug

Our friend Judy Scharfenberg is a woman who loves to dig into the Word, but she also has a sharp wit, and apparently, her grandson has inherited it, too.  Judy is our guest blogger today … and she begins with some LOL humor!

I was telling my daughter Jennifer about the beautiful drive through wine country in our city Connor Questionof Temecula.

Seven-year-old Connor was sitting nearby.  He looked up and asked, “Is that where people go to complain?”

We laughed and I said, “Isn’t he the cutest thing.”

Later, I thought about Connor’s remark.  What if there was a place we could go to complain; not just a customer service desk or an 800-number, but a whole country where people walk around, sour looks on their faces, moaning and groaning to their heart’s content.

How long would they stay?  Would they want to leave?  How would they get out?

Wait a minute!  I think I’ve seen that sour look.  I’ve heard that moaning and groaning.  It’s been me!  Maybe I haven’t been verbal about it, but sometimes that complaining has taken place in my heart:

  •  “I wish I could go to Hawaii.”
  • “Why can’t I be like her?”
  • “If I had more money, everything would be better.”
  • “My life is full of hard work. “
  • “When do I get a break?”
  • “He just doesn’t understand me?

For years I cared for my Grandma Jay.  My six children were younger and five were still at home, my husband worked hard to provide for us and, like many families, we went from paycheck to paycheck.  Grandma lived with us until she needed more care and we had to move her to a care facility. 

I would visit two or three times a week, pick up her laundry, bring her home on Sundays for family dinners and make sure she got her hair done.  While I was visiting I would straighten her room.  Grandma had a habit of putting food in her bedside table and it was a mess.  She had given everything up and this was one way of keeping her independence, making choices, but I didn’t see that.  All I saw was “stuff” that needed to be done.  Well, Grandma didn’t like me straightening up; she did, “Just fine, thank you very much.”

One day she couldn’t take it anymore.  Her little 98-pound frame trembled with all of the anger she could muster, and she said, Continue reading

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