Compassionate listening is healing & exciting!

Has anyone noticed that to rudely berate people over politics, Covid, and race, isn’t making America great? We need love for that! Sincerely listening, with an open heart, is a powerful relationship tool, that is too often unused.

I’ve heard that people like to be listened to. Do you? A failure to communicate often leads to misunderstanding, hatred, and even violence.

You can hear a person’s voice but miss their heart. Try not to do that.

Anyone can listen to and hear another person’s heart, but it takes real courage to do so. People who aren’t afraid have the ability to listen to other people’s opinions without insulting them and to respond with kindness. A great but seldom mentioned fear, is the fear to hear something outside of your comfort zone. When someone rudely tells you, “I’ve heard enough!” what they mean is that they’re scared of what you’re saying.

Being heard is healing. Compassionate conversation is comforting. You can help heal someone’s life, by listening with your heart. Just because you don’t want to hear it, doesn’t mean that something isn’t true.

Presumptive listening assumes that you already know what someone is going to say. If you read between the lines while you’re listening to someone, part of you isn’t listening. However, when you truly hear with compassion, there’s a connection made at a deep level, between you the other person.

It’s hard to listen without giving your opinion, but it’s very educational. Try it sometime.

Sometimes we humans hear what we want to hear, instead of what someone is saying. We think we were listening when we weren’t. Everybody has a story of struggle to tell, but many people have no one willing to hear their story. Will you?

If you won’t regularly listen to people who see things differently than you do, you’ll become addicted to your own opinions. If you won’t truly hear people, you will reject their opinion without even fully knowing what it is.

A narrow mind can hear words, but often their meaning can’t squeeze through. To hear a person’s words but fail to hear his heart (and/or the meaning of what he’s saying) is to ignore. It’s hard being ignored. It’s also hard to love people who say things you don’t want to hear and/or do things you don’t want them to. Love them anyway.

The belief that someone who disagrees with you must be misled, is misleading. Boldly confronting someone may stir up your adrenaline and satisfy your anger, but compassionately listing is more effective. Verbally threatening people is ineffective communication and almost always stirs up more hostility and sometimes even violence.

Kindness listens and sincerely tries to understand. Cruelty refuses to hear and gets angry, making no effort to understand. A listening ear is good, but a heart that is willing to humbly hear is better.

When someone tells you that your words don’t add up, it may be because they don’t fit in their comfortable equation.

The freedom of speech morphs into hostility, anger, and bullying, unless the speaker is also willing to hear and to understand. To use your freedom of speech to try to intimidate others into silence, is hypocrisy. Love that won’t listen and a heart that won’t hear, both are an oxymoron. Love cares about people enough to compassionately hear them.

When people are desperate to be heard, to brush them aside with platitudes, accusations, or anger, is cruel. When we choose to see people as a threat, our defensiveness makes us unable to hear their heart and to respond with kindness. However, if you listen to people with an open heart, you can find something to care about in their story.

If we’re unwilling to hear what we don’t want to hear, our opinions will always be based more on our desires than on truth. To reject someone’s opinion before you try to understand it, is prejudice. Instead of trying to make people say what you want to hear, sincerely listen to what they have to say.

It’s difficult to convince people of the love of Jesus, if Christians won’t hear their hurt and show them God’s compassion. I say, “This way.” You say, “That way.” Jesus says, “I am the Way.” Perhaps we both need to listen to and obey Him. I hear Jesus’ rivers of living water flowing within me. I feel their current carrying me with joy, peace, and love. It’s amazing!

I’ve learned that if I’ll listen to people with my heart wide open, learn a lot and experience amazing connections. Here are some examples: 1) I sold black history books door-to-door two summers. The things I heard changed my life and I’ve never been the same. 2) As a counselor in a drug and alcohol rehab, I listened individually to about 1,400 men. It was an amazing education. 3) I spent 3 months in India, briefly seeing only one other white person one time. What I heard filled me with love for Indians. 4) As a motivational speaker for 12 years, I would listen to my clients and learn as much as I could about their industry so that I could better connect with their employees or members. 5) As officers/pastors with The Salvation Army for 10 years, my wife and I didn’t preach, but let people listen to each other share. Listening with compassion is powerful!

If you would like to compassionately learn more about America’s racial situation, check out this link.

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Care, connection, & community are better than divisiveness

Even when minds disagree, open hearts find much unity and love. Closed hearts, however, succumb to anger and hostility. I’ve conversed with and listened to people of many different ethnicities. When I do, I’m always amazed at how similar we are.

It’s dangerous for politicians to revel in insulting and hateful rhetoric without regard for the consequences of their rambling. To support unkindness and bullying in politics is to approve of it.

The more people boo each other, the closer they get to a boom in their society that leaves everyone in pain. Wake up your heart. Let it care deeply for the people who disagree with you. Speak truth, but do it with kindness and respect. Open hearts will automatically connect with each other.

Some people act like their mission is to cause division. Too often, people who say their beliefs are good, are willing to say and do bad things to people who disagree with their beliefs. Differences between people become a problem when they’re mixed with slander and accusation.

Pride puffs up the mind. Love and openness tenderize the heart. The pride in people collides. The love in people embraces. The mind analyzes and divides. The heart cares and connects.

The number of things that all people share in common are massive. Although the number of things that divide us are minimal, we tend to focus on them. Most of the divisiveness in this world has been built on propaganda and illusion.

My people are the human race. The risen Jesus makes me love everybody. You can see your group as separate from other groups of people, or you can see your group as a small part of humanity.

When Christians divide over politics, it means that one side or the other (or both) has put politics ahead of the living Jesus. Christ-followers belong to the same Jesus. If we humbly follow and obey Him, there’s unity. If we don’t, divisiveness is rampant.

Instead of calling people working for racial justice “Marxists,” perhaps Christians should jump in and lead the way to healing. We need to boldly address the harsh, uncomfortable facts of history without accessing present-day blame, because people alive today had nothing to do with the events of 80 (or more) years ago. No person alive today created America’s racial divide, but anybody can be a bridge builder. Check out my book: Off the RACE Track.

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Freedom, mental health, & hope

Mental and emotional bondage restricts freedom. Freedom that doesn’t reach to your mind and your heart is incomplete. It’s good to celebrate freedom. It’s better to live free — without bondage to thoughts, feelings, or desires.

It’s hard to dance with joy when disappointment, anger, and unforgiveness hold your feet to the ground. People who faithfully self-destruct betray their own happiness. To abandon your conscience is like driving a car with no breaks–you can go fast, but you may not be able to stop. Often the worst tyranny is internal–cravings, compulsions, fear, depression, worry, anxiety, hate, pride, obsessions, guilt, etc.

To abandon hope is to go overboard, into a sea of despair. Instead, abandon thoughts that torment you. Take your mind away from them and don’t look back. Freedom isn’t just a proclamation. It’s a life lived beyond the bondage of tormenting feelings and thoughts.

The living Jesus offers people bondage-breaking freedom from tormenting feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Jesus taught that knowing the truth brings freedom. Fact checking with humility can set us free from deception.

Genuine love is liberating because it takes your mind off yourself and focuses it on someone else. The undercurrents of evil are continually active in the human heart, but freely flowing with the inner rivers of Jesus brings liberty. A joyful heart discovers daily delights.

I believe that when Christians meet, the absence of a prearranged agenda can allow for the presence of Jesus to lead us. However, the internal Jesus stirring your heart is far more powerful than external Christian meetings ever can be.

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History beyond the myths

Like the Pharisees, we can miss what God’s doing in our time, because of our religion. Looking beyond our myths can help us avoid their mistake.

Myths and statues have been used as cover-ups in an ongoing attempt to make historical injustice look honorable. It’s hard to abandon familiar myths that deform the past, especially when they shield us from uncomfortable realities. However, we can’t be honest about history unless we abandon myths, distortions, cover-ups, gloss-overs, and outright lies.

To disrespect other people while expecting them to respect you, is to live in a dark, fantasy world. Freedom of speech is a two-way street. It means that people who we disagree with also have the right to declare their views.

If we disrespect people’s humanity because of their belief or allegiance, we don’t fully value human life.

Race doesn’t have to be so puzzling.
Unscramble the simplicity
Of skin color

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Examining the Declaration of Independence

Investigating independence
With an honest eye,
Reveals that the beautiful document
That declares freedom from tyranny
And the self-evident truths
Of equality for all and inalienable rights,
Left about 700,000 human beings,
Amazing men, women, and children,
Completely out of the self-evident
And took away their inalienable rights,
By subjecting them to the life-long
Tyranny of human trafficking. 

For more light on American history, click here.

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Being mindful of God-words (they’re flowing thru your mind)

God-words are thoughts and/or impressions that come directly from God. Human consciousness is sprinkled with God-words. I believe that all people experience God-words, but that few people learn to recognize them and obey them. Most people ignore them.

Too many people want God’s presents instead of His presence. Noticing God-words will awe you with His presence.

God-words are supernatural. Although they rise up from within you, your mind and/or heart are not their source. Most people never learn to recognize the God-words that flow thru them, but falsely assume they are part of their own thoughts. However, to begin to notice and obey God-words that flow thru your mind and heart is to open yourself up to miraculous revelation and insight.

The Bible’s full of God-words that other people have written down for you. Reading it will help you hear what God’s saying to you. The writers of the Bible learned to be aware of God-words. They continually state that God-words came to them.

The Bible’s not the only source of God-words. They also flow thru your heart and mind. God-words include: Word of knowledge (information), word of wisdom (guidance), prophecy (instruction), and discernment (recognition). God is consistent. God-words will not violate His Holy Spirit as revealed in the Bible.

Most humans recognize convictions of righteousness, within their heart and mind, but call them “conscience” instead of God-words. Do you want to hear some words from God? Notice your thoughts and feelings and focus on the ones that call you to purity.

Your consciousness flows with words and impressions from 3 sources: 1) Yourself, 2) Evil spirits, and 3) God (God-words). What you need most is already flowing thru your consciousness. Notice and obey the miraculous God-words that are being sent to you.

Here is hope for those who notice and obey God-words: “He sent His word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions.” -Ps. 107:20. Trying to figure life out is a struggle, but God-words bring clarity and peace.

Jesus said this about God-words: “Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from Him comes to Me.” –John 6:45. Evil tries to counterfeit God-words, but the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and Christ-like people will help you avoid the counterfeit.

Don’t settle for second-hand God-words that come thru a preacher. Notice and obey the God-words being sent directly to you. God-words (flowing thru your mind and heart) are your greatest resource. Too ignore them is to miss out on the true meaning of life.

As you notice and surrender to God-words, they burn in your heart and lovingly propel you to joyously follow and obey the risen Jesus. Search for: The Joy Of Early Christianity book.

God-words are flowing
Right inside of you,
So close, so near, so dear,
If only you will notice and hear.

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Suspicious minds need a suspicion check

Suspicions aren’t facts. Suspicion check! Yours might be wrong. Perhaps the best suspicion is the suspicion that many of your suspicions are false.

Suspicion makes for a very uncomfortable atmosphere. In many ways, it hinders happiness.

Be suspicious of the evil in your own heart. It’s not your friend! Some people seem to be suspicious of everybody and everything, except the evil in their own heart.

Suspicion and heart-felt kindness can’t coexist. Suspicious people seldom show joy. Suspicion makes people feel like someone is guilty, even when there’s no proof.

When suspicion overrides trust, a relationship goes down the drain. Jumping to conclusions produces many unwarranted suspicions.

When you let suspicion set up shop in your heart, you’ll begin to find fault all around. Blamestorming releases much unhappiness. If you think shady thoughts and do dark things, you’ll quickly become suspicious of others

Suspicion will shut down your heart and suspend your ability to love. Suspicion will cause you to find the bad you’re looking for in other people, even if you make it up. Conspiracy theories are exalted suspicions, dramatized and packaged to produce maximum fear with minimum rationality.

Suspicions and superstitions both torment the lives of people who give themselves over to them. People who seem to enjoy casting suspicion on others, get upset when people are suspicious of them.

Too much suspicion and a society will crumble. To be suspicious of someone because of skin shade, is shady. Hate usually has shaky foundations; sometimes suspicion; sometimes false accusations; sometimes skin color; sometimes politics. A dynamic relationship with the living Jesus can override your suspicions, disarm your heart, and empower you to love everybody.

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Pride and prejudice against humility

Pride brushes aside other people’s opinions. Humility tries to understand them.

Humility is underrated. Pride is over blown.

Proud people blame other people. Humble people accept responsibility for the consequences of their words and behaviors.

Pride can get you stuck. If you’re unwilling to think outside your opinions, feelings, and desires, you’re stuck.

The Bible says that if we turn from our “wicked ways,” God will heal our land, but how can we turn from them if we don’t think we have any?

To pray isn’t just words that you say. It’s also being humble enough to hear what God says and to obey Him.

Few people define Christianity as “exhilarating,” but I do! There’s nothing like hanging out with the living Jesus! The living Jesus daily infuses me with peace, joy, purpose, and hope.

Pride produces unhappiness. Unhappiness isn’t Christian. Joy is! “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” -Jesus

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Is church like a parked bus?

Too often, church is like a parked bus. You get on and take a seat. An hour later, you get off at the same place you got on.

Rather than the celebration of the living Jesus, church has too often felt to me like the maintenance of methodical monotony. Going to church isn’t empowering people to love their enemies. Hostile church goers show more is needed — the living Jesus!

I find sermon hearing to be like trying to reach the moon on a step ladder, but the risen Jesus rockets me into God’s presence. Church has failed to demonstrate that biblical Christianity produces “joy unspeakable & full of glory” and leads to continual rejoicing.

The living Jesus wants to heal your hostility toward God and toward people. Hostile people see hostility all around them and are ready to lash out in a moment, but Christ-filled people spread kindness everywhere. Retaliation amplifies hostility, but continual kindness gradually melts it, like sunlight melting ice.

Hostile people are easily offended. Their disdain for others keeps them snared in various degrees of misery.

It’s pure joy when I’m “in the Spirit” and sense the presence of the living Jesus soaring within and around me. I love to sing directly to the risen Jesus (both in English and in tongues). When I do an amazing ecstasy fills my mind and heart.

Experiment with your emotional and mental states, and you will discover that you can improve them by changing your thoughts and behaviors to align with the living Jesus and with the Bible. Moment by moment, thoughts are creating your attitude and your emotions. Consistently let the risen Jesus give you better thoughts and then you’ll feel better.

Learn how to get beyond “parked bus” Christianity. Search for: The Joy Of Early Christianity book.

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People with needy egos vilify others

To try to make themselves look and feel important, insecure people will sometimes vilify other people. A needy ego tends to vilify anyone or anything that it sees as a hinderance.

A mature leader takes responsibility. An immature one engages in “blamestorming”–accusing and vilifying other people. It’s best not to glorify someone who vilifies others, because if you do, some of his hatred will stick in your heart. After all, there’s nothing “great” about berating and denigrating people.

You can’t change people by vilifying them, but you can by touching their heart with kindness, humility, and love. However, When demeaning attitudes are bolstered in society, something will eventually burst. Be careful. Confidence can easily expand into arrogance and before we know it, we’re looking down on others.

Here’s an example of how vilification was used in American history: Attempting to justify slavery and Jim Crow, blacks were vilified for centuries. That demeaning propaganda hasn’t been fully overcome.

If we vilify people who disagree with us, we lay aside Christian love and will soon be dominated by hostility and self-righteousness. Anybody can vilify people, but it takes courage and faith to love and be kind to people who disagree with you. The Bible tells me to, “Consider others better than yourself,” not to demean any other individual or group.

To say that people who disagree with you are evil, is to overlook the evil in your own heart and mind. If we lose sight of the evil in our own heart, we can falsely assume we are better than others. (However, the Bible says: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” God’s forgiveness will refurbish and renew your broken life, if you ask for and humbly receive it.)

Instead of demeaning people, Christians are called to be friends in “low places” and to demonstrate Jesus’ spiritual “oasis.” However, before we can be fully aware of the living Jesus, we have to look beyond our own feelings, desires, and opinions.

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