Tag Archive: encouragement

the other day i saw this cartoon that someone had posted on facebook that was pretty funny but involved hitler in a way that i knew would be offensive to a lot of jewish people. so i immediately wrote the girl who had posted it an email [more a friend of a friend than a direct friend] and just before i hit the send key i stopped for a moment, reread what i had written and changed it before sending it…

instead of ‘hey friend, you posted a cartoon that is going to hurt people’ or something like that, i started with some relationship [‘hey friend, long time no chat, how are you doing? what you been up to?’] and then i identified with the cartoon and why she had posted it [i find the cartoon really funny but at the same time i think it may be offensive to some people] and then finished off with more relationship and encouragement [‘continue to rock on – you often send along good twitter fun vibes… much love’]

she responded with:


You’re 100% right. Sometimes I don’t think… There’s a fine line between dark humour and plain darkness. I actually had a funny feeling after logging off and needed to come back on FB to delete it. Then I saw your message. Thanks for the mail, thanks for calling me out and gently pointing it out, I really appreciate it.

You rock on too.”]

and i realised i got that one right… and as a bonus victory, later in the week i decided to keep a certain description [of a friend who wrote for my marriage blog series] out of my intro [that she was someone who had always said she’d never be married] because i thought hey, maybe she wouldn’t want me to share that about her publically [she wrote back saying i totally didn’t need to edit it out, but i still think making sure was the right move when there was any kind of doubt]

so yay for double victories… but boo for the knowledge that there have been many [and probably many, many, i am quite old] times when i have not gotten it right.

and ‘but i meant well’ is not good enough for people i hurt by not being as gentle in my calling out as i was with this person…

Truth is important, but Truth-in-Love should be non-negotiable, as a Jesus follower at the very least. And i think that looking back, there have been times where I have shared Truth and possibly even meant Love but not conveyed it well at all. I have hurt people by being too quick to rush to Truth [or my version of it] and too slow to honour Relationship and for this i am deeply sorry. i don’t even know if i can pull a Zacchaeus and go back and find all the people i have wronged and make things right [and i imagine most of them will not be reading what i write here] just because i don’t have a comprehensive list of who they are. what i can do is learn from the two victories of this week and ensure that i follow a more Truth-in-Love stance as my go-to response as the norm.

however, having said all that, let me finish by saying these two things which make it incredibly more complicated and complex:

[1] there is not enough Truth-in-Love in the church! there is something we mistake as love which is usually born out of a fear of confrontation in any form and so we would rather let our close friends sink in their sin than call them on it, gently in love, and help them become better, stronger people… [Proverbs 27.6 ‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.’] Close friends are the ones more likely to be listened to and often i have felt forced to intervene because none of the people who should have been Truthing-in-Love were being good friends… we need to step up more into this.

and [2] there are times [and these must be so carefully discerned] where the person receiving the correction will not feel loved and that doesn’t mean Love has not happened – and there are times when the rebuke must be strong and times when it must be public… the trick is just figuring out the difference and i imagine the Holy Spirit is key in that – but Jesus publically takes down the pharisees and other leaders on occasion, and paul publically rebukes peter at one time [i believe that public sin often requires public dealing with it – very different to the matthew 18 ‘if your brother sins against you’ way of dealing with things, because the sin has affected so many more people and for their growth they need to be aware of how it was dealt with and that it was dealt with]… i was recently unfriended on facebook for doing this to someone and looking back i still think i did the right thing, but i am not completely convinced i did it in the most loving way, the jury is still out on that one although i did spend a lot of time trying to mend the relationship after that.

so we need to be being good friends to those around us and when someone who calls themselves a Jesus follower displays some behaviour or posts something on a social network that is strongly against the message of following Jesus, we need to have the guts to confront them. but we need to speak Truth-in-Love and always make sure that we have an abundance of Love. we need to [and by ‘we’ i mean ‘i’ and i imagine my wife is going to hurt herself nodding to this one] take longer to respond and be very sure of the Love and manner of response before we send it. we need to make sure we are as vocal and more public in applauding when people get it right…

hopefully that is one mistake i can choose to never make again.

i like feel-good stories, because they make me feel good. Hence the name. In a world that dramatises and is so quick to share negative stories and attrocities, i think we need a lot more feel-good news reporting and so i want to take more opportunities to highlight them on my blog when i see them…

this is clearly going to be a movie in the making but it seems like a case of someone who really gets what this life and community thing is all about – read, smile, share…

click here for full story

i send out a weekly email message called thort for the week aimed at challenging and encouraging Christ-followers to really live out what we say we believe – i thort i’d share this week’s with my blog [if you would like to receive the weekly messages simply email brettfish@hotmail.com with the email address you would like it sent to and a ‘please add me’ subject line] – trust you enjoy…

I was sent this psalm during this week of listening to God and it really encouraged me and trust it will do the same for you – take time to really read it though, don’t rush through:

Psalm 77

‘I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
At night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.

I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:

“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will He never show His favour again?
Has His unfailing love vanished forever?
Has His promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has He in anger withheld His compassion?”

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the Most High.”
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.
I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy.
What God is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
You display Your power among the peoples.
With Your mighty arm You redeemed Your people,
The descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

The waters saw You, O God
The waters saw You and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
The skies resounded with thunder;
Your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world;
The earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.

You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.’

Yeah, that Psalm spoke really strongly to me, but especially the verse that Doug and Janet who sent it to me highlighted – we probably all know that story of the footprints on the beach and the question of ‘why God, when it was hardest, was there only one set of footprints?’ and God responds with, ‘during the times of difficulty i was carrying you.’ And yet this seems to be almost the opposite. Or maybe the same in a different way, i don’t know.

Verse 19:

Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.

This is really just an encouragement to continue to trust in God and the faithfulness of Him, even in those moments when His footprints can’t be seen – when it looks like He has abandoned you, when there is no voice or answer coming to your questions or prayers. His path continues to be there. His way stands firm. Even when there is no visual evidence of His footprints.

God is here. He is involved. He does care. He does have a plan. Even when it is not as evident as we would like, all that stuff is still True.

So be encouraged
As i am.

God bless you as you bless others
Love brett anderson

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