Tag Archive: trust


i am not a big fan of April Fool’s Day. i know, i know, shoot me down.

And i’m not sure i can say what i want to say here without being labelled judgmental, so go ahead if you need to.

clint

But it was brought to light to me why i am such a big fan of not being a fan of April Fool’s Day when i read my friend James’ description of it as ‘Happy International Being Deceived Day’ or something like that.

i mean there is the trick side to it right? i am typing this with blue fingers because someone in my house (and  won’t mention Aaron’s name) stuck blue food coloring in the tap somehow and i found that pretty funny. And i believe there is a line as to what is okay and what is not in terms of ‘being tricked’ and i have a fair number of friend who i love dearly who have a completely different idea of where that line might be. And that’s okay.

But then there is the deception side of it, which is really just the pretty word for lying, right?

blue

PLEASE KEEP YOUR FAKE BABY CHILD TO YOURSELF

We are pregnant. Ha ha no we’re not. We just deceived you. That moment of happiness and celebration you shared with me, all just a joke. Ha ha you fell for it.

Yes, i did. Well done you. You successfully deceived me.

Ah, there you go with the judging. And I’m pretty much judging you for judging me, so if one of us doesn’t pull out of this soon somebody is going to start disappearing from their family photo ‘Back to the Future’ style if you don’t know what i mean (because you’re under 33 or something).

The pregnant one is a specific area of pain for me. And i saw it when I saw just who was liking the similar statement i made on the book of faces. Some friends of mine who have really been struggling to have a baby for a number of years. For some reason they didn’t find people pretending to be pregnant all that humorous.

But beyond that, for me honesty is one of the most important things there is. It’s something i place a high value on. And so well done on deceiving me, but you also broke trust with me. And that is a difficult one to earn back. Not because i’m going to hold a grudge and choose not to forgive you for April Fooling me. But because you broke trust. It’s broken. Broken things take some time to be put back together.

SORRY FOR YOU ME!

i got taken by one person on Facebook who posted an achievement or happening in their life that seemed legit and so i wrote a short message of celebration. A minute later someone who knew them better commented on how it must have been a joke because they would never do this thing. And i quickly snuck back in and deleted my comment. i was embarrassed. Wait a second? i was embarrassed for celebrating someone? For getting excited about their joy? Such a small insignificant moment of my day and yet it felt pretty huge.

my friend Steve Heineman summed it up nicely in his very clever status: ‘Man, I can’t wait until April Fools Day is over so we can announce some huge news…’

cos that’s it really, hey? you can’t trust anything today. any announcement has to be treated with caution, any news has to be really dissected to see if it is in fact real.

WE HAVE CREATED A WHOLE DAY WHEN WE CANNOT TRUST EACH OTHER

Well, that feels like a win. And i’m sure it does to a lot of you. And good for you. But for me it feels like we’ve lost something and so i look forward to tomorrow when everything is right with the world again. Well, this thing at least… Happy International Day of deception everybody!

trust

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txSo a bunch of us are nearing the end of an experiment of avoiding the rush, which you can read more about here, and i am going to share some of my experiences and hope others will do the same in the next day or two…

…but in the meantime our ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ carries on and this week we are focusing on Gratitude and Trust.

And one of the pieces of homework is a Log of Gratitude and once again i would love to find at least nine other people who will commit to doing this with me for the next ten days, so, if you are one of them, please leave your name in the comments below…

‘KEEP A DAILY GRATITUDE LOG

The practice of gratitude helps us recognise how we have been lavished and loved. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” [Psalm 106.1]

Living gratefully is an important discipline because it affirms what is evidentially true – that we are cared for by an abundant Provider who delights to give us many good things. This week keep a daily gratitude log. At the beginning or end of each day write down five things you are thankful for. Try not to repeat. If you write each item in sentence form, your list will begin to take the shape of a poem. For example:

I am grateful for…

the taste of coffee in the morning

how sunlight fills a room with warmth

the gentleness of a kiss on the cheek

the power I feel in my legs when I run

Your list could be a random collection of things that move you, or you might pick a theme for each day: food, people, nature. Or you might want to spend some extra time outside looking and listening for signs of God’s abundance. At the end of the week read your poetic list to a friend or small group. ‘

[from ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ by Mark Scandrette]

So there it is, and if you’re feeling particularly brave and sharey then i will invite you to share your ten day’s worth of Gratitude with us in the follow-up blog.

Anyone up for this? 

[For Feedback from my Week of Gratitude, click here]

[this is where this series started if you are needing to catchup to part i]

so part two of this focus on rape/violence towards women related to this interaction i had with a certain hashtag on the Twitter:

‘it revolved around the hash tag #SafetyTipsForLadies which someone that i followed tweeted and so i went to the link and read a bunch of them and was horrified by the way they seemed to be dealing with rape and violence to women in such a light-hearted and flippant manner… and so i commented on that…’

with the examples:

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb [who created the hashtag and got the ball rolling]
If you hide your forearms in your sleeves, the rapist will mistake you for a T-Rex and carry on his way #safetytipsforladies

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb
Do you have sensual long legs? Many rapists like sensual long legs. Consider chopping them off at the knees. #safetytipsforladies

Quirkythrope @jailawrites
If you’re raped, say “I’m a good girl!” Since “good girls” never get raped, the rapist will vanish in a puff of logic #safetytipsforladies

Let me hear you

so i shared my response to that and then peoples’ response to my response, but then we got some amazing commentary going in the comments section of the blog which i wanted to share and while there were a bunch of helpful comments i am going to specifically share the back and forth conversation i had with a woman called Claudine who i am most grateful for and to:

Claudine: First of all, I totally understand where you are coming from. Rape is not funny, and jokes about rape are offensive. Let’s agree on that.
What the women here are making fun of is NOT rape. The punch line to all of those safety-tips-for-ladies jokes is that they don’t work. Of course they don’t work. “100% of rapes occur in places or locations, so don’t be anywhere.” Is not a joke about the horror of rape, it’s a joke about the way women are told to protect themselves from rape— as if it’s our duty and responsibility to follow idiotic, impossible advice so that we aren’t raped. We are making fun of a culture that tells women “Don’t go out late at night, don’t park underground, hold your keys like this,” to protect ourselves. We’re making fun of the people who say “Don’t walk through dark alleys, don’t get drunk, watch your drink at bars” because we already knew that advice, we followed it as best we could, we held our keys like weapons and carried pepper spray and then we were raped anyway. We didn’t walk in dark alleys and were raped in our own living rooms. We didn’t get drunk and we were beaten and threatened and raped. We checked the back seat of our car and were raped by the “friend” sitting in the front. We didn’t give rides to hitchhikers and didn’t stay out past ten and didn’t let strangers near us, we didn’t accept drinks from people we didn’t trust… And we still got raped.

The joke isn’t making light of rape, it’s not trying to say that rape itself is funny. What we, women, are saying with this hashtag is that after a lifetime of being told how to “protect ourselves” we finally realized that it was never our responsibility. The only person who can stop rape is the person who makes the decision to not be a rapist.

So if you don’t think the hashtag is funny, that’s okay. You are allowed to be uncomfortable with the topic of rape. Hell, I personally would rather people be uncomfortable than not. There are many people, women included, who don’t find it funny. Just keep in mind we aren’t mocking rape survivors, we’re not making fun of rape. We are making fun of people who think its a woman’s responsibility to protect herself when it really, really isn’t.
It’s every person’s responsibility to decide not to be a rapist. Most women do this intrinsically, but it’s societies job to teach and educate men (and women) about consent, about what rape is and why it’s bad, and then ensure that they don’t become rapists.

We’re sick of being told it’s our fault.

Is this making light of a horrific situation? Maybe. Maybe humour is the only way women can point out flaws in society’s function and defense of rapist. Maybe when we stood up and said “this isn’t fair” we were told we were too “emotional” or “need to be more objective”. Perhaps the reason women are using humour is because every other medium of expression has been used to silence us or dismiss our concerns.

Do I think it is ever okay to joke about rape? Its not okay to make fun of the victims and survivors, but I feel no remorse mocking the rapists, the culture that supports them, and a society that blames me for being assaulted.

Would my response be different if you knew there was a rape victim in your direct audience? No. I am a rape survivor. Many of the women making these jokes are also survivors. I am not laughing at rape, and I feel that other survivors would be able to read the inherent “fuck you” to a society that tells us “you shouldn’t have been drunk” instead of telling a man (or group of men) not to rape me. “Don’t dress like a slut” is not advice to stop me from being raped. All that constant narrative is telling women that we should make sure he rapes the other girl– it’s not stopping rape, it’s just ensuring that the victims will be silenced, blamed, shamed for daring to want the freedom to accept a ride home from a coworker and not be sexually assaulted.

You are welcome to disagree. But if you want to make a difference, maybe you should research a little. There’s a reason that so many women were defensive or rude to you— we’re the ones who have been raped, and you, a male who hasn’t been assaulted, are telling us that its not okay for us to point out that it was never our fault.

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brettfish [that’s me!]: hey Claudine

firstly, thank you – i fully appreciate you taking so much time to respond and agree wholeheartedly with pretty much everything you’ve said excepting for the last line about me saying that it’s not okay to point out that it was never your fault – i am fully behind that part of this discussion and am not saying anything like that – part of my research into a topic i care greatly about was me posing the question which you and some others have excellently answered and so you are really adding my my knowledge and understanding and again i thank you for that…

it is completely not cool how this thing has been turned on it’s head and how to large extents the victim has become the accused and i am really sorry for that – hopefully that is something we can work on getting better at…

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Claudine: I apologise if my final comment seemed accusatory, that was not my intention. From your post, it was my understanding that you are extremely anti-rape and anti-rape culture. I was making an attempt to explain the sudden backlash when you tried to voice your concerns.

As women, we are constantly being told to protect ourselves. This isn’t just something we are warned about after puberty, it is a constant presence in the life of every woman no matter what age she is in. When we were born, our collective fathers began dreading the day our bodies would begin to develop, and that fear permeates every facet of our existence. We are taught to fear strangers, to fear people in power, to fear being molested by our male teachers, coaches, doctors. We were taught to find a woman with children if we are lost, because men might be “bad”. Its a culture we were raised in, knowing we are weak and vulnerable and that every man is a potential rapist. The only think standing between us and rape is for him– this potential rapist — to choose not to.

I am saying this because women, especially women who are feminists, are always being told what to do. Don’t wear short skirts, don’t wear tight clothes, don’t walk late at night— don’t make a scene don’t say no don’t cause a fuss. We are being ordered around not only by men but also by women who don’t see what the patriarchal structure is doing to us, and all of that is hurting us.

Do I think you are anti-feminist? No. But in order to see why women might be angry at you, look at both sides.

If you don’t find the tweets humourous, that’s a product of your own upbringing, a mere footnote in the complex array of ideas and values that make up your sense of humour. If it’s not funny, don’t laugh. If it makes you uncomfortable, speak up.

But look at the other side:
Women are joking. They’re making fun of rape culture. They’re saying “the advice you gave me is useless. It won’t stop rape. All it does is blame the victim.” They are pointing out that it is NEVER a victim’s fault that she was raped. Was it because she was wearing a skirt? Was it because she befriended the wrong person? No, it happened because the rapist was a rapist.

So no you don’t have to find it funny, but you also have no right to tell us to stop. If it makes you uncomfortable, good. It SHOULD make you uncomfortable. We WANT to make people, especially men, especially people who think rape is bad, feel uncomfortable. Because those people are the ones who help perpetuate rape culture in their ignorance. People who say “Don’t walk alone late at night” are accepting that rape is the status quo, that rape is inevitable, that there is nothing more to do than accept it. That is wrong. Rape is NOT the status quo. Most men are NOT rapists. But when people make an attempt to silence or shame survivors, that propagates rape culture and makes it that much more difficult to cure.

If you don’t find the joke funny, good. Why don’t you find it funny? Is it because the advice is difficult or impossible to follow? Is it because the advice is laughable it its obvious inability to stop rape, is it because half of the jokes infer that the only way to protect yourself from rape is to die first?

All the advice women get is like that. It’s not funny because that is what defines rape culture. And if rape culture isn’t funny to you, start fighting it.

If you tell women “don’t make jokes about rape culture”, you’re telling them not to make fun of a society that sympathises with rapists. You’re telling them that they, their bodies, and their safety doesn’t matter. And for some reason I feel like that’s not what you meant at all.

What you meant was, “Don’t make fun of the victims.” And you’re right! We should never make fun of a victim or survivor, or belittle what they’ve been through.

I don’t think that means we can’t talk or joke about difficult topics. We shouldn’t mock or shame victims because we SHOULD be mocking and shaming rapists, we SHOULD be blaming rapists and their sympathizers, it should be impossible to live with the shame of knowing that you’ve raped someone. We should be rejecting them from society, refusing to talk to them or house them or feed them. Rape is a serious crime that ruins lives.
We should be mocking rape culture, because the idea that men can’t control themselves around attractive women is ridiculous. The idea that a short skirt is an invitation to be brutalized is stupid. The idea that women are somehow responsible for whether or not they are raped and murdered is ludicrous.
So no, we shouldn’t joke about “rape”. But that is something people say when what they really mean is “Don’t talk about rape” “Don’t show me the flaws in our society” and “Don’t tell me I’m wrong.”

Don’t joke about VICTIMS. Don’t use the word “rape” when you mean “lost a basketball game”, don’t threaten women with rape, don’t tell someone they deserve to be raped, don’t act like the act of raping another human being is funny.

But society needs to realize that rape culture is a problem. Maybe we can start by standing up to those who try to blame the victim. But it is very important that we realize that the only way to prevent rape is by teaching rapists not to rape.

Not by wearing more/different clothes or only travelling at certain times of day with a can of pepper spray or having a friend with me. Those things don’t stop rape from happening. Those things just make it okay for rapists to say “she was asking for it” and “what did she expect? She shouldn’t have been drunk.”

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brettfish: Claudine, you make a WHOLE lot of sense – i don’t agree with everything you say [but i imagine that’s okay] but i really do agree with almost all of it – i like how you have defined things carefully and made a lot more sense of it showing where the joke is aimed and so on and i cheer loudly at a lot of your paragraphs [and appreciating the time you spent cos i imagine you do ‘get’ quite a lot of my heartand that i really am being genuine here and thankx for that!] – i definitely am not in the camp saying we should not talk about rape [if you saw the first post of which this was a part ii you will see i am calling people towards speaking about it and acting…] or ‘don’t show me the flaws in our society’ [too glaring! i’d have to dig my head DEEP in the sand to be able to do that] and ‘don’t tell me i’m wrong’ cos i imagine there are some areas where i’m wrong [hopefully not all of them – i do a lot of work with young people, specifically Christian young people or people in schools an try and create a lot of space for people to share openly about the kind of stuff they have gone through in life and we have seen some amazing moments of young women being able to name stuff for the first time simply because we gave it a space and being able to have them share their story with another women and start on the journey to healing]

your ‘Don’t joke about VICTIMS. Don’t use the word “rape” when you mean “lost a basketball game”, don’t threaten women with rape, don’t tell someone they deserve to be raped, don’t act like the act of raping another human being is funny.’ paragraph was one of the cheering ones – i get all up in peoples faces when they talk about being facebook status raped or in a game or by an exam and i guess this Twitter ‘rantage’ was me seeing it as a similar thing to some extent so hopefully you can see my good intention in taking something on that felt wrong and felt like it was potentially victimising rape victims [even if i may have been wrong on the specifics]

i am not saying the tweets are not funny in terms of in and of themself [i may have implied that but it’s not what i mean] – some of them are really funny and really clever but it was more questioning should we be doing this with the subject of rape and you’ve spoken quite a lot into that…

so yes, thanks again, and for trying to explain some of the reactions i have been getting – i would say those are a pity because my heart is right [or trying to be] and by engaging with me you have helped educate me and have another ally [altho i would say i was already one] whereas the people that jumped down my throat and got all belligerent were more likely to piss me off and have me less interested to be involved [but fortunately i have thick skin] and i understand i think where that comes too – from years of having the negative messages and the blame and so on, so i do get it but still hope that people who are wanting to learn and grow will come across someone more like you who will give them the benefit of the doubt and a chance to learn and grow and join in to help where it is possible…

so thank you once again. i hope people will benefit from following our conversation and engagement on here…

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Claudine: It seems to me that you’re making an effort, especially to understand where women are coming from on this issue. That, to me, means that it’s worth my time to explain my point of view.

One of the reasons that women were so quick to lash out in response is that 95% of the time, the men who want to respond to us are NOT trying to understand rape culture. They are NOT willing to see the other side of the argument. The vast majority of the time, if a man disagrees with a woman on a feminist issue, they aren’t willing to look at things from the other person’s perspective. As women and feminists, we are used to being silence. We’re used to being told to ‘get back in the kitchen’ and ‘go make me a sandwich’ and all sorts of insensitive idiotic things. Obviously, I don’t claim to know the mind of every woman who responded to you on twitter, but do try to keep this in mind. None of these women got up in the morning and decided to be mean to you– I think more likely, they saw one of your tweets and (while I’m sure you meant to be engaging in a polite discourse, or asking for an explanation) they perceived it as ONE MORE in a line of thousands of men who have told them to shut up and stop complaining. You may not have been the problem, but your tweets — criticism, no matter how well intentioned — is perceived as an attack.

The truth is, if you’re male, you can’t understand what it is to be female in a world like ours. You can’t imagine that any more than you could turn back time, it’s impossible. The life you lived is in no way similar to the lives lived of women. Maybe on the surface your life has the same milestones, but when it comes down to it, women are treated differently than men. Women are treated as less than men. And if we speak up or complain about it, we’re told that we’re making a big deal out of nothing, that we’re overly sensitive, we need to lighten up and get a sense of humour– regardless of what we do, we’re criticised for it. And if and when you join a feminist discourse, you need to realize that as a man, your point of view is skewed. You have never lived as a woman, you have never been raised as a woman, you have never dealt with ‘women’s issues’ whatever they may be. And that means that you need to stop talking and start listening (which you have done admirably well, I would like to point out.)

So, why am I saying this? Not because I want you to stop talking, but because I think that one of the best things a man can do to help stop rape culture is to talk to other men. You can try to explain what I’ve said. You can, hopefully, make a difference. I don’t know what I’ve said that you disagree with (as I don’t think you specified), but I don’t need you to agree with me, I only need you to acknowledge that there are more points of view other than yours, and those views are valid.

Most importantly, you may want to think about how your words are perceived. It’s difficult really do accurately, but especially important when talking politics and feminism. It’s not only what you’re saying– because what you’re saying is “I want to help.” However, that isn’t always being received that way. Sometimes, when you say “I want to help,” what we are hearing is “Because you aren’t doing a good enough job yourself.”

Sometimes, you are saying “I want this bad thing to stop.”

And what women hear is “Now that I, a man, am here, I can save you from this problem. Because you aren’t strong enough to save yourself.”

We don’t want, or need, a saviour. If you truly are an ally to our cause, then we will welcome you with open arms– but you need to realize that being an ally means being one of the background, unimportant characters in a novel about other people’s success and triumph.

I hope that makes sense.

It has been a pleasure talking to you.

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brettfish: hey Claudine

the pleasure has been mine too, thank you so much – and please hear that when i say there are some things i disagree [or don’t fully agree] with you on, they are really the minority of what you have said – for the absolute most part i have agreed and you have spoken a lot of wisdom and given great insight and been very generous and gentle with me while unwrapping a lot of the bigger picture story and i do feel like i have heard most of what you have said. really helpful to hear “when you say this” it might be “heard as this” and just the general vibe of what the women in this conversation are used to hearing – i hope to point people to this blog post more for this interaction between us in the comments section than the actual blog and with your permission it might be more helpful to cut and paste this whole conversation as a separate blog [for those who don’t make it through this blog – what think you?]

i guess the one thing i would ask of you, in the way you have requested or presented it to me, is to take a moment to put yourself in my shoes [as the man] and hear the messages of “you’re the bad guy” “your voice doesn’t count” and “you will never understand any of this” – i do understand the context for it and it may fall in line with what you said about being prepared to be a small part in a bigger story which is not about you and i can definitely see that happening, but also hope you will hear a glimpse of what it is to be the guy in this situation who is wanting to understand and be of help and be someone who is looking out for his wife and sister and daughter, to be told in essence, “sorry, no room for you” – that is a hard one to swallow and maybe we can head towards a time and a place where men and women will be able to meet as different but equal and fight together against a thing which we jointly see as evil and broken and messed up… but in the meantime i will definitely try to listen more and swoop in less [i’m not a great swooper, but i do tend to like fixing so same problem i guess]

you have made so much sense and you have taken the time

and for that i am hugely thankful

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Claudine: If you want to copy/paste our interaction into your blog, feel free to do so with my blessing.

I hear where you’re coming from– It’s not easy to be told “you’re the bad guy” or “sorry, no room for you here” but it’s really not meant to be exlusionary. You’re wanted! You’re needed! But you’re needed as SUPPORT. That’s what being an ally is. And I know it may not seem like a heroic duty, but we aren’t saying “be silent, your opinion doesn’t matter!” what we REALLY want to say is “be quiet, so that the loudest voices are the survivors”.
In any fight for justice or equality, the people who need to be heard the MOST are the people whose voices have been silenced.

The good news is, if you’re not being oppressed, you have a good idea of what we’re striving for, and you have the drive to ensure that equality and basic human dignity is there for the women in your life (as well as everyone else who needs it). But don’t expect to be one of the loudest voices– instead, find people who need your support, and give it to them. Find out who needs support, what kind of support they need, and do your best to provide that.

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brettfish: that whole thought i can fully support… if that is what everyone is saying, i’m in… certainly not a stage i’d want to be center on. well written!

With this one we finish chapter four and with that the first quarter of the Gospel of Mark. In this passage we take a look at Jesus who has fallen fast asleep while everyone else seems to be panic’ing about the furious storm that is raging around them.

Take a watch as i speak about Mark 4 verse 35 to 41.

 Jesus sleeping through the storm

to see the next video which deals with Jesus freeing the man possessed by demons, click here.

ah, Psalm 46 – if you come for a visit to the Simple Way, chances are good you will be faced by it in some form or other, and particularly verse 10 [a great one to set to memory] which says:

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

So give yourself a minute now if you have time… even better if you have five to spare…

and be still…
and even stop, if you dare.

and know, that He is God.
Know!
That He is God.

Two amazing rules to live by:

[1] There is only one God
[2] It is not me!

So be still… and be reminded… that He is God…
that this is the story about Him [what? yes, this life thing is actually not the story about you]
and He has graciously and curiously invited you and me to be walk on players [with dialogue] in this tale of life and Love and beauty and depth and wonder…

so be still. and be reminded.
think back to that time, those times, when you absolutely with all your heart knew God to be true
remember that time when He spoke to you and you heard it clearly
remember that time when He intervened in your life
remember back to when you really had a strong sense of His presence – was it a time of worship? a camp moment? sitting in nature and just taking in the shouted message of a Creator that creation brings?

be strengthened by those memories [especially if now God is not feeling so real or close or present or involved]
let the strength of the times when He was, remind you to trust once again

to be still
and KNOW
that He is God

and He will be exalted.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

so, in light of that, join with me, in being still, and knowing that He. is. God.

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

1 Corinthians 13.7 says ‘It [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’

this Corinthians description of Love is a huge one and is one of the most quoted Christian passages at weddings and i really do love it – what stands out for me is that the Love described here is very different to what the world suggests in terms of feeling and passion and sex, but the Love mentioned here has largely to do with choice. the passage starts off with ‘Love is patient’ which is an easy one to critique because i seldom feel like being patient and Morgan Freedman’s God in Evan Almighty nails it when he is speaking to Evan’s wife Joan and says, “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?”

and so that follows through the whole list, but for me this last phrase has always held special meaning for me – it feels like a really powerful description of the positive description of what Love is and can be and feels like it builds this growing momentum as it hits you with the force of ‘It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’

the word ‘always’ is the key thing – it doesn’t suggest that this is something Love might choose to do on occasion – it commands that this is the D.N.A. of true Love – that it will ALWAYS protect and ALWAYS trust, ALWAYS hope and ALWAYS persevere! This is a definitive statement.

and so focusing on the ‘Trust’ aspect, the idea of a lighthouse on the rocks surrounded by raging waters came immediately to mind because that captures the heart of the ‘without wavering’ aspect of Love. Trust feel like an easy thing to give someone but it is an incredibly difficult thing to regain once it is lost.

so it is really essential that it stays firm. you can’t half Trust someone. for Trust to be real and effective it really is a case of flinging yourself out completely [with no support harness] and believing that the other person has you.

it also needs to be demonstrated this way – if i am constantly questioning and second guessing and checking motives, then my words and actions can quickly deny the Trust i say i have in someone…

as i seek to be someone who Trusts without Wavering, may my words and actions always stand me firm as someone who is trustworthy and worth believing in, in a way that makes it easy for people to let go and jump towards me with full knowledge that i will not let them fall.

how have you found this aspect of Love playing out in life?

to look at forgiving without punishing, go here.

Ephesians 4.15 says, ‘Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.’

Ah, i get it now! When i read ‘Share without pretending’ i had no idea what this was going to be about, but the verse link cleared it up. We are talking about speaking the truth in Love.

And i would add in Proverbs 27.6 for sure – ‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.’

Many people feel like Love is telling someone what they want to hear so that they feel good. Especially when it is the answer to question like ‘Do these jeans make me look fat?’ or ‘What do you think of my new hairstyle?’ [altho, to be honest, sometimes answering those questions ‘right’ are a matter of survival] but even with those, if you go for the self-preservation option, you might feel good about yourself for giving a favourable opinion, but if you are sending your special person out into the crowds looking ridiculous or with everyone else thinking, ‘my, she looks fat’, then it may not have been the most Loving response to give.

But those are very superficial examples. What about things that run deeper like behaviour or character issues?

I don’t know many people who enjoy conflict. Even when you are speaking the Truth in Love, in the moment you can leave feeling crappy and unloved. Later when the person has considered it, they may come back and thank you, but often it is a thankless role. But do it anyway!

Look at that verse, ‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.’ – later on, in Paul’s letter to Timothy, you read this: ‘For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’ [2 Timothy 4.3]

An enemy is someone who gives you a big thumbs up “Yes!” when they know full well that the answer they should be giving is a “No!” Someone who celebrates when you get drunk and hit on some girl, even though you have a girlfriend who is not with you. Someone who looks the other way with you when you tell them about the shady business deal you are contemplating. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss.

i have one friend [and only one, so don’t you try it] who used to be able to come up to me when i would hang out with him at a coffee shop and say, “Bud, you’re looking fat!” and i would dig it. well, not a lot, cos i know it would mean a lot of work of being careful what i ate and upping the exercise and so on, but we had such a strong relationship that he felt the freedom to be able to wound me [in Love] and i would receive it as an act of friendship. i would probably receive that word well from a lot of other people, but they would HAVE to be a lot more careful with their wording.

when a good friend says something or does something to wound you, you should be able to step back from the wounding and focus on the fact that you know the heart and character of this person and are secure in their Love and friendship and so why did they do that thing? i need to really hear what they were saying and honestly evaluate whether it is true or not. [because sometimes friends will get it wrong, i certainly have a lot… but if the wounding is done in Love and with the best of intentions and heart it becomes something that will quickly be healed]

this is about TRUST and ACCOUNTABILITY and INVITING PEOPLE TO SPEAK INTO YOUR LIFE and STRONG RELATIONSHIP. and it is such a powerful thing. when you know that you have friends who will risk themselves to speak Truth to you in Love [because they see your bigger picture character and life as more important than the immediate response you might have to it] then you have a powerful thing.

as i seek to be someone who speaks Truth to my friends in Love, i need to constantly be asking myself, ‘Am i willing to receive the same kind of treatment from others?’ and ‘Who are the people who i have invited to hold me accountable with their Love-filled woundings?’

What has been your experience in this area?

to look at enjoying without complaint, go here.

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