Peacemaking Books Archives

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    • It is my home and prayer that I can emulate the beautiful characters that these lovely ladies portrayed in their lives and never dissappoint.

  1. I had to read this book for an assignment I don’t know if I would’ve pikecd it otherwise, thinking I’m fine with how I resolve all my conflict, thank you very much. Ken really challenged me to proactively resolve conflict to show the power and love of Christ. It really is an amazing witness to fellow Christians and non-Christians to have a Christian proactively forgive and desire a peaceful result in a conflict.

  2. The described opportunity certainly reflects “other awareness” but for me its power is a reflection of much more on the part of the man who chose to “other engage” to serve her immediate need. I see a key word in the description of the man who engaged being “courage”. He had the courage to offer a true gift of presence in the midst of a space where many were present but unengaged. Certainly, there was a chance it would not be well received, but typically such doubts are more grounded in concern about the impact on us in reaching out to touch the pain with God’s love. I know – I have been there and hesitated.

    Once present, scripture tells us we have available what is needed. The passage that came to mind immediately when I read this was 2 Cor 1:3-4, but the man had no way of knowing what was grieving this woman or if he would be suited to the opportunity, yet this passage reminds us that God comforts us in all our affliction so that we may comfort those in any affliction. The simple “so that” grabs me and gives me a compelling reason to engage, if I am “God aware” enough to “engage” in trusting Him. Paul describes his source of courage in Phil. 1:20 – his unfailing hope that Christ would be glorified in him. The event described is a call to all of us to be God aware and engaged enough to be available to others that He may be glorified.

  3. I think this is my favorite post since you started this blog! My pride often gets in the way of me ever admitting that I did not communicate clearly enough, and then when someone else misinterprets me I am usually tempted to assume it’s THEIR fault for not trying to understand me better.

    I imagine both Reader #1 and Reader #2’s comments made you sick to your stomach, to know you’d been so misinterpreted. And instead of hiding from it, or only responding to the two of them, you wrote it out here so we could all learn from you (and you opened yourself vulnerably to us all- something I need more of in my life).

    Thanks Ken!

  4. Thank you for this providential post. My husband is a pastor of a church that just recently went through a very ugly split. The whole ugly process of gossip, slander, friends stabbing you in the back and then they started their own church with those that left. In the same community! It has been a hard year and half. I have gone thru much mourning and questioning why. Especially on the relational end between Christians! To put it mildly, I have put up a wall and been in a self protection mode. Even to the point of not wanting my husband to be in ministry any more. Honestly, I have lost my desire and passion for my local church. So, this post on curse or consecrate has prompted me to start a conversation with my husband on what this looks like practically for us as a family as we muddle thru God’s will and plan for our lives. Any helpful suggestions to add to our conversation?

  5. Our response to any given situation will always depend on the circumstances and challenges we face. With me it usually starts with a change of attitude: instead of resenting a difficult situation or just wishing it would go away, it means thinking, “OK, Lord, how can I use this situation for good?” If someone has wronged me, instead of cutting him off or gossiping about him, I can pray for him, go and take responsibility for my part of the problem, offer forgiveness, and even look for ways to bless that person (Rom. 12:17-21). I can see the situation as a pruning time, asking God to help me identify attitudes, expectations, and worldly desires he wants me to put aside. It can mean seeing that a painful challenge is actually an opportunity to set an example for my children on how to trust God, maintain a hopeful attitude, and keep working at something even when I don’t see immediate results. It can involve many other elements … it all depends on the situation and what we believe God is seeking to do through it. For more practical principles, see the “Relational Wisdom/Peacemaking and RW” section on this web site, as well as my book, The Peacemaker (especially chapter 12).

  6. When Russel Crowe kneels in front of his son, I can see my heavenly Father do the same thing day after day in front of me. Lord, thank you for Your love and Your grace!

  7. As I have arrived at middle age, I’ve found myself praying, “Lord, make me one of those sweet, funny little old ladies in the years to come.” Your post has given me tools to use in co-operation with my prayers.

  8. This post was so helpful to me. This video has been making the rounds and someone was sharing it with my husband at church this past week. It was good for a mutually sympathetic laugh. However, your post gave me pause to apply this lesson a woman at our church who might be described as “high maintenance.” This past weekend she was sitting right outside the door looking particularly distraught and stressed. To my greeting and inquiry, she replied, “I just can’t talk about it!” followed by a 15 min lament of the events from the past week, including an occasion where someone hurt her feelings with their words. This pattern is such a common occurrence with this person, I’ve grown somewhat hardened and even unsympathetic, even to the point of avoiding her on Sunday mornings. You have caused me to re-frame my perception and see the need she has for empathy and why she is resistant to any suggestions towards solving her many problems. Clearly, I need to reach her emotional needs before we can even begin to address potential solutions.

    • Excellent application, Dianne. It won’t be easy, and she may not respond as you wish. But if you don’t at least attempt this kind of approach, you’ll probably never reach her. Thanks for loving her enough to step into a position that is not comfortable but could serve her greatly.

  9. I would like to follow Jesus in the way that He related to people. He was focused on sharing the love of God, purposeful in building truth-centered relationships, and continuously created moments of eternal value.
    Not only would it be fulfilling to live in this kind of intentionality, but so enriching to know that you could share relational moments that really had lasting significance—just by expecting the wonder in us all.

    Marcia Gladwish, an artist missionary at The Creative Call, travels the world to teach people how to tell their stories of abuse and sorrow using a story rope or collaged painted paper. The art portrays the significance that words can’t always express. Together they also weave the story of God’s love within their timeline. Lives have been changed forever because someone was unafraid to be authentic and also bring Jesus into the center of their story. They bonded because of the shared connections; they learned to trust at the deepest levels; they became unified in fellowship and hope.

    Once a person has value to us, it isn’t hard to be compassionate in the time we take (like the Good Samaritan) or the love we share (like the prodigal son’s papa) or the urgency we feel (like the rich man who wanted desperately wanted to warn his family of eternity without God).

    • What a wonderful example of relational wisdom. The willingness to become deeply and painfully aware of another person’s suffering, and to engage them in such a way as to turn their painful past into a collage of God’s love and grace. May we all be willing to know people at this level.

  10. It is great to see this practical personality checklist to encourage winsome habits. If someone is naturally gifted to be that kind of wonderful treasure, what a blessing! If not, thankfully the Lord is faithful to reveal blind spots, areas of needed change, and enough conflict to remind us that relationships can be like mirror giving us a reflection of how others really see us. It is a gift to know that the plan is for us to grow and change.
    I’ve been thinking more about a zone of grace. In the middle of those tense conversations that turn into a heated debate, and everyone has forgotten all about humor and mild mannered conversation, I want to backstep into the calm that only Jesus can give. In grace, I want to be able to thank Him for the opportunity to learn, choose conciliatory and kind words, find pieces of the story that I can use to reconnect and rebuild bridges. I have to figure out a way for me—- not to do life as usual.
    When Martha and Mary had dinners with Jesus, Martha couldn’t shift gears. Her perspective stayed on task, but small and bound up with worldly issues. Yet Mary didn’t lose her perspective. She was fully in position to bend low and anoint Jesus with the expensive perfume. Whatever the daily stress, her eyes were still on Jesus. That made her truly winsome. That kept her in perfect Grace.

    • “Zone of grace.” I like that. May God grant us all such a place as he dwells in our hearts and fills us with a peace that overflows to others.

  11. Expectations! And her sister Assumptions. These two have gotten me in trouble on both sides of the relationship door. When someone assumes and even expects something of me and is not mindful of the impact it has on me, this whole burden of disrespect can unhinge our relationship. And the reverse is true too! When I assume someone will meet my expectations to only find that they have no intention of heading my way, then discouragement or even disillusionment sets in. Sometimes these sisters are in my home on a daily basis making a mess of all kinds of relationships. The closer I want my family to be, the more I have to throw them out the door so I can communicate better. I need to find all my expectations first in Him.

  12. I wish I could remember when I first discovered Victor Frankl’s book, A Man’s Search for Meaning. It was one of those books that interrupted my life in a profound way; it was a window into suffering and the resilience of what one can endure. I thought of the early Christian martyrs and the joy they felt for the privilege of suffering for Christ. These ideas were so new to me. They were stories of victims who understand a great refuge. I started thinking about my own suffering, so slight in comparison, but still needy of a refuge. Then there was this disturbing complication: perhaps I was partly to blame in a conflict. One is rarely completely innocent. Perhaps not culpable, but relationally unwise…..sitting in my heart refuge trying to figure out just how a conflict went down and replaying it ad infinitum. And those awkward moments when we’re in conflict with another believer who is spiritually in the same refuge? Regardless of the circumstance, the glory of God as our refuge is the overflowing presence of His nature: his goodness and his strength. No sin that drives us into that holy place can abide there. I love the way His refuge gives me far more than endurance, but the Embrace I long for.

  13. Sometimes I am totally lost in navigating a conflict—so many traps and quagmires. But these key principles in making an apology are mileposts of a conflict going nowhere. If I can detect them, I should be able to realize that a deeper heart issue or heart idol is involved. Otherwise it’s guaranteed that these confession killers confirm (A) there will be no change on your part, (B) I have diminished value in your eyes, and (C) our relationship is so dysfunctional that it might not exist at all. I don’t think either of us will recover from these unresolved conflicts. From this point on, it’s pretense. While I have little control over someone else, it is sobering to think that Jesus will hold me accountable if I am the confession killer. He sounded pretty serious when he said “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” (Matt 12:36) I definitely will need to back it up: (A) I must change, (B) I must hold you in the same high regard that Jesus does, (C) I need to make a commitment before the Lord that I will love you, in His name. Starting now.

  14. When there really is true confession and full forgiveness, I think that grace does flow……so counter to worldly expectations. I’ve also seen conflicts that become part of the fabric of someone’s life story—wrongs that still have consequences and relationships that remain in process. But the beauty of this kind of grace is that the raw wounds can be replaced by a compassionate bond or even new relational wisdom. If there are scars, then there is also the miracle of healing and that is the best part of any life story. Just like you’ve shared here, many can be blessed by small mercies that point so beautifully to the mercy of Christ.

  15. It is a little unnerving to read this great blog today, since at my house yesterday’s family conflict further proves this point. We didn’t start with the Gospel. We started with typical “he said-she said” and moved quickly into “I’m right-no, I’m right” to “my way, highway”. After the conflict was deepened and entrenched by our attempt at resolution (definitely force fields and laser lectures were involved), there was no easy way to get back to love and far less the Gospel and mutual prayer. Starting with the Gospel and our mutual love for Jesus, even the things that we are grateful for in Him, would have given us the foundation of relationship and wisdom to build on. Instead we started with dysfunction and ended with dysfunction. I learned a powerful lesson here.

  16. I am so blessed by God’s command to enter into this kind of calling: “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). I didn’t notice until today that this verse contains the word “abuse”; in other versions it is “mistreat” or “despitefully use you” or “hurt” or “accuse you falsely” or “defame you” or “falsely challenge you”. Clearly the Lord has seen all the ugly realities of conflict (victim and perpetrator) so He must have the opposite in mind by calling us specifically to this standard. Each step is purposeful. When I am abused, what evidence can my abuser see of the good I do him, the blessings I give him, and the prayers pounding heaven that only the Lord knows. Typically, there is a predictable flight or fight going on but no predictable strategy for abuser-care and sadly sometimes abuser-separation. It’s like trying to walk in a direction where the roadsigns keep changing. It’s exciting to keep working on this; the hope of genuine love through the power of the Holy Spirit is so worth it……and maybe why that enemy is in our life in the first place.

  17. It’s pretty sad to think how well we can perpetuate the sinful chaos that invaded such a perfect Garden of Eden. My family of origin, as wonderful as I think we are, and myself (as innocent as I might pretend) cultivates and nourishes that whole art of blaming. In fact, I would be one in Corlette’s counsel who would go through an entire phase of denial and defense and sputter before she could ever get me to fully process the part about responsibility for choices. The beauty of blaming is that you can be the “bad guy” and I can remain entitled to sit on a throne of my own making. So if relational wisdom wrenches me from blaming, it also kicks me off the throne……and that makes it possible to make things right first with God. Responsibility restores relationship. “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5) Having that fellowship restored with God makes me want to see not just one but all the ways I perpetuate a blaming attitude. I love the freedom Christ has given me to envision sight that isn’t clouded by logs or blaming.

  18. This is such an excellent short-list for family unity: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/building_relationships/sibling_rivalry/teaching_children_to_be_peacemakers.aspx and the whole audio interview is here (Part One) :http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID={656A82A7-F330-4F07-975B-64B78A3216D8} and (Part Two) http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID={62EAABF7-14D3-4E1B-9A8A-31669FD68644} It’s good to know that there is an easy email link to share these broadcasts with others.

  19. My wife has done this for years. She will ask a couple we are with; “How did you two meet?” That always has lead to some great conversations. Those of us who talk, have a hard time with this skill. I would rather talk than listen. Yet, listening is what really develops connection and relationships that lead to beneficial relationships. GENUINE!

  20. I have come to believe that expectations are my attempts to be God. I think tht is also why I get so angry. I act as the judge for people and circumstances. It blows my mind to think that I become God’s judge. That is so backwards. Instead of gratitude, I have attitude! Now I let God be the Lord and I enjoy being faithful in the journey He provides. The anger is gone and peace takes its place.

  21. I have always considered “Expectations” to be personally handcrafted Idols. They are my way of acting as god. When I form them, I then serve them, and they lead in a false anddestructuve direction. These amazing thoughts are like a whole chapter of a book. Thanks Ken for giving such blessed interpretation to the biblical truth of Judgement!

  22. Wow, what a great film to illustrate the results that come from following RW 101 principles. Give blame, get blame. Give fault, get fault. Reap what we sow! I love God’s Word! It really all stems from a desire to love others. If you .ove someone you will think about how you treat them and work at keeping the relationship vital. The Holy Spirit can act like the intercedent in this film short.

  23. I love it when you discover, through science, that God’s Word is spot on. Satan has sold us a pack of lies that bring harsh and difficult circumstances to the pursuit of relationships. Song of Solomon really expresses it well. It gives added meaning to the biblical phrase ” and he knew her and they became one flesh.” I know that in adoptive settings the bonding issue is extremely important. I wonder if the lack of noerochemicals are what causes lifelong difficulty in those settings? Can the Holy Spirit cause those nuerochemicals to be released in our salvation experience? This is a great area of thought for the physiology of spirituality.

  24. When I watched this clip, I was really moved and convicted about the natural desire I have to enjoy the sufferings of my enemies. Immediately my mind replayed my reactions to people who have hurt me and how I secretly enjoyed hearing that their lives were not going well. I am going to reach out to some of those people that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind. This is a powerful means of teaching and a powerful message.

  25. So helpful! I spent years missing the meaning of this in my relational life. It is classic male/female difference. Dr. Seuss had a story that illustrates this point.
    “Said Conrad Cornelious O’Donnel O’Dell My very young friend who is learning to spell the A is for ape the b is for bear the c is for camel the h is for hare the m is for mouse and the r is for rat. I know all of the twenty six letters like that through to z is for zebra I know them all well” said Conrad Cornelius O’Donnell O’Dell so now I know everything anyone knows from beginning to end from the start to the close because z is as far as the alphabet goes. Well he almost fell flat on his face on the floor when i picked up the chalk and do one letter more a letter he never had heard of before and I said “you can stop if you want with the Z because most people stop with the Z but not me. In the places I go there are things that I see that I never could spell if I stopped with the Z. I’m telling you this cuz you’re one of my friends my alphabet starts where your alphabet ends.”
    I used to only see what I am but now I see who others are. I used to only appreciate my kind, but now I appreciate who others are as well. When I started appreciating others’ perspectives and gifts, I became a much richer and fuller person. I have often thought that Corinthians 12 ff are pointing to this reality. I do not need the Lord to be who I am, I need the Lord for who I am not. The same applies to others in the Body of Christ!

    • I don’t know. I’ve never heard their names, but it’s possible we’re related. Please send any information you have on them. Thank you.

  26. The old hand gesture of the pointing finger. One finger at the person I am singling out, the other 3 pointing at me. I talk a lot about how not only do I judge others, but by doing so I justify my own actions making myself better than the person I am pointing out.

  27. Many times God uses this story to remind me that I need to show grace and pray for those in darkness. The results have glorified God and brought others into the light of His mercy, grace and salvation.

  28. Thank you so much for the tools you give us to enable our ministry. The power they carry I’m sure is because they are rooted in God’s Word. This time I’m referring to the READ and SERVE principles. I originally read over them lightly snd thought “Good idea, I’ll remember that.” Unfortunately, I don’t remember the specifics unless I memorize and it is not the ready tool it should be if I want to truly ‘Glorify God, serve others, and become more like Christ.’

    Thank you again, Ken, et al, for glorifying God, serving others, and becoming more like Christ. It’s a great journey Together, isn’t it!

  29. I’m the same way, Marsha. I encounter biblical concepts I want to build into my life, but if I don’t hang them on simple, practical “hooks,” I often forget about them or find it difficult to remember how to apply them. That’s why I love acrostics: simple tracks to run on. To give you a hand, I’m going to send you a one sheet summary of these principles you can keep in your Bible or purse for easy review.

  30. Ken, I really get inspired when I read your newsletters. You are gifted with the ability to communicate God’s principles in a way that touches your readers hearts. Les Miserables is such a beautiful picture of what Jesus has done for us. Thank you for the reminders on how to go and do likewise. Blessings, Debbie

    • Thank you, Debbie. This is also one of my favorite stories. It is such a powerful echo of the sacrifice God made of his Son (infinitely more precious than some candlesticks!) to buy us back from darkness and to bring us into the Kingdom of Light!

  31. I love this clip, it brings tears to my eyes. And I love your blog, it is always fresh and it reminds me of how I often fall short of wisdom in my relationships.

    But to the point of “just being nice”, I would still like to hear your thoughts on how to confront people in their sin, and how to break a relationship in a godly way. I realize your focus is on “peacemaking”, but there are times for confrontation, and even willingness to risk the loss of relationship, right? I believe you would say that peacemaking should not come at the expense of truth, and I would be helped by balancing examples where the hard choice is made to stand for truth and justice. Justice can be as difficult as mercy.

    Thanks for your great work, you are a blessing to God’s people. I signed on to your blog when I heard you speak at a conference in NC at the end of May.

    • Excellent insight, Gary. Reconciliations are wonderful but there are definitely times when confronting and pursuing justice, even when relationships are damaged, is the right course to follow. I’ve written quite a bit about that in my book, The Peacemaker, but it would be good for me to do some blogs on it as well. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  32. Thank you for this quick reference to RW360 principles. They are easy to remember and simple to use….which is great when emotions get confusing. I am printing out the two page summary sheet and plan to take it with me throughout the day to study and practice. I have a feeling I’ll be reprinting and sharing it often. So many great Bible verses to learn—RW360 is definitely rooted in the Word of God.

    • Thank you, Judy. RW is everywhere in Scripture! Our God is so incredibly relational and he’s given us clear teaching on how to be the same. Have a great loving him and those around you.

  33. I was in a group this week with parents still grieving over an adult child’s decision to lead a gay lifestyle. Despite the complexity of each story, I realized that one common decision had moved them past a stage of brokenness and fear to a more clear direction. They had even moved past public shame. This verse in Isaiah describes them perfectly. It may be that someone’s confession and faith doesn’t match our expectation or time frame, but gentleness still rules because that is the comfort of Christ.

    “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” [Philippians 2]

  34. Thank you for the RW Acrostics in Action. I copied them onto poster paper and hung them up to be easily viewed by our family. They have blessed us!

    Thank you,
    Annie

  35. Ken,

    Thanks for that post brother. It was painfully good. Too often I am not a compassionate shepherd even though one of the best experiences I have had in ministry was a teen pregnancy discipline situation handled very well. It was an impressive display of the Gospel and tremendously powerful for the young lady, the church at large, and all of our elders. A few years later, the young lady is a responsible mother and valuable servant in our church. Her son is a delight. God is good.

    Praying that your words encourage my fellow shepherds as much as they encouraged me today.

  36. I like the phrase “indulge your bitterness” to truly understand what I have done and continue to be tempted to do. Ken, I liked another phrase that you used, in another blog, to explain this- “indulging your emotions”. Those phrases have helped me to realize what I am doing. When I reason bitterness, resentment, grudges and judgement I am nursing, indulging and following my emotions instead of the Word of my Lord. Feeding my flesh is what I am doing. That simple word “indulging” has changed my whole perspective. I have always used the word ‘indulge” to understand fleshly issues but never to understand emotional or relational issues. Thanks for this new light in my journey!

    • Thank you, Amy. So many of God’s principles are amazingly simple and effective … if we have the courage to apply them.

  37. A few years ago, my family went through a catastrophic sorrow that my brother called “a slow train wreck.” We were helpless to change the circumstances; the road before us was going to end in a terrible loss. Physical suffering is often irreversible. But, praise God, emotional pain can be healed. Negative self-talk, bitter wounds, and unforgiveness will lead to that train wreck. But the kindness of God lets us know that we will “grieve” the Holy Spirit if we don’t trust Him in this. Somehow being sealed in the Holy Spirit makes a difference, too. We belong to a God with the power to reverse what seems destined to be a catastrophic end. Trusting Jesus changes every destiny. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

    • How true, Judy. No matter what the circumstances or how deep the hurt, we still have the ability, by God’s grace, to choose our response. As Viktor Frankl (a Holocaust survivor) wrote, “The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude.”

  38. I love your posts. Not only do you explain them with Bible verses that back them up, but you also give concrete ways to carry them out. Thank you!
    When I feel wronged, I tend to just shut down. There is no revenge or anything, I just cease to communicate.
    These are fantastic ways that we can do a 180!

    • Thank you, Steph. I’m glad you’re finding the posts to be of value. I too need to get down to the practical applications right away.

      One of the cool things about doing 180’s over and over is that God uses them to change our hearts so that eventually our feelings are leading us in the right direction to begin with. That’s when we know the image of Christ is being imprinted deeply into our souls.

    • Thanks, Vernelle. I look forward to training with you and seeing how God uses your gifts to build relationships in the church!

  39. Great blog, Ken. And I hope you are healing well. Since I walk through hospital doors almost every day (thankfully not often as a patient!), your reflections are particularly cogent. I find that especially the “little people” (non-surgeons) are often treated with little dignity and are especially appreciative of people who show a genuine interest in them as human beings who have their own lives, issues, and challenges. A great reminder of how to consciously, thoughtfully and even lovingly engage them! Ken, as always, you inspire me!!

    • Isn’t it great to know that there are no “little people” in God’s eyes. Each of us is precious in his sight. When we remember that we are more likely to treat everyone with love and respect.

  40. The most encouraging person I’ve met ? My first Christian mentor was a woman who embodied all of the SERVE principles. Because of the way Lois intentionally loved me, I began to think of myself in a new way, as a person who was created with value and worth. She didn’t realize it, I’m sure, but her kindness was profound to me. Her smile and interest in me was genuine; she helped me reconcile issues from the Lord’s perspective; she was proud of me and showered gracious compliments; she believed in my future; she planted encouraging ideas that we could share together. Lois was SERVE to me and it completely changed my life.

  41. What fresh air I breathe in when I read this blog. What an awesome reminder to be salt and light. What an awesome reminder to be ‘others aware’ and ‘others engaged’. We have so much power in our words and body language-power to both bless or to be destructive. Ken, I echo John, you inspire and bless me! God speed with your recovery!

    • Thank you, Christine. God is certainly hearing your prayers, as my recovery is going remarkably well. May He continue to give us many opportunities to engage others with the love of Christ!

  42. This story and your comments are definitely influencing the way I think about “…always be ready to give an account to whoever asks of the reason for the hope that is in me…” (I Pet 3:15) . Thank you for this encouraging week starter!

    • Thank you, Andrew. First Peter 3:15 is precisely on point, isn’t it? And what better way to be prepared than to have God’s Word filling our heart and mind!

  43. Hello Ken,

    I enjoyed your post this morning, especially reading Reagan’s speech to the students at Moscow State Univ.

    I met Reagan once when he visited us on the USS Constellation off the coast of Santa Barbara. After landing in his helicopter, Marine One, he went up to the ship’s bridge and we started our jet engines for a demonstration of aircraft carrier flight ops. After we landed, he asked to meet with the 20 or so pilots. This was not on the schedule. We hastily gathered on the flight deck, lined up shoulder to shoulder outside the ship’s island structure in the late morning sunshine. As he came down the line and shook hands I expected to meet an actor and politician who had spent his entire adult life in the public eye. This would be just another handshake of a million handshakes, this would be another “hello” out of a million hellos during campaigns across the state of CA and across the US; a photo-op for the next campaign.

    When he came to me I experienced something quite different. He shook my hand, looked me in the eye and paused for just a hearbeat. And in that pause I felt he was talking just to me, and his eyes and firm handshake communicated the sincerity of his brief, heartfelt expression of appreciation: “Thanks for our freedom.” The moment lasted all of three seconds, but it has stayed with me for 30 years.

    People ask me how I came to make the Navy a 26-year career. It’s not a question that is decided once, but rather it’s an ongoing deliberation, continually weighing all the pluses and minuses. And it’s a life of personal sacrifice with plenty of minuses. But was that three second meeting a contributor to the pluses outweighing the minuses year after year? Probably.

    May we all work to make similar connections to those we meet.

    Merry Christmas!

  44. Thank you Ken for all your hard work helping all of us incarnate Christ in this world.
    I read that you had a one sheet summary of the principles to keep handy for quick access and check-up. Would it be possible for you to send me a copy of it? Thank you.
    Blessings to you and your loved ones as you seek God this coming year.
    elisabeth

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Elisabeth. I’ll send the summary sheet to your email address shortly. May God enable you to teach RW to many of the people in your circle!

      Ken

    • Thank you, Andrew. I’m glad you found it to be of use. Let me know how it goes when you use these study questions!

  45. “I Am CHRIST’S!” Wow! Thank You, LORD! Help me to meditate on this throughout my day and bring back to my mind in times of discouragement!
    Thank you, Ken!!

  46. Took your advice and purchased Morning and Evening and am so glad I did. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your heart and ministry and pray God blesses both abundantly.

    • Thank you, Leslie. I’m glad you’re enjoying Morning and Evening. I’ve read it countless times and am still amazed at how new relevant it is as a I read through it again.

  47. This has been quite a thought provoking question. Esp. since my church has many “seasoned” congregants.
    Do we remember that we are ALL sinners, not just the people who haven’t met Jesus yet?

    • How true. I’ve often heard it said that churches find it easy to extend grace to the unsaved, especially if they have a terrible background. But we are not as good at extending grace to Christians who have stumbled. As you say, however, we all sin daily and are in daily need of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.

  48. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m diving in today! I’m deeply appreciative of the effort and care you’ve invested in this and very grateful to you for making them available without charge.

  49. Thank you so much for making this wonderful study available online and FREE!! I have emailed it to my small group and many church families.
    Thank you again and may God continue to bless your ministry!
    Hazel Garrett
    Louisville, MS

  50. I wanted to use the Cincerella Man clip in my counseling class, but can’t find it again. Can you direct me to it?

  51. Thanks Ken…powerful message and a great challenge for us to be present with one another and relational.

    In fact, I have to tell you my friend and I went to have lunch. She wanted to pay for my meal. I finally agreed. Later at the table I told her (since we had mutual friends I knew she’d find out and be mad if I didn’t tell her) that the next day was my birthday. She said, “Oh I wish I would have known I would have done something more special. You should have it posted on Facebook.” I said, “It is, but we aren’t friends.”

    We laughed so loud we probably made a scene. I told her that I don’t want to be her friend on Facebook if it meant we weren’t going to do face time anymore.

    Again, thanks for the encouragement to “look up.” Tweety

  52. Acceptance-Approval-Belonging. These are the things that drew me to Christ. As you say, these seem easier to give to new believers who are coming out of a world of sin and death. Giving the same graces to a believer who is failing is more difficult maybe because it points out our own failure. Only by getting my eyes off myself and onto others and God (SOG) can I hope to be of help to someone else.

    • Amen, Matt. We do seem to have so much grace for the unsaved yet so little for believers who continue to struggle with indwelling sin. May God give us the same kind of compassion that Jesus had for both groups.

  53. I cannot even begin to tell you how deeply I have been digging into this post; it is life changing and makes so much sense, I love how you break it down because as I’m reading I can play in my mind times I’ve allowed the emotions to override the reasoning and unfortunately the outcome. My favorite book is Dance with Anger as it helped me see anger is an emotion, a necessary emotion, one that when you apply R.E.A.D. can be effective tool. It is about layering back the heart and taking a stone cold look to see what is really going on. Anyway, I appreciate this more than you know, it comes at a time when I’m ready to receive it and work with it …. I am confident and hopeful that it will enable me to grow deeper in my relationship with Christ and with my loved ones. Thank you … very much!

    • Thank you for your encouraging feedback, Kim. I am so glad this post was of value to you. I too am in a major learning mode right now as God is teaching me more and more about how he designed us, wired us, and is pleased to help us grow in our ability to take every thought, emotion, word and action captive for Christ.

  54. Yes. Powerful scriptures evoking deep understanding. What a friend we have in Jesus,, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry, everything to God. Thank you Ken, for your empathy, and ability to express it so beautifully in your words and His.

  55. I can only begin to tell you the importance of what you are doing with Peacemaker and RW 360. I would like to send you a couple of things I have written that I think you might appreciate; that is the call on my life; apostolic and prophetic. The stuff you are teaching is right at the top of God’s priorities in these day for this Nation.

    • Thank you, Phil. Much more could be written, but I’m keeping pretty busy simply trying to put these five points to practice. The good news is you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

  56. I think I will take it one step at the time. Just step 1 is a handful: Time, ears, eyes, memory, imagination, and instincts.
    Thank you, Mr. Sande. I very much appreciated and enjoyed your presentation at Emmanuel’s Church Community Church in Escondido.

    • You are most welcome, Elvie. I agree about taking it one step at a time. The great thing is that each step builds on the others, and in time they all work together more and more naturally.

  57. This is so great … need to read more than once! I just had someone email me this link to Dr. Brene Brown describing the difference between empathy and sympathy and it tied in so nicely with this teaching I wanted to share it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw
    Love the ‘never start a sentence with *at least*’ … so true!! Thanks for all you do!

  58. So, so true! And why should this surprise me since it is a concept that is expressed repeatedly in Scripture? It is always a good reminder of the truth that I can only live as I should when I immerse myself in what God has to say about Himself and my need for Him.

  59. You are in my prayers …. what courage and what a legacy you are blazing for others. My life has changed significantly because of your ministry and I continue to look forward to future teachings as you are able. Take care and thank you for sharing this, it is a testament to your faith and God’s love.

    • Kim said exactly what I was thinking! I’m praising God for all that He is doing in and through you, Ken, and all that is to come.

    • Thank you for your concern and prayers, Kim. God has been exceedingly kind to us throughout this process, and we are confident that his many graces are just beginning to flow.

    • Thanks Brad. It sounds like you’ve been on a similar journey. I’m grateful that many people who have cut trail for me, not only with regard to this issue but so many areas of life.

  60. What an amazing perspective Ken! ALL that we have is from God. I never really considered how we unwittingly take pride in our health and, in fact, take it for granted regularly. Paul’s thorn in his side kept him reliant on God and you have made this thorn your strength. Prayers for you brother and that’s not just a trite phrase — as you mention, life is too short to focus on anything other than what blesses others or advances His kingdom. Thanks for such Godly insights in the midst of a tough journey.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, Rob. Yes, God is using this and a lot of other things to get at my pride. It is a far greater flow, with a far deadlier effect, then any physical cancer. I’m so grateful that Jesus has already won the victory over all of this.

  61. Ken,

    Thank you for sharing your heart as you do. We will be consistently lifting you up to the Lord for healing. We thank God for allowing us to go on this journey with you and your family. Jesus has used you mightily, and continues to do so as we see in your blog. We pray for all the people who will be drawn into a more intimate relationship with Him through the words you share straight from His heart through yours to ours.

    With you in His abundant Grace and Love,
    Pete & Lisa (ABQ, NM)

    • So kind of you to write, Pete and Lisa. The people like you pray for me, I know we will see great things through this.

  62. Dear Ken,
    Thank you for sharing your journey and how God has been confirming his love for you and his presence in your life through his word of truth. I am praying for complete healing, and for peace and comfort for you and Corlette and your children and grandson.
    God’s grace,
    Jane Holsteen
    Faith Community Church, Hudson, WI

  63. In addition to the things you’ve written, I found weekly Holy Communion from my pastor to be the divine medicine that kept me connected to my Healer during this difficult time. Also in my sickest, weakest moments, I very intentionally praised Him the loudest, hardest and longest that I ever have and my comfort always arrived. That was 5 years ago and part of me misses those times as I have never felt His presence as much as I did then. I don’t need the cancer back to feel that way again though because now I know He is always with me and I will have that presence again in Heaven forever someday, this was only a glimpse of Him.

    Gracious Lord, I lift Ken up to you today, praising You for the message he is sharing during this journey you have allowed in his life for Your purposes. Bless him today with Your peace, comfort and healing. I ask You for maximum effectiveness and minimal side effects from his treatments and that Your strength will sustain his weakness. Surround him and his family with Your angels as he travels this unknown road with You and show Yourself to him in ways that You never have before for his comfort and Your glory. In Jesus’ Healing Name. Amen!

  64. Hi Ken,

    I was shocked and sad to hear this news as I read your post. I’m am however, so encouraged by your resolve, perseverance and trust in God’s love for you through this. We are praying for you and that you are able to continue to glorify Jesus through this circumstance. Love and Hugs from our family to yours.

    • Thank you for taking the time to write, Richard. There is much work for all of us to do, and it’s great to know that we will not leave this Earth one minute earlier than that work requires.

  65. Dear Ken,

    I am so sorry for you and Corlette that you going through this battle for your physical health. You and your family are on my heart and in my prayers. Your vulnerability in sharing these reflections publically will help others going through the same fight, but it also shows me the reality of your character as a godly leader. You have my deepest respect and love.

    Charlie Holt+

    • Great to hear from you, Charlie! I appreciate your encouragement and look forward to working with you to bring relational wisdom to the Orlando area sometime in the future.

  66. I walked into the front door of Peacemaker Ministries 16 years ago adamant that I was not looking for a job, but only visiting with you out of respect for Doc Hagstrom. Thirty-five minutes later I left the building more convinced then ever that I would clean toilets to work at a place like Peacemaker Ministries and to be under your leadership! And I was right!

    I learned more lessons about humility, kindness, Scripture, sacrificial living, and integrity in my time with you than I have anywhere else. Your example and Corlette’s continues to change how I do life. This weeks blog is just one more testimony to the power of Christ and that there is no better investment of my time and talents then to serve Him. Thank you for sharing your insights – we are praying!

    • Thanks, Kate. You were a joy to work with and brought a lot of blessings to our team! I’m so glad we found something better for you to do than cleaning toilets!

  67. Hello Ken,
    Thank you for your transparency and sharing your beautiful heart. I am praying for you brother. May God envelope you in complete healing and rest.
    Blessings,
    Jennifer Solorio
    Faith Community Church
    Hudson, WI

  68. Dear brother in Christ,
    My sister sent me this and it was a stark reminder of the cancer journey that I recently completed. I will be praying for you Ken. It was wonderful to read and hear how you are not going to miss this opportunity to turn a crisis into an opportunity to witness for God. During my journey, I felt God’s presence everyday. He performed many miracles in my life at that time, as I was not only doing the cancer treatments but moved to a different province-to a place I didn’t know a soul in other than my realtor and did major renovations on the new house. It was an exciting and scary time in my life but because God was ever faithful and carried me through out that journey I did and continue to have many opportunities to give God the glory and credit him with all the miracles he performed in my life. I will be praying for healing and lots of interventions by God in your life.
    Thank you for sharing.
    God Bless
    Gail

  69. Like Tara Bradford, I was initially shocked and saddened to read the news you’ve shared; but I’m even more impressed with the list of Biblical affirmations that you’ve shared with us. I’ll be using that list to guide me in prayer for you and your family (and others, as needed). I’d say it’s a pretty good demonstration of the broad applicability of rw360! The Lord does not work in half measures! “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1

    • Thank you Andrew. It’s interesting how the were challenging issues in life are the ones that drive us into the Bible and allow us to discover its deepest treasures!

  70. Wow, thank you for your humility and openness in sharing with so many you don’t know, but those who you know will be taught and helped by your witness of the reconciling power of God through his son at a very difficult time.

    May the love of God quieten your heart. Zeph 3v17

    Prayers for you all.
    Felicity M

  71. Oh Ken what an incredibly touching blog you wrote, woven in with such humility and wisdom as you shared from your heart this difficult cancer journey that the Lord has you on!! As you know I so appreciate you, yours and Corlette’s sweet friendship, and the countless ways that the Lord has used you as a vessel through this RW 360 ministry!!! It is such a powerful testimony to the Lord as you tenderly and with such grace give such honor to the Lord even in the midst of this huge trial!! Gary and I are standing in the Gap with you through fervent prayer and are journeying this time of trusting in our awesome God along side you!!!!! We love you and can’t thank you enough for your faithful walk with Him that continues to shine brightly, even in the midst of this hard, refining fire!! May God continue to give you, Corlette, and your familly His strength, grace, and unwavering and super-natural peace!! Blessings dear friend!!!

  72. You are brave and very courageous for sharing your fight with us. Your faith and love encourage me! I do struggle with fibromyalgia. It’s not a disease that can be seen, but if I do too much OR feel too much (stress) I can barely move but still have to go to work M-F…Phil. 3:13-14 is most relevant to my life. When I feel sorry for myself, I try to remember that it’s not about me, and give God the glory for all He has done for me and others in my life. The call of God in your life is obvious, and I thank Him for all He has done and is doing for you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

    • Thank you, Steph. A dear friend of mine has fibromyalgia and I’ve seen how difficult it is to live with. Like you, she has used it as a springboard to focus more intensely on God, to worship him more deeply, and to trust him even during those long, hard days and nights. I pray that he will meet you again and again with lavish grace.

  73. Hello fellow cancer patient. Relationship are important! Some work and some don’t, but it is making the best of the journey that is the adventure in what ever God “allows” to come our way. God allowed me to know I had cancer about a year before it was diagnosed through my bedtime talks with Him. That really took the fear from me, and desensitized the nature of the disease. It did not release me from all the decisions and efforts I would encounter. I look forward to each day, thinking about what I will face and what I can do to be one day closer to the Kingdom of God. Five months after surgery and treatment started, I was well enough to get my first full time job in almost four and a half years. And what a blessing! I knew the job was God’s doing! I filled out an application on line and was called by phone in less than two minutes from the time I hit the send button. I was put through an interview and a test the next morning, pasted a work physical and was hired all before noon the next day. In less than twenty four hours, God had lifted my spirits and had me feeling I had a truly special relationship with Him. I feel rooted in my relationship with God, He has taken good care of me for over 62 years. He always knows what I need before I do, but in that special relationship with Him, I must talk, pray, praise and live a life as close to the footsteps of His son Jesus. Did I do today what Jesus would do in the course of my day? Your ministry my friend, has been a supportive relationship for me. Carry on as God “allows” you, till He comes back in the clouds for all to see, knowing we will share the gift of eternal life. Blessings and love to you and yours always!

    • Amen, Beth! God uses these times as the true growing and enjoying times, and we are so much richer because of them.

  74. I just reread this blog post again. I cry every.single.time. I know God will not waste this pain with the “C” word. I hate it. AND, I trust in the Sovereign loving hands of our Abba as you live humbly and faithfully in these coming days, weeks, and Lord willing years. You and your family are forever engraved in our hearts. We love you. We will pray and pray and trust. The last vision my boys have of my sweet dad, as he sat in his hospital gown…he had a twinkle in his eye and he told them..”keep looking up”. Simple faith can be the anchor in the storms of life. Much love and prayers..Zimms

  75. We had a PeaceWise board meeting today and we prayed for you during our meeting. Without you PeaceWise wouldn’t exist, and thousands of people in our part of the world wouldn’t have been impacted with the gospel of peace and had relationships healed and restored and strengthened. We are so thankful for you and your long-serving commitment to share the blessings of God and his word with others, and please know that the support you have given us continues to reap huge impact in many, many lives not only here but all across the world. Please know that we stand with you at this time, and pray for God to bring you and Corlette through this and to be fully healed. With all our love and prayers, from everyone here at PeaceWise.

    • Thank you for your concern and prayers, Bruce. Your work in Australia has been a great encouragement to me as I think of the many people you’ve impacted with your training. I’m probably going to be teaching RW “down under” in 2015 and I hope we can get together.

  76. Dear Ken,

    Thanks for your honest sharing of this difficult journey with us.

    I also thank God for what He has done through you to encourage us to become true peacemakers.

    What a blessing to learn that blessed are the peacemaker for we are called the sons of God.

    I would like to share with you a psalm that encourages me lately.

    I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from?
    my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

    He will not let your foot slip–he who watches over you will not slumber.
    Indeed, He who watches over Israel with neither slumber nor sleep.

    The Lord watches over you–the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
    the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

    The Lord will keep you from all harm–He will watch over your life;
    the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

    Psalm 121

    May our Lord’s love and grace be with you and your family.
    For He is our help in the ages past, our hope in the years to come,
    our shelter in the stormy blast and our eternal home.

    In Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

    Ping and Joseph from Sydney, Australia

    • Isn’t it amazing how God’s Word speaks to us so powerfully and personally thousands of years after it was recording. It is truly living and active. Thank you for your prayers, for sharing these promises from God, and for modeling peacemaking to others.

  77. Hi Ken, Words can’t express my profound respect and admiration for your Godly wisdom, your Godly perspective, and courage. Thank you for your writings about this battle and great challenge. Your words and witness are a glorious and powerful example to us and an encouragement for us all. Thank you!!! I’m praying for you and your family. All my love to you. Bill

    • It’s great to hear from you, Bill. Thank you for your encouragement and for letting me know of your prayer support. I look forward to sharing reports of God’s lavish grace in response to the prayers of many!

  78. Ken, I’m praying for you and your family. Your wise, sober, foundational words are beautiful and truthful, and represent a vital message for many. I’ve read and re-read them several times, including to my son. Thank you. Love to you. Bill

  79. Dear Ken,
    I am late in hearing this news. I must admit my heart sank but as I read on I was blessed with your insights and scripture. I will save this for those who journey as you.
    My experience with Peacemaker Ministry changed my life and improved my relationships as I grasped more fully God’s plan for restoration. God certainly gifted you in a mighty way and I am grateful.

    Just this past week I received an email from Tajikistan from a couple who attended a class teaching the
    principles in 2006. They continue to teach what they learned and each time have attendees wanting more.
    Excerpt from their recent letter;

    “I forgot to mention that at the cOMpany conference – (names deleted security reasons) and I did a peace maker overview with 30 or 40 workers from across Central Asia. Of course we had a running conflict (team one on a project) and showed how the principles are practiced out. The team in the high mountains asked if we can do more training with them in the winter time.”

    Praying for God’s presence continue and increases as you journey this challenge.
    Please give my regards to Corlett.

    Most grateful for you,
    Jean

    • Thank you, Jean. I treasure your friendship and your prayers. And I’m thrilled to hear how the peacemaking seeds you’ve sown in Central Asia are producing fruit. God is great!

  80. Ken, that is very exciting and encouraging! I will plan to tune in to see what the writers do on the program with what you shared with them. And I will pray that the process of biblical conflict resolution is presented in a light that brings glory to God! A very neat opportunity, indeed!!!
    And who knows, just having the opportunity to reflect to the writing team seeing how God has worked in the past is very cool! We are not able to know how often the telling affects individual hearts. I am always amazed and reminded of god and his ways of working through these things — often not the way we expect, but very much in awesome ways that bring Glory to Himself!

    • So true, Allison. God uses countless channels to convey his presence, holiness, and goodness to us. I’m increasingly fascinated with how he uses general revelation and common grace to bless those who do not even acknowledge his existence (see http://www.rw360.org/2013/10/16/common-grace-rw/). Please give me a call and let me know how your ministry is going.

    • Thank you, Kim. It should be interesting. As I noted in the post, however, some Christians would not find the whole series to be edifying. You’ll have to decide that for yourself. Regardless, let’s pray that the October episode provides a positive view of biblical conciliation.

  81. Ken, praying for you and your wonderful family today! I am also praying that you will continue to see the purposes of Jesus in all that is happening to you. Only you could turn your difficulties and challenging circumstances into ministry for others. Thank you for being such a compassionate and loving brother.

    Love to you,

    Ryon

    • Thank you, Ryon. Your prayers and encouragement are precious to me! I hope to be down your way in the next couple of months and would love to connect. In the meantime, I pray God’s grace continues to flow through you into the lives of many men through your various fellowship groups.

  82. Dear Ken,
    I praise God for his wisdom, joy and peace shining through you and Corlette at every stage of your lives, with this one being no exception. Thank you both for touching my life in many ways. May you continually feel Christ surrounding you and your family Psalm 3:3. Love and hugs, Jennifer

    • Thank you, dear friend. So good to see your name on a message. Lots of fond memories when you were part of our circle years ago!

  83. Ken: Thanks for your honest sharing. You can take comfort, as I have, that God gives us the tests that we can handle, and as his children , they make us stronger in the areas of our lives where we are the weakest at times pushing us pretty close to the edge. I didn’t know until today you were going through this. Carol and I will be praying for you and Corlette, Jeff & Meagan that God will be glorified.

    • Thank you, Dale. I know you’ve walked some tough roads yourself with perseverance. Thanks for setting an example others can follow. Give my best to Carol.

  84. Thanks for sharing this news Ken. This and the possibilities of how the Lord will use it and you is all very exciting. I will be in prayer.

  85. In light of our conversation about recent changes at PM, it is good to know that good things continue to happen and I believe God will continue to bless the work.

  86. Wow Ken – this is amazing!! What an INCREDIBLE vehicle for raising the concept and awareness of biblical conciliation in the ‘common mind’ (and even for Christians as well!). This show is a much more nuanced handler of difficult ethical issues than most, and the characters and not at all black and white (including Alicia herself), but I do agree that the portrayal of Grace her Christian daughter has been increasingly positive as the show has gone on – which is highly unusual in a show of this kind. I will pray for a positive presentation of the process and of Christ through the episode. Blessings!

    • Thank you, Bruce. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. I’ve not seen any of the episodes myself, but the reviews about how Grace is portrayed have been encouraging. Interestingly, a realistic mediation could easily include a difficult Christian party … I’ve seen plenty of them in my 32 years as a conciliator!

  87. Wow, what an opportunity! I can’t imagine that at least one (or more) of the writers on the team wasn’t touched by listening to your gospel-centered answers to all of their questions! You present the truths of scripture so beautifully and explicitly, I know God will do more than we could ever ask or imagine in the hearts of all those who put this scene together! Praise God for the hundreds of opportunities He allows you to be His mouthpiece!

  88. I was so grateful you shared this with me in our recent phone conversation. So many of the questions and lessons you have been learning were a part of my life in 2005 when I experienced my bout with head and neck cancer. The disease tutors its assailants in multiple ways. I told people all the time, “I am immortal until Jesus is done with me.” You are as well, my friend. Know that Nancy and I and the folks at Orlando Grace will support from afar in prayer as you walk through the valley with your Good Shepherd.

  89. I don’t remember hearing about your having cancer, Ken. Sorry to hear it, but encouraged to hear what God is doing in you, my brother.

  90. Are these materials available in Spanish? We are TEAM missionaries in Guadalajara, Mexico and are starting a new church plant. We’d love to become presenters, but we need to present in Spanish!

    • They are not yet available in Spanish but I’m talking with a translator about doing some pilot work. I’ll post an announcement if something becomes available. In the meantime, I encourage you to use the existing material to learn how to practice these principles in your lives, which will prepare to teach the Spanish material when it becomes available.

  91. I’m not sure I find this of comfort … I think in the throws of my difficult life trials these past 18+ months with not much hope in sight … it makes me feel like if God is in charge, then this is where He wants me to be and that’s scary. I am about to lose my home, my family and I am trying so hard to stay His course, praying for my heart to stay strong and devoted to Him, but it feels terribly unfair when I see others who pay no mind to Christ have so much. I know, first world problems, but this is uplifting if you are on the other side of an illness or tragedy, but while you are in the throws it almost feels for those of us new to the faith as if no matter what, this is it. I will continue to pray, praise and worship God, for I know my life would be a million times worse without Him….my spiritual therapy if you will, but I’m heartbroken that my current tragedy/difficulty is preordained and honestly leaves me feeling a lot less hopeful.

    • Dear Kim. I’m sorry to hear of the great suffering you are going through. It must feel like the whole world is closing in around you. Many people in similar situations have struggled to understand why a loving and all-powerful God would allow his children to go through such trials (see Psalm 73). I’ve always found comfort in knowing that even the extreme suffering of our Lord was not by chance but happened “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23), which he put in place before the foundations of the world for our salvation. When I come to issues I can’t fully understand, I also find comfort in Deuteronomy 29:29. Jerry Bridge’s book, Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts, is also a great help. Corlette and I will be praying that God would meet you in your pain and bring you his comfort and peace.

    • Dear Kim,
      May I clarify something? In my (imperfect and still developing) understanding, which I have learned through great suffering of my own, there are 3 main sources of our suffering.
      1) As in this article we just read, yes, sometimes it is ordained by God to purify us, just as olive oil is made by crushing the olive, perfume by crushing the rose petals, a diamond by incredible weight on coal followed by precise cutting, etc. Or sometimes, as in Job’s case, it is allowed by God to test us and prove what we are made of. (See the first and last chapters of the book of Job.) Or God, having an infinitely bigger picture than we do, may have other reasons. We often don’t understand all the “why”. But we know that He is good.
      2) Then I believe some of our pain is a direct result of our own actions and choices. A simple example: if I lose my temper and pound the table for emphasis, hurting my hand, that was not ordained by God! That is simply a direct consequence of my choice and action. That is a simple example, but it can apply to many and more complicated areas of our lives. Our financial choices and habits can lead to stability or bankruptcy. Our work habits can lead to a promotion or being laid off (or worse). Etc.
      3) Finally, the Bible tells us that we have an enemy who hates us, and who “prowls about like a roaring lion”, seeking who he can devour (1 Peter 5:8), a “thief” seeking only “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). He loves to mess up what is most precious to us. This is why we pray for protection, and why we commit ourselves to God.
      Sometimes, our suffering can be a result of all 3 of these areas mixing together… Take that hurting hand example: our enemy could very well have played a part in the circumstances that led to my getting angry. Then I chose to react the way I did. Then God can use my hurting hand to speak to me and help me learn from this, and hopefully react in a better way in the future. But let us be clear: God did not cause me to hurt my hand!

      BUT HERE’S THE KEY, KIM: despite these sufferings we endure while on this earth, no matter their source, WE HAVE HOPE.
      One of Jesus’ names is “Immanuel”, which means “GOD WITH US”. He left heaven to come suffer with us, to beat Death itself, to offer us hope, life now and forever, friendship with Him, healing, etc.
      In contrast to our enemy (who seeks to kill and steal and destroy), the second part to that John 10:10 verse (mentioned above) says: “I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
      And in another key verse, the apostle Paul said to the Romans, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. … What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:28, 31-32)
      And I Corinthians 10:13 which says,
      “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
      In a letter to the Israelites when they were suffering in exile, God spoke through Jeremiah and said, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
      The Bible is full of such passages of hope in suffering. Victory over trials.

      So don’t lose heart. Jesus/Immanuel is with you. His last words recorded in Matthew (28:20) are, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

      (Dear Lord, please be with Kim as she walks through these difficult times! Strengthen her with your Spirit, that she may have the strength, courage, understanding, patience, and everything else she needs, to get through each step of the way, Your way. In Jesus’ precious name we agree and ask for this together, Amen.)

      • Dear Rachelle … what a blessing, thank you for taking the time to write, to care and to pray for me! There are no words … I have printed this and have it on my bulletin board. Every time I read it, I have a new perspective/understanding and hope. I am truly filled with gratitude and very thankful for your note.

  92. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord:…. 2kings3:18
    My prayer is with you, your family and you ministry! Yes God is able!!!

  93. Nine years later I am still cancer free but aware that I have only one reason to boast – the Savior who gives me length of days. We are immortal until Jesus is done with us. Thanks for this post, brother. Praying for your complete recovery.

  94. Praise God for this miraculous healing, and for allowing you to use your illness to help encourage and strengthen others in similar situations, to provide hope, for the glory of God! Will continue to pray that you will stay faithful to His calling, and that the healing will be complete. God is so good!

  95. I was at a couple of your classes at the Winston Salem Homeschool conference in 2013…found out earlier this year I’d developed my second and third separate cancers..I identify with so much of your thoughts and especially feeling so blessed by our good God in the middle of this storm/refining fire! Prayers for you and your family!

    • Thank you, Laura. I’m sorry you’re going through cancer again, but I’m glad that you feel the closeness and goodness of God. I do too!

  96. Thank you for this post, it is so wonderfully relatable. My husband died in a logging accident 8 years ago when I was 58, our family has grieved & I am now 8 years older & less mobile than I have been. In 2 weeks I will be moving to a smaller home. Our 2 girls & their families are a loving support however this should be an excellent way for us to look beyond the now to the future. There will be more problems as I grow older–they will grow older too & perhaps with our faith in God & helping tools such as this we can move ahead a little easier. I have attended the conference in Sept 2012 & found what I learned there to be so helpful in relationships so I again thank you for how you apply all of this to our human & fragile lives here on earth with each other. Liz W

    • Thank you, Liz. I’m glad that these thoughts are of value to you. Growing older can be hard, but God does give us the ability to choose our attitude toward it and decide how we will face its challenges. Our parents’ approach to aging was a marvelous example to Corlette and me, as well as to our children, so we’ve got a clear path to walk on. We now pray that we can pass on the same legacy to our children and grandchildren.

  97. Just starting my 7 week journey, it’s so good to be reminded of the righteous judgement and justification of the cross. God has shown me so much grace. How can I withhold it from others? It brings wisdom and peace.

    • I prayed for you this morning as you start your personal study, Kim. May God use it to draw you closer to him and to enrich your relationships with every person around you! Ken

  98. Ken, Karen and my marriage was impacted greatly many years ago as a result of a seminar you did on “handling conflict Biblically”. Through the years our lives have been impacted further as these principles became a part of us and we taught others. Having been going through the cancer challenge for over two years and seeing God use this in our lives, your blog on cancer exemplifies what you have been teaching all these years. It challenged me in some ways I was not focusing on when I read the initial blog. In going through a more difficult time recently, our pastor sent this link this morning. As I read it again I realize I need to read this often. Thanks for sharing this Biblical and eternal perspective. Praying for you and Corlette our dear brother and sister in Christ.

    • Hi Lloyd. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a more difficult time lately, but I’m glad that in the midst of the struggle God is showing himself faithful. Corlette and I have so many wonderful memories of our time with you and Karen. Thank you so very much for you prayers. We are lifting you up as well.

  99. I pray that God enriches my relationship with my husband, family, friends and co-workers. I am on my 7 week journey and look forward to what God has in store for me.

    • May God richly bless your studies, Sheri, and give you many opportunities to deepen your relationships in the days ahead. Thanks for loving and laughing with Corlette last week. She smiles whenever she thinks of you!

  100. I believe that this is an area where we can all work to do better. A lot of times, it is us as believers that feel that it is difficult to reach out for help. It is so important to feel that we have a safe place to receive help and counsel. Satan constantly attacks, as we know all too well. We are all sinners and need God’s grace….

    • Thanks, Bill. God has graciously given me a great deal of energy and creativity lately … which I’m excited to invest in our new ministry!

  101. Wow, I was so moved by this video and I was so convicted by my own impatience and often critical unloving actions. Thank you for reminding me to put on The Lord Jesus Christ and His unfailing limitless love.
    Dear Ken, I am praying for you, in faith Ps 103:1-3

    • I was convicted too, Jeanne. I want to be patient with everyone around me. Thanks for your prayers. God is being incredibly gentle with us.

  102. I appreciate the idea of using the 3 P’s. As a manager I often push the processes of change in my department. In the future I will attempt to include my associates in the process.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Kathy James

    • It is a great managerial tool. Many managers simply tell their people what to do and then wonder why they’re not fully engaged in carrying out the plan. It’s because they have no sense of ownership in what’s going on. When they’re part of the decision making process, they’re much more likely to give it their full support.

    • You’re so right, Curt. Most of the church interventions I’ve done would have never reached the boiling point if the church leaders had been practicing the 3P’s.

  103. Great timing! I’m an engineer in a tissue mill. Later today, I have a meeting with a contractor to go over some issues we both have with each other pertaining to two recent projects. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the 3 P’s, and escalated the issues to a much higher level than they should be at using overly strong email messages. Now, I’m hoping to use this meeting to come to some sort of common ground with the contractor and put out the fires that are currently burning both sides of the bridge, and I’m hopeful that this 3 P’s message will help me to that.

    Thanks!

  104. If only … if only all conflicts and differences could be addressed and resolved so simply. Kathi and I are just back from Vanuatu where land disputes are the cause of major conflicts, including attempted murder and threatening a 16 year old daughter. The 3Ps would work, but only if both parties were prepared to follow the 4 Gs and the 7As! The 3P posting is so helpful. Thanks Ken.

    • You’re right, Dave, this all works so much better if all sides are willing to live by biblical principles. But since that is often not the case, I’m glad that even one Christian faithfully following God’s Word can often move things in a more constructive direction … even if others are not fully cooperating. But the best news of all is that God doesn’t measure our success in terms of results but rather in terms of faithfulness to him and his purposes. If we do our best according to the knowledge he has given us, he smiles at us and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I’m glad you are back safe and sound, brother.

  105. This is great counsel. As a matter of fact, it would have been good counsel for my pastor to give my husband when he cheated on me. Instead, the pastor basically blamed me for my husband’s infidelity. I wish he could have read this post before he tried to counsel us.

  106. I love this illustration. I have passed on rw360 to so many and am in the process of figuring out how to be a presenter (formally) as I have been using this info so much since I took the class this summer. It has helped me so much personally and also in counseling others. Blessings to you who are involved in this ministry. Thank you,Corlette and Ken, for allowing God to process you and being obedient in your gifts and callings to pass it on to the body of Christ.

  107. Thanks so much. This is a truly useful list (coming with good timing) and I anticipate referring to it allot in the coming weeks & the New Year. I continue to pray (giving thanks daily) for you and your family as you all endure your treatment.

  108. Just a few thoughts. I know it is common to use the word “race” when comparing peoples of different cultural/national background and skin color, especially on applications, surveys, census data collection and the like, but I like the emphasis Ken Ham puts on this topic by emphasizing we belong to the human race, but all have different family, ethnic, national, linguistic, cultural and genetic bodily traits (hair, skin, bone & facial features). Ken Sande’s article does this by mentioning the biblical truth that all in the human race are made in the image of God, but also uses the more colloquial expression of “race” to mean different ethnic groups with different genetic body traits. The secular world, blinded by Satan, most recently using forms of “evolved” creature worship devised by Darwin, viewed blacks as a lower, less evolved “race”. Nazi Germany/Hitler explicitly used evolution as a model for describing different “races” among people groups in history, leading them to suppose they were the superior evolved “race” but that less evolved races should be eradicated (=genocide).

    The dictionary still notes the colloquial definition of “race” but the Concise Encyclopedia mentions this: “Because all human populations today are extremely similar genetically, most researchers have abandoned the concept of race for the concept of the cline, a graded series of differences occurring along a line of environmental or geographical transition.” Maybe the academic researcher’s word “cline” needs more colloquial advocates?

    I think Christians ought to object to the colloquial use of the term “race” to describe differences among a single human race based on biblical truth of creation of one human race in God’s image, and also because using other language to describe differences in public dialog might lend more support to the common US history dictum and Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” (meaning, under US constitutional law, given certain common/equal rights).

    Of course for Christians, our dialog includes the effects of sin in creating conflicts among different clines having long term mutual mistrust and suspicion.

    In addition to this helpful article above, I recommend a helpful book that provides a nice biblical introduction to this topic: Blood Lines: Race, the Cross and Christians by John Piper

    • Thanks for these insights and suggestions, Tim. I need to look into this more and make sure I’m using words in their most accurate and helpful way. I still have much to learn.

  109. I loved the thought the 12 year old brought to the forefront and that a “police officer” offered a hand and asked for a hug. I am a white Christian and have had many, many friends of different skin colors and ethnic backgrounds and I have coached dozens of kids of differing ethnic backgrounds.

    What I don’t understand with the Ferguson thing is the violence involved. This is not the way Martin Luther King would have approached the problem. He has preached LOVE THY NEIGHBOR and NON-VIOLENT protest. I wonder who the violent/looter people are and what REAL message they are sending to the world.

    My friends would never resort to violence if they felt racially abused, but would respond to let people know they didn’t like the comments/signs/etc. I would stand with them and have. I have had my friends of color stand with me when approached by trouble-makers in the place of business we were at.

    I just don’t get the violence and looting and the people destroying their own neighborhoods and businesses.

  110. Most of the time it is hard for employers to deal with a highly useless employee. The article has perfectly written about how to deal with such people and how to utilize their soft skills.

  111. Excellent material! We need to be mindful of our idols because they are there beckoning us. This has given me much food for thought!!! Thank you, Ken.

  112. This is an area of our lives where we must be on guard, since unfortunately today many people define themselves by what they do, forgetting “who they are in Christ”. Let us all remember to live in light of who we are and make wise choices that have eternal significance. Thank you Ken for this reminder to be good stewards of the time the Lord gives us!!

  113. Ken,
    Just a quick note to say that I enjoyet your blogs immensely in 2014. THANKS YOU. I loved reading about your son. Did you stop your fundraising or did I simply miss or overlook appeals. The best to you in 2015. Your work is making an impact…but most of all it is faithful to the Lord.
    Bob

    • Thank you for your encouraging feedback, Bob. I love writing the blogs and am always glad to hear that they are of benefit to others. We still do fundraising; thank you for asking! I have a different email address for you in our database and will email you to make sure we’re using the right one.

  114. Whew … really hits home and I as journal thru my feeling on this, b/c I have my own forgiving to do, it dawns on me how much pain this is causing both my husband and me holding onto this anger. His mistake/sin is not who he is and in no way did he do it to hurt me or our family, but it did. He’s working so hard to make up for it and reading this post I was struck by the verse and pointing out the “excessive sorrow” it creates by not forgiving AND ,,, this is what really jolted me … the excessive bitterness it is creating in my own heart. Major reality check.

    Really appreciate you sharing your life, it’s most helpful and relatable. Would appreciate your prayers for my heart to forgive his, for some reason it is really hard; fear? pride? … but I do know this … it is time.
    Very grateful for your ministry … blessings to you and yours, K

    • I am praying that God will give you and abundance of grace to forgive … just as you’ve been so graciously forgiven by our Lord. May this lead to a renew relationship with your husband and a powerful testimony to others who need the same kind of freedom.

  115. Thanks for this helpful article addressing fear head-on.

    Over the past decade I have worked with some of the most interesting and successful people in the world. You may be an entertainer taking home $35,000 per hour. You may be a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. You may be a Wall Street corporate merger guru. Still, you have to understand, quickly recognize, and know how to defeat the top 5 professional fears.

    They are:
    1. The fear of silence
    2. The fear of sharing
    3. The fear of selling
    4. The twin fears of rejection and failure
    5. The fear of success

    Not surprisingly, most (not all) successful individuals initially assume they are the exception to the rule. “Fear? Who me? No way.”

    “No fear” isn’t just a Millennial motto for the adventurous. It’s a way of life. I know all this, yet yesterday I got hit with 1 of the 5 professional fears and responded 180 degrees opposite of what I know to do in such situations.

    I still believe “No fear” is a way of life, but it’s an imperfect way. Every time we give into fear, we need to humbly acknowledge it, remind ourselves what to do next time, and then move toward that “next time” as quickly as possible.

  116. “Prayer is central to building unity. It provides an avenue for confessing pride and presumption, admitting weaknesses and limitations, and calling out to God for humility, discernment, wisdom, and a clarity of direction that results in decisions everyone can enthusiastically support.” AMEN!

    • Being pressed for time, under pressure, and not making a deliberate choice to display these characteristics is how we neglect them. We have to involve our own will and involve prayer time with God.

    Recently, I literally came out of a prayer meeting; had just asked God for help in displaying wisdom and peaceful responses. Then I saw someone had called me 3x and the phone rang and it was them again. They basically called to chew me out. I took it for a while and then finally “bit back”. This was due to not asking God to help me IN THE MOMENT, and firing off a selfish response. I did call back and apologize a few hours later.

    Thanks for providing leadership tips based on past experiences.

  117. I went to the movies last weekend and watched McFarland USA. I was so inspired and can clearly see what you are talking about regarding the relational wisdom as demonstrated by Kevin Costner. This is a great family movie especially for older children. I really think movies can inspire people and can so often be used to demonstrate certain messages in a way that others can understand. Thanks.

    • Thank you, Mark. So gracious of you to invite me. I’ll keep this in mind next time I’m Down Under, Mate!

    • Great to know the outcome. One more person here from Perth. As the Lord wills, would be great to see you all here.

  118. Dear Ken,
    Thank you for this reminder! Would you say this applies to the Gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12-14; Romans 12; etc.)? Can we say this is Satan’s counterfeit effort to deceive believers, and undermine the fellowship of the saints?

    • Yes, I believe that all of the gifts God gives us are vulnerable to the corrupting power of sin if they are exercised in sincere humility and love (see 1 Cor. 13:1-3). How it must grieve God when we wield his gifts in pride and selfishness!

  119. Amen! Recognition of God as the offended party takes a real work of His Spirit!

    Would it be equally an indicator if an unbeliever has strong tendencies towards certain sinful patterns, say gossip for instance, that they could subsequently expect as a believer (truly regenerated, etc) to function in the Spiritual Gift of encouragement? A tongue submitted to the Spirit can do wonders.

    I’m searching for wisdom on how to place people in ministry roles for which they are gifted. While we are somewhat discussing a negative approach (beware of corruption), I see some insight for understanding people better, thus better placing them in fruitful roles. Is this reasonable? Or, is there a better way to arrive at the same goal?

    • Great question, Bryan. I’d never thought about it from this direction. The focus of my post was how to redeem strengths that have been corrupted by sin. I am intrigued with your idea of identifying weaknesses and discerning whether by God’s grace they could be redeemed into strengths. The first person who comes to mind is the apostle Paul. As a Pharisee he was well schooled in the Bible and articulate, but until he was converted he used those gifts to oppose Jesus. After conversion, he became one of the most compelling Bible teachers (and writers!) who ever lived.

  120. Perhaps the Apostle Paul’s hatred, predjudice and pride toward Gentiles and his subsequent calling, by God, to be the Apostle to the Gentiles – and suffer so extensively at their hands – sheds some light on Bryan’s intriguing question, as I understood it: could there be a correlate between God’s spiritual gifting of a believer and his/her sin patterns prior to conversion as well as the correlation Ken is suggesting .. between a believer’s greatest strengths and potential weaknesses? However, I am not sure generalizing that into a ‘principle’ is supported.

    Thanks for making us think, Bryan!

    Jody R. Green

  121. This was PERFECT, I see my own sin so clearly on this topic, I absolutely needed this reminder to repent, confess, and pray for His strength and work in my life. Thank you!!!

      • It is, indeed, humbling, that a cartoon can open the eyes! Thank you for this ministry. What an awesome blessing to so many. We are grateful for how the LORD is using you. God bless.

    • Thanks, Curt. These young men inspired me too! I thank God that because of his grace, both common and special, there are millions of these kinds of actions around the world every day.

  122. Imagine the impact if 90% of the news had stories like this, instead of the other way around. I showed this story to my boys that play basketball. I hope it encourages them to stand out in a positive way like those boys.

  123. Thank you for sharing and for the discussion points. I live in Los Angeles today I was feeling very particularly discouraged and low about humanity, and the direction of our society. Thank you for sharing this reminder that there are people who value kindness. I am hoping my husband and I will use the discussion points with our teen girls.

  124. Ken, I love this!!! In the bible study in my home we are studying “Who Switched off My Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf. She has been studying the brain for 25 years and has some amazing insights. I will read this blog to the women this week at our study to encourage them that we are on the right track. Thank you for all you do!!!

  125. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for the” Five Ways to bless your mother.” I read it and watched it at leas four times in the last two days. The videos expressed everything I wanted to say myself as a mother, but could not express it. Every time I watch, tears roll down my cheek!! Thank you for the five ways.
    God bless,
    Valsa

    • As moving as these video clips are, they still just scratch the surface of all that it means to be a mother. They are surely the most beautiful and wonderful people in the world.

  126. I love the ways God works through people who yield themselves to Him! Thank you, Ken, for sharing this beautiful testimony. May the Lord give you safe travels, good health, and empower you to bring the gospel to the people in Poland. Also praying that hearts would hear and embrace the biblical principles of relational wisdom and that the ripple effects would touch the lives of many.

  127. Another proof that God’s word is living and active, and offers incredible wisdom and guidance on living out our lives in a way that promotes positive relationships and peace. What a great witness to all those around this situation!

    • Amen, Gary. It’s great to know that this is just one example of the thousands of ways God is working all around the world to use his people as channels of grace and agents of reconciliation.

  128. Having prayed for you, Chip, and other ELF attendees daily while you were ministering in Poland, I rejoice with you in the relationships you developed with our European brothers and sisters in Christ! May the Lord continue to direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ! (2 Thes. 3:5)

  129. An added note about this movie, in case you haven’t already heard this: it is directed by Pete Docter, and he and his wife Amanda are best friends with and in the same Bible Study group as John Barthel (brother to Fred Barthel, who is a friend of Ken’s). For many years Pete has made a conscious effort to connect his faith with his work, and it sounds like he has succeeded (again)! Another added bit: when Pete won an Oscar for “Up”, he took it along to a Bible Study meeting, and they all passed it around and took pictures of each other with it. Great fun, and a fine man! I’m proud to know that family, too.

  130. Thanks Ken!! I saw the movie tonight and I wasn’t disappointed. I found myself laughing and crying. It’s really cool to know the writer is a Christian. I was thinking of the possible spiritual significance during the movie. It made me think of how much our culture combats sadness with pills and the Holy Spirits role in the battle that fights for our joy and protection. I have always been a deep feeler and have had the gift and curse of feeling everything around me. This movie did a great job of showing how God didn’t mess up when he designed our hearts and minds. 🙂

    • Amen, Bethany. Being empathetic can be costly at times but it’s also the key to really loving others. The more I study about the mind, the more I’m moved to worship our Creator!

  131. Thanks so much for writing this. My small group from church is going to see this together tomorrow! Love all your suggestions.

  132. Happy anniversary to two dear friends! So happy to hear that you’re having a grand celebration of God’s faithfulness to your marriage! Love, Bob & Rita

  133. Beautiful place… Beautiful hearts! May God continue to bless your marriage and use you both mightily to show love for Him and love for others. Warmly, Lisa V. (ABQ, NM)

  134. Happy anniversary, Ken and Corlette! As you bask in the beauty of God’s creation, may He refresh your souls and encourage your hearts.

  135. After reading your post, I took my grandkids to see the movie. We had some great discussions about emotions, relationships, and the “train” of executive thinking. The movie is a brilliant way of describing ways that the brain works in real life situations and relationships.

    • Let’s pray that more and more pastors begin to study the brain and lead the churches learning more about this amazing part of his creation!

  136. Congratulations to you both. Mick and I spent our honeymoon in the Tetons and took a raft trip down the Snake River as well. That was 44 years ago. Thank you for the beautiful video that reminded us of that beautiful scenery.

  137. Congratulations to you both! I ditto Bob and Rita’s comment.
    Blessings on your celebration and your future!
    Christine

  138. Congratulations!! We love you both so much! I love picturing the mountain man with his lady in his favorite spot. Enjoy the respite!! With love..Zimms

  139. Happy Anniversary! May God continue to bless your marriage as you continue to be a wonderful example of love….God’s love to others. Blessings

  140. I loved this movie. Alzheimer’s has affected my family. My grandpa died of it (and other things), and my Mom is showing characteristics of it at age 67. In the last year, my husband and I sold our house and purchased a park model in a RV park. We are both 39 years old! We know it was the hand of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit that has prompted us to do these things, so that we don’t have to be burdened with them “when the time arrives”. Many of our friends and co-workers think we are insane, but I feel 200% sure this is what God has in store for us, to live in smaller accommodations so as to free ourselves from the financial, physical, and emotional burdens that life can heap on us. This movie, and also the one “Still Alice” resonate with our family. We have to enjoy our time now, and prepare for the future as well. Great post, as always, Ken!

    • Thank you Stephanie. Aging has become one of our greatest challenges and opportunities for ministry. Looking ahead and preparing for these opportunities is a sign of unusual wisdom.

  141. Yes, I have been estranged. It feels awful. I have reached out numerous time, but there is no reciprocation, even outright exclusion. I just stopped trying.
    Started resorting to praying for that person instead of reaching out. Actually, this has been a pattern for my entire life from childhood. Sometimes I knew what I had done, other times, I had not clue what happened. I believe God has placed me in this position to make me stronger–and what people say and how they treat me, matters to me less. Once I apologize, even numerous times…if it’s not accepted, I have to move on. Wish it were different, but it’s not.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you’ve experienced this kind of cold treatment from others, Stephanie. I have too and it’s heartbreaking. If people will not discuss what happened, much less be open to reconciliation, we do have to let go of that relationship, ask God to help us see any area where he wants us to grow, and focus on our assurance that we are dearly loved, completely forgiven, and forever accepted by Jesus.

  142. Relationships are so complicated. Is there a time when it is healthy and needful for you to create distance between yourself and another person? I have found the effects of some people’s attitudes toward me to be toxic and harmful to my spiritual walk. In one working relationship, I objected to their treatment of me and wanted to talk about why it was hurting me but anytime I talked about their behavior, they shut down. I could no longer work with them because of it. In another case, there was so much negativity and sometimes hostility would come to the surface. Many accusations about my character, most of which were untrue. I think there was some jealously involved. I tried to be patient and I didn’t answer back in kind but I found that my interactions with them and attempts to answer them were draining me and keeping me from having time to forge ahead in other areas of my life that I believe God wanted me to go. I had to create distance in that relationship, too. In both cases, it was long term patterns of behavior and no evidence of repentance or a change of heart. I continue to wrestle with how to forgive and how to respond in situations like these.

    • You’re absolutely right, relationships and forgiveness can be very complicated. Although we should not give up quickly or easily on reconciliation, the Bible does teach that there are times when we must distance ourselves from an unrepentant person (e.g., Titus 3:10). I encourage you to get a copy of The Peacemaker for guidance on how to related to unrepentant people.

  143. Actually, I have referred to your book numerous times when I was in a particularly difficult relational situation. It was very helpful. The key, for me, was to be confident about who I am in Christ and find my safety and security in Him. I think you and step885 have both made reference to this in your posts. Being rooted in Christ’s love (Eph. 3:17) was what has enabled me to hold my relationships loosely, let go when it was needed (even when it is family!), and be patient with unjust behavior and accusations. And, like step885, I also believe that God will continue to bring these situations into my life because he wants me to grow. When I compare my recent responses with responses of 10 years ago, I can see a huge difference. Praise the Lord for the growth that He has brought about in me, which wouldn’t have come about without conflict.

    • Amen! Relationships are one of God’s main avenues for helping us to draw closer to him and to grow more to be like Christ!

  144. Thanks Ken,
    I was feeling somewhat discouraged this morning because of some business dealings. You have lifted my spirits after reading your blog. Have a nice day, I am Tom M

  145. what great encouragement and so needed by all! I decided to talk to a new person every day while somewhat isolated here at a lakeside cabin in MN. For 35 years we have vacationed here every summer and I have never sensed neighbors very friendly… Everyone keeps to themselves. So to my delight I introduced myself to a new neighbor 3 cabins down, just bought the place 3 mo ago and such a pleasant man, wife on a cruise, and I invited him to dinner to get to know the Murrays. His response was ” I will bring the wine”. He seemed so surprised and happy to have had someone reach out to him We will dine with him in 4 days. Does a horse count in my quest for reaching out to new people? Another new neighbor is Misty, a beautiful mare, whose wealthy owner put up a small coral, lean to, and is keeping her here for the summer. Unfortunately I see it as not ideal for her, she is lonely and fighting the bugs a lot. So I steal down there, she whinnys and eagerly welcomes me and I give her carrots and hand pulled grass. She is my buddy now! We can indeed encourage critters too!!!

    • I have always admired your kind heart, Sis! Thanks for being an constant example to me of how to love other people … as well as horses!

  146. This is an excellent article. Full of wisdom and practical advice.

    However, it speaks only to clergy abuse (I’m assuming its child sexual abuse)–and should say so specifically, because this suggested response is definitely appropriate to a clergy abuse situation, but this would not be applicable to a domestic violence case, or other situation involving sibling abuse, incest, or parental neglect/abuse.

    People who do not know the differences between the these types of cases might attempt to apply the same response to a family violence situation, to which it is not applicable.

    • Thank you for pointing this important distinction out, Christine. I’ve added a qualifying statement to the post.

  147. Hi Ken, just read your blog. Lincoln was a great man of biblical character. A favorite of mine. I have a copy of ” A Team of Rivals” but haven’t read it yet. FYI…the “Lifelong Love” book I told you about is authored by Gary Thomas, not Randy Alcorn. . I’m not very observant…love both those authors tho.

  148. This is a great reminder of these simple, powerful tools and real life applications. We all need encoragemmt that these 5 simple RW tools do transform relationships and change lives for the better!

  149. Ken,

    Super to hear about your experiences in South Africa. It is not surprising that God is using the wisdom he imparted to you to bring truth and grace to others.

  150. I was privileged to attend your sessions at Jubilee on RW and the Peacemaker Seminar (which we have been using in the Cape Flats region for several years now). Rich time of blessing and great time of learning – thank you Ken!
    Neil Henry – pastor at Metropolitan Evangelistic Church in Lavender Hill and Director of the Christian Leadership Programme at the Bible Institute of South Africa in Kalk Bay, CT.

    • Thank you, Neil. It was a pleasure to see you again and especially to learn that you continue to use the peacemaking course we provided to you through the training sponsored by Overseas Council. I hope our new generation of resources will be of equal value!

  151. thank you to read this which infrms us how you continue to teach wisdom of peacemaker when you were in south Africa.

    be blessed
    we love you.
    please come again in DRCONGO/ UVIRA to teach the same.

    yours
    pastor JOHN NGULWE MAGANYA

  152. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Stan could have written this whole thing himself (except for the SOG part). He hasn’t gotten there yet!

  153. I’ve been a big fan of your material (starting with Peacemaker) for years, and a church member keeps mentioning RW to me. I have a problem with SOG, however. Why is “self” first and “God” last? I understand acronyms, and think GOS would be slightly less memorable but more biblical. Please help me understand why the order is switched. Thanks

    • Great question, Brian. As you guessed, the primary reason I use SOG rather than GOS is simply because it sounds better and is more memorable. It is not to give priority to the elements, especially not to make self more important than God (something we emphasize during our full seminar). A secondary reason is that SOG recognizes the reality that most people don’t usually live with a constant focus on God; rather they are focused on their own life experience, which will often drive them to God (a pattern that is repeated over and over in the Psalms, see, e.g., Ps. 77). SOG is certainly not a theological statement of priority; it’s just a simple acrostic that helps people to remember that we always need to be thinking three dimensionally about our relationships.

      • Thanks for the answer, Ken. I figured it was something like that. Have you heard the acronym “JOY” (Jesus, Others, You)? Even more memorable! Also, while some Psalms may follow the pattern you suggest, the one you cited (Ps 77) begins very much with God awareness in verse 1, and only in verse 2 and following does Asaph share what he’s feeling. I just paged through my Bible, and found that 131 out of 150 Psalms have God or Lord in verse 1, and another handful+ use other nouns or pronouns to describe Him in verse 1.

        While I agree that self-awareness is important (and I try to practice it), in our society today the majority–including many Christians–never move beyond their own feelings. So is starting there the best place, or starting where they need to be? For me, the thing that jolts me into action is remembering Scripture that makes clear God’s view of a situation. God bless you!

        • Thank you for your thoughts, Brian. There is certainly an argument for what you’re saying. What we try to emphasize in our training is that we need to address all three dimensions, starting from wherever you happen to be at the moment (worshiping God, seeing that someone else is suffering, or being aware of your own present heart condition). Moreover, we encourage people not to see it as a “1, 2, 3, I’m done,” but rather as a continual awareness of God, self and others. Of course these are all simply man-made constructs, so they are inherently limited.

  154. Ken,
    Thank you so much for your addressing the order in which you present the acronym for relational living. I suffered under decades of self-righteous, defeatist attitudes and behaviors as I attempted to deny that I had any of my own feelings about anything!! I thought about what God would want from me in nearly EVERY situation, but I was constantly throwing the baby out with the bathwater as I sought to skip over any reality that I struggle to reconcile what I see and hear with what I “should” do (especially when those “should’s” come from well-meaning humans, including myself). I missed the actual act of worship that requires presenting my whole, real, true self to God. Self-awareness is not antithetical to the Gospel in my experience; it has restored me to a life of joyful repentance and connection to God. “Putting God first” usually resulted in my denying my true experience and giving God access to a tiny part of me who was telling him to just go ahead and take everything from me, because that was the point, right?! “1, 2, 3, I’m done”…that was the story of my life; thank you for the scenario you described above, where that husband will hopefully never stop realizing his need for grace!!

    • Thank you for your encouraging feedback, Catherine. It’s wonderful how each of the three elements of the relational wisdom fuel and reinforce the others. The more we understand ourselves, the more we understand others. And the more we understand ourselves and others, the more we see our need for God and his lavish love for us. Which helps us to love others better and open our hearts more and more to him. The cycle goes on and on, with each type of awareness making us more aware in the other dimensions.

  155. Love your system. It motivates me. You just have to throw Winston Churchill into the biography list though. 😀
    Thank you for the inspiring blog

  156. Your post is amazingly similar to the way Tyndale translates from Philippians 4 where he says, “Let your softness be know to all men.” I think the New American Standard says “let your gentleness…”, but softness catches a unique tone.

    Letting people know how soft I am is not my normal tendency, but one I’m learning.

    Ken, thank you very much.

    • Isn’t it great that no matter how old we are or how entrenched our habits seem to be, Jesus delights to come into our lives and change us bit by bit into his likeness!

  157. Ken: Thanks for passing the incident on, “been there, done that.”

    It sounds like that in the midst of your fight or “heated exchange” with Corlette our Lord brought to your mind the truth from the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Church at Colossae. (Or a similar passage) How good of our Lord to do that with HIs people and then to enable us to follow through by the power of His Holy Spirit.

    Colossians 1:9-10 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him. (ESV)

    A good Biblical prayer for ourselves and others.

  158. Thank you for the heavenly reorientation. The ending of the story almost brought tears to my eyes. It’s amazing how easily I can be entranced and entangled by things of extreme triviality (often pertaining to doing things the “right” or “better” way) when what is so much grander, more beautiful, rejoicing, and eternal await me when I free myself of those things.

  159. This humble, selfless act of compassion is moving and beautiful only because it is a reflection of our beautifully humble, selfless and compassionate God.

  160. Jeff is clearly a humble, wise, and Christ-centered young man. What a blessing to read his testimony and application of the SOG plan, along with his respect for his mother! “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her.” Pro. 31:28

  161. Thanks Ken, Very insightful to think of those that we know that are teachable, or not so teachable – and then to consider the relationships they have, both how many and what kind.. There is a very real difference.

  162. Great point, Ken. Of course, being teachable requires one to submit their pride to the control of the Spirit. A “teachability calibrator” might be, “What is more important to you – your marriage or that you be right?” (And the underlying question is their relationship with God). Thankful for you, Ken and for God’s work through you..

  163. Guilty. I’m pretty sure had I been as mature as “Susan” above there would be more than one relationship that would be healthier today. An old and perhaps cheesy line comes to mind, “You can be right or you can be in relationship, but not both”. My pride has driven me to verbalize that I was “right” when I could/should have been more self/others/God aware and saved the extra stress in the relationship. Thank you Ken for your great reminder and thank you God for beginning to open my eyes.

    • Amen, Brett! I’ve done the same more times that I want to remember … especially with my dear wife. I’m glad God promises to continue his good work in us.

  164. Another great post! I stepped down myself to remove a lot of the expectations and stress of management. Now I’m lost in the unknown of not being a manager but not quite being “one of my peers” either. I also failed to engage those that were under me. I’m stuck in the rut of being forced to ignore snide remarks and try to encourage myself in the Lord so I can be an encouragement to others. Thanking God right now for your insights and your words that certainly come from our brother, Christ Jesus.

    • Wow, that’s an interesting variation of this issue. May God give you grace to be such an encouraging person to others that they will soon see you in a friendly light.

  165. Defensive reaction could probably be my 2nd name. I’ve managed to stop spewing out what I think, when I have time to think about it. Reactive responses are a little more difficult. Actually, I have put my finger on it – God is teaching me patience right now. My accountability group has suggested that I make light of things instead of getting angry. For example, if someone pulls out in front of you while you are driving, then OBVIOUSLY they had somewhere they had to be really quickly – and you should just accept that. Other-aware is showing me that I can be selfish and need to start thinking of others first, as Christ did. Merely keeping quiet or stuffing down feelings doesn’t help. You have to put the other person’s feelings in perspective first, then deal with it or let it go.

  166. Thank you Ken! The self-awareness component is huge!For years I hadn’t understood why my stomach hurt all the time. Thinking milk would help coat my stomach-I just made myself more miserable…then wanting to eat to make my stomach quit hurting-which added calories that I didn’t need. But in doing some research I realized that milk might be the key. I quit milk. I also noticed that if I didn’t start my day out with protein, and just started it with carbs (i.e. cereal) I would about 1 1/2-2 hours later I would feel sluggish and tired. I a few years ago I started my day with a milk-free protein shake and I noticed I didn’t get the sluggish fatigue mid-morning and it teed me up to not have cravings either! This change in habit has caused a 25 lb weight loss! AND I feel 1000% better. Enough can’t be said for taking time for self-awareness and self engagement! Small wins, small changes can have a profound effect!

    • This is so true, Christine. Self-awareness is essential to changing habits; otherwise they continue to work in the background and remain unaltered.

  167. I really appreciate you stepping on my toes like you often do. Your posts serve as a reminder and nudge of my convictions. Thank you!

    • Every time I open the Bible God steps on my toes … and it’s so very helpful! May his Spirit continue to nudge us along on paths of righteousness.

  168. the 7 As have been huge in my conflict coaching and mediation ministry. The Lord has done miracles in melting broken hearts when I assign that template as prep for resolving an issue. This is a timely reminder. Thanks!

    • Thank you, Andrew. This is the only network television show I watch, simply because it provides such good examples of both relational wisdom and relational foolishness.

  169. This really touched my heart . . .partly because we are on the brink of this with our parents. . . and also because I have now completed your Relational Wisdom 102 and have become increasingly aware of how important relational wisdom is!! Thank you for sharing this! It is great! Eagerly waiting for your new study to come out!!

  170. My parents are 89 and 86. dad is getting more and more frail and mom has “short term memory Loss”. they are still in their home with a home care nurse that take care o them daily. mom is still joyful and dad has come out of his depression and is seeing others again. I recently asked one of my brothers, who is retired and moving back into the area, if he would consider moving in with my parents. I was not comfortable with all his conditions and demands and it didn’t wok out. I was thinking of all the blessings he would miss from being around these 2 treasures for their last years.

    • You’re right, Carl. These are precious years that end all too soon. Keep praying that God would soften your brother’s heart and bless him and your parents with sweet fellowship in this special season of life.

  171. Over time, I’ve discovered the only expectations I have are of people who have made vows before God and His People: which includes only my spouse — and my church leaders.

  172. Ken, I really loved reading your blog today! You make such an important point but I also got a really good laugh. Blessings to you and Corlette.
    Vivian

  173. Thanks so much for sharing that. I reaaaaly need it.! I anticipate such a practice will put a whole new face on some of the less pleasant conduct one inevitably encounters in the pursuit of peacemaking.

  174. Really good stuff! So Grateful for His mercy and grace! Especially since I need it so often! Peacemaking is not the route for quitters that’s for sure!

  175. Wow. What a timely article. As pastors of a small congregation, this morning 2 of our leaders are leaving the church and not fulfilling commitments. It is easy to become overwhelmed, but I am going to use this as a springboard to worship and remember, GOD’S GOT THIS.

    • So true, Diane. I recently heard a sermon about Moses and all the suffering he and the nation of Israel when through. After most of the descriptions of the ir hardships, the Scriptures say, “But God …” Those two words change everything!

  176. Reading this at the perfect time as changing our habits can also be part of how we respond to our spouse or others. Our Bible study group has been working through ” it’s someone else’s fault” mentality. We are having a special prayer service on Monday night to address this. Now I believe habits will be part of the intercession. Thx u

  177. Hi Ken,

    Thank you for the great examples. Sometimes I have difficulty coming up with questions to ask. I have been so used to being un-interested in others, or maybe I should just say self-absorbed sometimes, that asking these questions does not come easily to me. Often times, it is easier to think of questions after an encounter. I really hope to become more other-engaging.

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog and going through the 7 week bible study. What wonderful, applicable, and easy acrostics. I appreciate all the thought, work, research, and care that you put into every post!

    Blessings,

    Michelle

    • Thank you, Michelle. I wasn’t very good at these kinds of questions either, for the same reasons. It takes a bit of practice, but by God’s grace we really can grow! What I often think is, “How can I simply show that I’m interested in this person’s life?” And then questions come to mind.

  178. Dear Ken,
    Your incisive observations about the way different wives feel about their husbands are very touching.
    They relate to my situation, and reflect the yearning I have to experience the same attitudes of tenderness that you express.
    But love, Godly love, guides me to return soft words in response to hard attitudes. I am not always successful, but I know I must keep trying to be what He wants me to be. Unless I do this, I cannot hope for a caressing word.

    • What a gracious attitude you have, Ed. Corlette and I prayed for your right away this morning, asking that God would give you peace and joy in your heart regardless of others’ behavior, and also that he would do a miraculous work in your wife’s heart to enable her to express the tenderness God has designed us to share with those around us, especially within our families.

  179. This really strikes a nerve with me today, as we are experiencing terrible conflict in our immediate family and we need help.

  180. Thanks Ken, Truth really does bring freedom; your words guiding me to Ps 37 are the protein my weary spirit needs today! Sharing this post that others may be strengthened and steadfast; you’re in our prayers of thanksgiving, keep up the good work.
    Blessed by rw360!!
    K.Moorhead
    Seattle

  181. I just want to praise the Lord for opening our eyes to His will and and convicting us of our shortcomings, so we may be humbled in His presense

  182. Ken, I received a French version of this article from Sylvio, our partner, can we use it for our French website (www.evangile21.org) ? You will get full credit. Thanks for considering my request (and sorry if it is not the best place to ask that question).

    • Yes, please feel free to use it on your website. Feel free to review our website to see if there is anything else you’d like translate and use.
      Ken

  183. I heard about the same 3 Ps (and the 2 out of 3 minimum) from a medical doctor. Considering that negative medical outcomes can be death, this satisfaction construct seems to be very powerful.

  184. Thank you for your heart for Europe. We served in France for 20 years and it remains our deep desire to see Europeans reconciled to God and each other. Will be praying for you!

    • Thank you, Jeannie! We are very excited to see how God is going to grow us and allow us to serve others in the coming week. I appreciate your prayers.

  185. Dear Ken, I was at ELF (where I help facilitate the Youth Ministry Network) and I just want to say a huge thank you for your ministry there. I’d read your book The Peacemaker and took in your seminar at ELF last year year. Superb stuff!
    And I was looking forward to your evening plenary… your talk on relational leadership and Relational Wisdom was among some of the best things I have ever heard. It was Biblical, practical and yes full of wisdom! I’m studying for a masters in transformational leadership at the moment and I have to say in the midst of reading and studying a lot of leadership material… Relational Wisdom 360 was some of the most refreshing and encouraging things I have heard. so important and so needed. I certainly want to learn more and develop relational wisdom.
    Thank you & God bless you

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Paul. I’m excited to connect with so many outstanding Christian leaders in Europe and look forward to seeing how God might allow us to labor together to extend his kingdom!

  186. Thank you for this post. We are becoming like Jesus. We will be like Him when we see Him. There is great freedom in remembering that we are all still “in process.”

  187. Answered prayer, though I’m appreciated for my insights, but know I tend to be teachy/preachy, problem-solving, let me tell what you need to know about that so we can move on! Know I’m a clanging cymbal sometimes and noticing other’s body language, have prayed to shift it. So appreciate your honesty and humility, sometimes best “taught” by example. Thank you Ken, for all the ways you make the world better by faithfully serving and advancing the Kingdom of God, blessings on your family and your work…

    • Isn’t it great to know that God will continue his good work in us every day, conforming to the likeness of Christ!

  188. Great word Ken, thank you for your honesty and transparency, it shows me and others that I/we are not alone. I am by nature and profession (engineer) a problem solver. It seems like too often my attempts to communicate fall flat and result in silence. I have seen this pattern for years and have recognized before that it is not healthy, I try and do better, but the cycle has a tendency to repeat itself. My 2 daughters are now in their late teens, and in just the last couple months I have been “encouraged” or rather challenged by a new friend to re-evaluate how I speak to my girls. So your post is very appropriate and timely for me personally, thanks so much.

    • Sounds like we’re cut from the same cloth, Richard! It’s great to know that by God’s grace we can continue to grow and change so we can love those around us better.

  189. What a wonderful example of Christ-likeness and true humility! Lord please teach me and all Your people how to humble ourselves before You and others and trust You to make us more like Jesus.

  190. There is so much prejudice in the world. I am so glad that we are all equal at the foot of the cross. No matter the sin or our nationality.

  191. I am grateful to be reminded that when others mess up, I do not need to respond in a judgmental way, I can just help them to clean it up.

  192. Bitterness can be very hard to let go of. When we realize it is a sin that Christ died for, it becomes easier to let the wrong go. I know I have hurt God more than anyone has ever hurt me.

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Andy. I thank God for the privilege of serving these ministries, which allowed me to meet so many people like you!

  193. Wow. I wept, just reading this article. Thanks for sharing it. I had never applied this passage to personal conflicts. I don’t think I’ll ever fail to apply it going forward.

  194. This causes me to reflect on my work place and the team that I lead. I want it to be a place where the love of God is expressed. Expressed to the extent that even when one walks in to our shop, there is a difference in how it feels, even if no one should be there. While I want there to be such dignity given, and love expressed. that a desire just to be there is felt. And still; I am floored to discover that I am somewhat loth to hear the stories of people’s lives, to feel their pain with them. It seems that I am willing to give dignity, and express the love of Christ. But to truly hear the hurts and needs of others, I shrink back.

    • I understand your reaction, David. I sometimes feel the same way. I can show a certain amount of compassion and grace but then seem to hit a wall where it’s hard to go further. I think that’s when God shows me that I’ve come to the end of myself and I can only really love and care for others in his strength.

  195. The ability of an athlete to maintain focus on their body, it’s abilities, strengths, weakness, and other variability’s. Then to accept the input of others, process that input, interleaf it into their own observations and push on those areas that seam to have no fruit, is a exercise in self awareness that is so intense. To then reframe that same intensity into other awareness is an effort that is not often observed, And to then once again reframe that intensity to God awareness, that is even more of an inspiration or coaching event. A time of being told; yes it can be done and it is possible for you (me) to do it.

  196. Look me in the eye!

    How often I heard that phrase as a child; and it seems it was always at a time when someone was angry with me.
    In our society looking someone in the eyes is such an important thing to do. I am so.. aware of its importance, and it is not for lack of resolve, I fail. Even with my wife of nearly 34 years I have difficulty. And yes, I have a very hard time with reading faces. One can’t read a face without looking at it. The knee jerk reply: a lack of veracity, or, hiding something. I would that was the case. And yes I recognize this an area in need of repair and restoration. It is a crippling that needs healing. A crippling that separates and alienates.

    • The very fact that you’ve identified this tendency and want to change it is a major step in the right direction, David. I encourage you to talk with your wife and also find a pastor or wise friend and share your concern with them, asking them to help you discern why it’s hard to look others in the eye. If you can get to the heart issue, it will be easier to see ways to change. I’ve prayed specifically for you on this!

  197. Thank you for sharing. Completely understand the career transition without liberty to discus and the subsequent, “A few people assumed the worst … and shared their judgments with others. Some of their gossip circulates to this day.”

    Jesus leans- in so I will , too!

  198. Good and timely ‘blog’ today. God must inform you, Ken, when i need to get something ‘right’ on the second or third try. My 6-year-old alter ego keeps getting in the way after 34 years of correction and education. It seems like he wants to ‘take-his-marbles’ and go home all too often. I sure do appreciate your role in the re-building the wreckage of the past. Just as i got to 77, the LORD gaveme some new work for HIM.

    Andy

    • God is so gracious to continue his transforming work in us … even when we act like six-year-olds! Let’s ask him to keep us growing until the day we die.

  199. J David, for some people, maintaining eye contact is very painful. This can be because the person has a very mild form of autism, despite otherwise doing pretty well socially. There are many misconceptions about autism. Some mild cases are easy to miss, like Christian songwriter and musician Lori Sealy, who blogged about this on The Mighty, https://themighty.com/2016/10/what-its-like-to-live-with-high-functioning-autism/ Along with talking to your wife and pastor, I would look for a good Christian counselor or psychologist with experience helping people on the autism spectrum. There are strategies you can learn to help you cope, and if you are affected by this condition, it may help your loved ones to better understand why you don’t make much eye contact.

  200. So compelling, my heart broke and rejoiced at the same time! What an example of Christ’s love, mercy and grace the Thomas family showed the Beckers. Sadly, I usually find myself in the throws of my emotions. I pray God used this course to help teach me self-control in that area.

  201. Thanks Ken for this important article. This has bothered me for many years. You offer excellent suggestions for leaders and churches willing to be intentional about the fruitfulness of their ministry. Thanks!

  202. Without having read the books you have cited; I will respond form personal observation as a PK (preachers kid) about one dynamic I observed repeatedly.

    Pastors are people also, and they, like their congregants, have varying range of emotional health. So… when conflict arises, as it invariably will, the ability to deal with it positively is highly variable also.

    The term sheep bite, is a real phenomenon; though seldom acknowledged. Whether out of fear, pain, paranoia or just revenge; a bite is a bite, and the pain inflicted, is real. It is a personal observation, but it in the situations I’ve seen, it is much harder for those under the leadership to acknowledge their role in inflicting pain. But, only when sins are fully acknowledged by both parties and forgiveness truly extended is restoration really possible.

    One would think that genocide in Rwanda would be so painful that forgiveness would be near impossible for the Tutsis. When you see the person that was your classmate in school, married your sister, then kill your family, hacking them to death with a machete. To forgive that person is hard to say to least. But to be set free from the demons of hate it is necessary to do so. It is not just the perpetrator asking for forgiveness but the victim who was harmed that needs to extend forgiveness; just as desperately. An illustration of how this dynamic works is told in “The Bishop of Rwanda”.

    It truly is, the rightness of Christ that sets us free.

    • Excellent insights, David. Emotionally healthy leaders are far better prepared to navigate relational challenges wisely and constructively.

    • I had not established this ministry and was not writing a blog when President Obama was elected. And as far as I can remember, his election did not trigger this level of emotional turmoil.

  203. Yes, the information was available in Scripture. Ken, thanks for commentary. Christians need ask themselves questions about how the result and the response impacts their daily lives, attitudes, thoughts, words and relationships, in light of the Word of God.

  204. movie 1: The Count of Monte Christo
    The hero was framed, then jailed. His adversary was he friend. His near failure was being dominated by bitterness. Later he realized that bitterness was destroying his life and he remembered the words of the old man he met in jail… and the moral is that bitterness can be redeemed.
    movie 2: Braveheart
    The hero led his country against his adversary, the King of England. He was near failure when his anger clouded his ability to think straight and reason. He realized that his country was looking to him to lead and without his leadership, they would be conquered. The moral of the story is to always focus on what you value the most and do the right thing.

  205. I can truly relate to this article in my relationship with my son. I picked up some things from this article that I can change such as don’t micromanage everything and I learned some things that I’m sure my son is thinking in his mind as well.

  206. What spoke to me the most out of this passage:

    “But you are so gracious. You don’t demand detailed confessions from me. All I need to say is, “God, please help me.” And then without rebuke, you cover me with your mercy and forgiveness, washing away the stain of my sin.”

    “Help me to come to you more like Drew came to me. Humble, without excusing or blaming. Simply admitting my need and depending utterly on you as the only one who can clean me.”

    In conclusion – I don’t need a lengthly confession of what I did wrong. I humbly ask for God’s forgiveness and am reminded of my dependence on Him!!

  207. Highlights I took away from this teaching:
    * we teach boys to “stuff” their emotions. Which affects them long-term with their relationships such as with their wives.
    * Church leaders need higher relational skills.
    * we need to learn to read our own emotions and manage them. We also need to be able to read other peoples.
    * God designed us to be in relationships.
    * We often lecture in the church.
    * we need to make the gospel relevant and practical.
    * Being compassionate doesn’t always solve the problem they need truth.
    * Connect with your people on real life issues.

  208. Submitting to the authority of others and making sure I keep a good outlook are emotional strengths that help me in all areas of life. However, empathy is hard for me. My first reaction is often to be on the defensive or to blame myself. Drawing out what is in someone’s heart (Prov. 20:5) is a “soft skill” that I would love to have as my initial reaction to others instead of defensiveness.

  209. When under stress, I don’t often grumble, but I do turn inward, becoming somber and quiet. The best way to deal with these times is to be around and in communication with others

  210. I have a grandson with autism. I think this movie would be a great springboard for dealing with his own emotions and being more aware of the emotions of others. He’ll be in middle school next year, which will bring a whole new set of emotional challenges. God’s perfect timing.

  211. The key to avoiding situations like those at the beginning of the blog or in the movie clip is to seek God before trying to spin our own solutions. The book of Genesis is riddled with stories of people who tried to help God out with their own solutions, which led to problems and heart ache that lasted for generations.

  212. “But at work he dominated conversations, listened poorly, and was oblivious to how his pride and defensiveness offended others, stifled creativity, and damaged morale”. This portion was powerful to me. There’s a few areas here I need to work on.

  213. Wow!! I’m going to write some of these key points that struck me in my journal and maybe even post them on my mirror in the bathroom so that I am reminded daily!!

  214. I need to implement: turning away and biting my tongue ( if need be ) and giving myself a few minutes before I lash out with my flesh. I too often speak out of my emotions instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me.

  215. I can think of so many times that I have let myself be hijacked by my own emotions and said or did things that are so uncharacteristic for me. It seems to happen the most when I am preoccupied with something critical. Years ago when my husband was in a burn unit with life threatening burns, I came back from visiting him to find that my three year old had wet her pants. This small thing stacked up on the stress of not knowing if Tim would survive caused me to lose control and literally throw her into the bathtub. Luckily, angels caught her and prevented any injury. I just stood there stunned for a moment by what had happened and I apologized profusely. It’s a blessing that she has no memory of what happened now that she is a mother of four. Never before or since had I ever done anything like that. Now whenever I hear about a parent injuring a child, I understand and pray for them.

  216. According to the Bible references, we need to make love our first reaction to confrontation although that is easier said than done. I would have to say that I usually control or withdraw in situations like that.

  217. The reflection question says if you were dealing with an 11-year-old, but I have a 12-year-old and so that’s the age I’m going to base my answer from. At 12, preteens don’t want to be “pre”-anything anymore. They look up to older teens, and peer approval is crucial for their sense of identity. Twelve-year-olds can be critical of themselves and their appearance (usually because they want to look just like their peers). But tottering between childhood and the teen years means that one minute you have a child on your hands and the next a young would-be teen. Emotions can swing wildly!!! Teaching kids, especially pre-teens, who they are in Christ is so important! Teaching them to use the word of God as their rulebook and standard for living. In God’s word they will find out that they don’t need to compare themselves to others and they don’t have to go by their emotions. That they have powerful tools such as the fruit of the spirit (love Joy peace patients kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness and self-control) that can help them take a stand against wrong emotions.

  218. I will be sure to order the book. I have two teenagers at home! It’s so important that we teach our kids about purity. I know that I can do a better job of teaching my kids about purity! Also the dangerous potential of the neurochemicals and hormones that impact their thinking, emotions, and life-changing decisions. Wow!!!

  219. Well I truly believe I tried it all for 4 yrs. Thank you for your insight. I am a casebook for the foolish way that churches handle marital conflict. In so cal where folks especially pastors consider themselves educated, aware and maybe even evolved for lack of better word. The churches are still uneducated and unaware of how to mediate and actually be a part of reconcilliation. They rather bail out! Peace keepers not peace makers.
    My husband finally pushed the last button and filed, not because we have your usual anger fighting etc that folks believe leads to that, but for simple financial difficulties, financial unfaithfulness and dishonest on his part ironically.. That seems to scare people more than sexual infidelity or even addictions. (although secrecy-control is an addiction in its own right.)
    Our church (2 male pastors) turned on me when i asked others in our small groups to interveine on my husbands divorce filing so he could force me to sell our home that was advised against by at least 2 financial professionals. I was repremanded for speaking about our marital dificulties, even though i believe i was discreet and was hand in hand with a professional christian therapist ref by focus on the family. The pastors of our 300 member church actually told me i was banned from all church small groups. Although my husband keeping the secret of his filing divorce, while going to couples group with me lovey dovey and his 15 man bible study-even leading it, was allowed to continue as long as he did not speak of me or the divorce..Yes the pastors would not even speak to me for an in person meeting. Just 2, 15 minute phone calls and then they e mailed me to ex communicate me and dumped me, no direction or follow up of me or how broken our 14 year old daughter is by my husbands emotional and financial abandonment of us for 3 years.
    Two months after my husband filed i am still living with him kindly sleeping with and cooking and paying all bills while he lied and hid assetts, i hired a attorney. He is clearly seeking fraud and lo and behold my husband is also being sued for 5 mil for fraud,by a secular co while my husband was running a large LA ministry. Yep the lawyer is secular although i found him through an elder/lawyer at my old four square church. What a awefull witness my husband and the bumbling churches are to this secular man with integrity and respect among professionals and others. I recomended you to my pastors as well as the counselors for resources. They blew all off. I am 53, a 31 yr christian raised up in four square, Jack Hayford. I hope and pray that I can bring truth power light and strength to the church somehow after all this. I previously made a living in the film biz. My daughter too. My husband of five years I married after i was widowed and he adopted my daughter at 10. Now 14. She is turned off to God by his bible reading church going then abusive lying ways. But God has a plan. Fraud is basically hypocracy right. I am praying you can come to my new church in the south bay of la to train some folks in mediation,conflict resolution, or just speak on it. Thanks.

    • I’m sorry to hear of your painful experience, both with your husband and your church. These experiences are all too common in our culture today. I am schedules to so a full day seminar in Carlsbad on March 11. See our seminar calendar. I hope you can attend and encourage others to do so as well … especially church leaders.

  220. Ken, I could not agree with you more about this movie–loved, loved, loved it. These women modeled what it means to live dignified and gracious lives wrapped in a holy confidence. It was inspiring to see that the discrimination they encountered daily did not cause them to second guess their God-given talents. Oh what lessons we could all learn from these women.

    • Amen! As long as we live in a fallen world, we will see and experience sinful discrimination … even the early church had to be warned about pride, prejudice and favoritism. It is a great blessing to have examples like these three women to challenge and inspire us.

  221. How powerful a smile can be. This teaching can be used in any environment work, school, church, home, grocery store etc. Love the scripture!

  222. What an eye-opener! The difference between how I treat people when they sin against me and how God treats me when I sin against Him. I have a lot of growing to do in this area!!!

  223. Next time I’m faced with the situation I’m going to remember this prayer: “This is my situation, my Lord. Show me how I can use it to please and honor you.”
    That is so powerful to me!!

  224. The part that stood out to me the most:

    “When Megan hit fifteen, her emotions went into hyper-drive. Her limbic system (the emotional part of the brain) was fully wired. But as is the case with all of us, her prefrontal cortex (the rational part of the brain) would not finish developing for another decade.

    That’s right, the brain continues to physically change until our mid-twenties, and the part that restrains impulsive behavior develops last! Combine this typical teenage imbalance with original sin, and you have a child whose life is often characterized by self-absorption, careless decisions, rash words, and clashes with mom and dad.”

    This explains SO MUCH!! It gives me a better understanding of my own teenagers. I wish I would of read this material years ago!!

    • The wonderful news is that through God’s redeeming grace, Megan is now a godly young woman, happily married to a fine Christian man and raising two adorable children. We see them two or three times a week and rejoice in our close relationship.

  225. I’m so guilty! I tend to get defensive or point out that “it wasn’t my fault or so and so didn’t do their part”.

    Lord please help me to humble myself and respond in a way that honors You!

    This part of the passage really stood out for me: “Most importantly, Susan turned her thoughts to the Lord and silently prayed, “God, please show me how you want me to respond.”

    A recent sermon on 1 Peter 2:21-23Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) came to mind, reminding her how Jesus had left her an example by suffering wrong without retaliating and by trusting his Father to make things right in his own way.

    She then thought of Romans 12:17Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), which teaches that when we are being mistreated we should speak and act so properly that any reasonable person who eventually learns all the facts will acknowledge that what we did was right.

  226. No, praise God, there is no one who needs a call!
    Colossians 1:20
    Through the Son, God also reconciled all things to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, thereby making peace through the blood of his cross.

  227. wow!! Really good!! To know the difference between general revelation and common grace is very helpful, especially when dealing with unbelievers. I had several “lightbulb moments” when reading this article. Good information!!

  228. After scrolling through the hundred plus articles to choose from regarding relational wisdom. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how many different areas relational wisdom can be used. In fact I even found one about losing weight and healthy eating. Side note – I read two different articles today. The Lord used one specific word that was in both articles to speak to me today. Very thankful for that!! God is FAITHFUL!!

  229. Wow! It took me watching the video three times before I noticed the bear! Needless to say I have a lot of work to do in the area of other awareness!!

  230. Ken, Kathy and I have always admired your willingness to be vulnerable and share your life with all who know you, the good, the bad, the ugly, something that many of us are not willing to do. So for you to share your current situation in a way that glorifies God (1 Cor. 10:31) should not be a surprise to any of us. Just know that we are joining all the others that are praying for you, Corlette, and the rest of the family.

    • Thank you, Larry. I’ve certainly found that people connect with us more at our points of weakness than our points of strength. God has given us trails to help us grow but he has also been very gentle, never giving us more than his grace enables us to handle.

  231. God please help me to breathe out grace to others specifically in the area of: looking for the good in others instead of the bad. In Jesus name! Amen

    • The more we breathe in his grace through worship, prayer, study and fellowship, the more more grace we have to breathe out to others.

    • As my kids grew, I found new and usually shorter ways to communicate the same concept, sometimes in a single sentence. When time permits, I’ll try to post some of those ideas.

  232. Funny thing happened to me – i’m sitting in my car (in the Safeway parking lot) eating my lunch and doing this lesson. The vehicle next to me is a pick up, the guy comes out of Safeway gets into his pick up and hits my car with his door. I instantly get irritated as he doesn’t even realize or know that he just hit my car. Needless to say by the end of this lesson ( especially after watching the video ) I changed my tone.

  233. Wow! I want so badly to remember this and apply these things to my life daily! I will be writing some of these things down on index cards so that I don’t forget !!

  234. Ouch!! Guilty! Excellent excellent article! I especially love the part that said: ask God to use the sting of human correction to show me where he is calling me to change and grow! That is my prayer! God I also ask You to make my heart tender and teachable even when it hurts!!

  235. Last time when my whole family gathered together for Christmas and New Year (more than 10 days) in our home. It was us 21 people just children and grandchildren. It was noisy all day and night. My youngest daughter say that she miss some vacation time. My older daughter answers : I am working hard for few years to afford trip for five of home just to have the feeling to be home, for me this are great vacation. This encourage me a lot. I hope their relationship will grow. Even I was feeling so tired after I was happy.

    • It’s wonderful that God continues to work in our lives and families over long periods of time, giving us hope that change and growth is always possible. May he continue to draw your family closer and closer together!

  236. This is so true in relationship with people. We to quickly jump to conclusion. I see this often when I watch some video with my husband, when we discuss after often happens that we understand some details completely different.
    We need to watch some part of the movie again to really understand what was said. In every day conversation we do not have the possibility to stop end rewind. You gave great encouragement to think about clarity and not judging others to quickly. I wish to learn this approach in my daily relationship .

    • You’re absolutely right. We can learn and grow in this area, learning to be more charitable as we are conformed to the image of Christ.

  237. Mr. Sande,
    Lord bless you for posting this powerful video on God’s mighty work in restoring broken marriages. Unfortunately, I was unfaithful to my husband, throughout the course of our very very quick dating and almost 5 years of marriage. I didn’t know I was a very broken, hurting, angry woman, mom arise from suffering deep traumatic emotional pain during childhood. I was a product of an alcoholic abusive Father and a mother that never learned to set healthy boundaries for herself and her relationships. It’s been 5.5 years since my dear husband walked out of my life, our 2 year old daughter and his 2 step daughter’s. 1 year after he left; he filed the divorce, which finalized 2 years ago. I have shared the good news to him, that I found Jesus! I have begged him in many ways to forgive me and return back to our family. (Written letters/verbally) and nothing! His typical response is to ignore all my efforts and attempts. He’s also decided to not coparent with me regardless of what our shared custody orders indicate. In true honesty, sometimes, I do feel there’s no hope for our dead relationship.

    • I’m sorry to hear of the great pain you’ve experienced, Norma, especially as you see the impact on your daughters. That must be very hard. And yet in the midst of that pain, you can know that all of your sins have been paid for and washed away by the blood of Christ. He has paid your debt in full … just as he’s paid my debt in full. Even though the eternal consequences of our sins are paid for by him, we must often continue to live with some of of the worldly consequences, just as King David did. I pray the Lord will eventually soften your husband’s heart. But even if he doesn’t, you can be sure that God’s love for you and your daughters is lavish and unceasing, and he will continue to watch over you as he continues to his sanctifying work in your lives. If you’d like to go through our online training as a way to continuing growing, I’d be happy to provide a full scholarship. Just email me at mail@rw360.org.

  238. Ken, I am praying as you requested and will continue to pray as you plan, travel, and speak at these events. Our Lord has graciously called and equipped you. May He draw Congressional leaders to the breakfast and seminar with hearts hungry for His healing touch and for the message of Relational Wisdom. I also pray that your individual conversations with people would be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so you would know how to answer everyone. (Col 4:6)

  239. I’m so excited about the holy possibilities of your Washington, D.C. ministry. I’m a Democrat and my husband, Bob is a Republican, and I know it is possible to constructive, even somewhat enjoyable conversations with occasionally differing views.

    I will indeed be praying for our country, our leadership and you. Could you post which days you will be there next week and possibly the times you will be meeting?

    • Thank you, Marsha. It’s great to hear that you and your husband are able discuss these issues constructively. I hope others can learn from your example! The training next week will be on Friday morning, June 23, (breakfast meeting at 8:30, staff meeting at 11) and Saturday, June 24 (seminar from 9:30-3). Thank you for your prayers!

  240. Thank you, Ken, for how you are going to ‘Show & Tell’ a much better way to deal with opposition in the hub of our nation next week! I will be praying, also.

  241. Ken, my husband Jack attended your seminar in early March in Alexandria, Virginia, and brought 5 other members from our congregation. We have also taught your peacemaking principles to the singles and marrieds in our church – what a blessing!

    We are so grateful for the opportunity God is giving you to speak on the only real hope our country has for reconciliation and unity and for officials in Washington and their families to hear it. We are in prayer for you to speak boldly, fully utilizing the Holy Spirit as you do!

    • Thank you, Barbara. God used the Alexandria training to connect me with the folks who are hosting the upcoming events. He is quite the connector! Thank you for your prayers. May God do a very great work next week!

  242. This is a most heart-warming story. Thank you for your heart and for this simple but powerful example that serves as a reminder of how we are called to relate to all others.

  243. Salt, light. Thanks, Ken. I am typically so self-absorbed that I fail to do even this sort of simple, life-giving act.

  244. I think about this blog post every time my son and I hear the Sirius XM Kids’ Place Live channel play the song “Serotonin” by Mista Cookie Jar (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3ebgUM9krs). Proverbs 17:22 seems to indicate a strong link between mind/mood and physiology, and while I do not mean to suggest that giddy warm fuzzies are an end in themselves or a worthy object of worship, I wonder whether a Godwardly-oriented cheerful heart may encounter fewer impediments to apprehending wisdom and making wise, discerning judgments.

  245. My word, did I ever need to read this one today. While I struggle with the wrongdoing OF others, which is real, I very seldom struggle with my own wrongdoing TOWARD others, also real.
    Thank you, Ken. This has helped me a lot. Blessings to you and your sweet family.

    • Thank you, Marilyn. Corlette and I were just talking about you last weekend. We had our grandchildren for the weekend, which was a great joy but also left us a bit tired. It made us thank God for people like you, who have stepped in to raise their grandchildren. You’ve changed the course of child’s life.

  246. A very helpful article! Something our church has adopted is an exit interview. Though the only ones I have heard of resulted in the person or family leaving (then again, if they didn’t leave it would have been counseling maybe), they were all positive. Often the person leaving was even helped in finding a good church that would fit better.
    One of the reasons could also be an opportunity to use your gifts or a specific ministry God seems to be leading you into. An example might be cross-cultural or international student or refugee ministry that may be better facilitated in a different church.

  247. I do not believe that “fit” is an appropriate reason to leave a church. Many people church shop because they like the newest trend in church and they deem the trendier church a better fit than a church that has solid doctrine and Biblical preaching. I LOVE your posts and read them regularly. This is the first time I have disagreed with a part of your recommendations. Leaving due to preferences is like leaving a marriage because you don’t fit with your spouse any longer or you’ve grown apart. Being a member of a church family requires commitment; and barring some heinous and unrepented sin on the part of the leadership or the teaching of false doctrine, people need to honor a commitment that they make to be part of God’s family.

    • Thank you for your candid feedback, Erin. It is good to discuss the nuances of these principles thoroughly! I agree that Christians should not change churches for casual reasons, especially because of mere preferences or because another church is more “trendy.” That’s why I tried to limit the “valid reasons” list in section 1 as tightly as I did. As important as membership vows are, however, would not raise them to the same level as marriage vows. I’m not aware of any church that includes “until death do us part” in their membership vows, nor do I see the Bible giving that level of permanence to membership vows. Having said that, I certainly agree, and have told many people, that membership vows are significant and should not be lightly set aside. As for valid reasons, I do not think that a leader’s sin needs to be “heinous and unrepentant” to justify leaving. An ongoing pattern of non-heinous sin (e.g., gossip, sharing confidential information, insensitive remarks in sermons, sarcasm, etc.) can erode a leader’s credibility so much that people could no longer give full weight to his messages or respect his counsel and correction, especially if it concerned the misbehavior he himself is guilty of. In any case, thanks to your feedback, I did tighten up the language in the last paragraph of section 6 to remove the world “fit” so that people would not think that one word diluted the import of the rest the post. Thank you for helping me to see the need for that clarification.

  248. speaking as the wife of a pastor (now retired and in poor health), i concur with your comments. I can’t overemphasize the importance of speaking with those in church leadership. often the pastor is the last one spoken to instead of one of the first, when a person is unhappy. if they came to the pastor or some of the elders first instead of speaking to all their friends first, so many issues would be clarified…as you teach so well in other places!

    most of the churches where we have served have suffered splits a few years before our coming. the damage to relationships is so deep, it takes quite awhile to minister and relate in healthy biblical ways before people learn and change…and even then, the work can be undone in a minute it seems.

    it is good to know this is GOD’s church. He is building it. but satan loves sowing discord and we seem to follow him so easily. it is sad.

    • Amen! The same is true in so many relationships. If we let things fester instead of going and talking about our concerns when they are still manageable, things will almost inevitably deteriorate. That must be why Jesus places such a high priority on going and talking to others as soon as we sense there may be a problem!

  249. What a great way to look at a what could have been a problem. This attitude completely defused the situation. Often in life, we hear the saying, “Life is not fair.” This person could have taken this attitude towards Jim, but instead understood and defused.

  250. Hi Mr Sande,

    Thanks for your helpful and timely article on bitterness. I just had a Gospel interaction with a potentially unsaved friend yesterday. She confessed to me her struggle with bitterness. In the course of our conversation, we had even touched on grieving the Holy Spirit and forgiving others as we’ve been forgiven by God. Your article is perfect. I’ve sent her the link.

    Just wanted to bring to your attention to typos I spotted. I didn’t want them to be a distraction to my friend so I thought I’d mention it to you. I put an asterisk by the two corrected missing/misspelled words below:

    “especially for the countless times has he* forgiven me for disobeying and hurting him.

    Third, by meditating on the many promises God makes to comfort, sanctify and bless us* when others have harmed us….”

    Thank you very much!

  251. Looks like my comment to you was full of typos itself! I apologize for that although its irony is humourous! Here’s my correction:

    “Just wanted to bring to your attention two* typos I spotted. I didn’t want them to be a distraction to my friend so I thought I’d mention it to you. I put an asterisk by the two corrected missing/misspelled words below:

    “especially for the countless times he* has* forgiven me for disobeying and hurting him.

    Third, by meditating on the many promises God makes to comfort, sanctify and bless us* when others have harmed us….”

  252. Ken,
    This was a very good and timely article for me in my marriage. However, it is very difficult to put this into practice when my husband is making his acceptance of me conditional on this change. How can we have a relationship that is really loving and open when he will only accept me on these terms?

  253. Just being “nice” can be as phony as a 3 dollar bill. We can be ‘nice’ and hate and gossip. Being firm and loving is harder, but more encouraging and more likely to last. “Tough love” has its place in raising kids and maintaining real friendships and love relationships. The Bishop’s statement that he is turning Jean Val Jean over to God now will prove to be tough love at its best.

  254. Wonderful post! Thank you for this deep and abiding truth. I love Lincoln’s heart and wisdom “have I not destroyed my enemy when I make him my friend?” Lord teach us Your ways, that we may walk in Your truth. Thank you Ken
    Sincerely,
    Jeanne DeBenedictis

  255. Regarding the “it wasn’t intentional” and the “it wasn’t personal” comments, isn’t that a bit of a harsh broad-brushed judgment? I can think of many times that people are just overwhelmed with many things at once in life – and may raise their voice or snap or respond shortly in the moment without meaning to. A gracious and forgiving heart wouldn’t necessarily automatically jump to such an uncharitable conclusion as, “well they just don’t care enough to take the time to soften their responses.”

    • I understand your concern, BJ, and I would not make an absolute rule about never offering an explanation. But if you look at Cathy’s comment, you’ll see why offering explanations usually does not help.

  256. I understand how a confession needs to be authentic without a defensive posture or not taking personal responsibility. I believe that we need to investigate why a godly confession is so difficult and at times feels impossible.
    At times, a confession can connect us to our deepest issues of shame, betrayal, and condemnation. This well of hurt and deception seems to influence us not to confess. Overcoming these strongholds requires a deep commitment to Christ and belief that obedience to Him will result in new freedom. I think of God speaking to Joshua as he stands before the promise land. Joshua is told to have courage in God and His promised victories. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.” Joshua 1:7. The new land, the freedom in Christ in overcoming whatever the resistance/thinking/disobedience/fear is in owning our sin in the present conflict requires courage. Ultimately will we have faith in our understanding, logic, family of origin rules of living, past hurts etc or do we step into the new land, confessing our sin, with our eyes on Christ and our hope in His Promises?

  257. “It wasn’t intentional” is a huge one for me. I have a tendency to try to explain my behavior, and why I didn’t intend to do any harm. But my explanation usually comes across as justification instead. I try to say, “Why my behavior was wrong (but understandable in light of the circumstances)”. But instead, people hear me saying, “Why my behavior wasn’t wrong.” I have learned to stop trying to give explanations because they distract from the apology, which is the only thing that is really needed. Even if I think I might have an excuse, I filter out the excuse and say the words, “I have no excuse.” I have found that people receive that much better, and once the apology is complete, very often a fuller discussion may follow where they may (or may not) be interested in my “reasons”.

    • This is so wise, Cathy! You’ve done a great job explaining how our words come across regardless of our intent.

  258. This was VERY helpful. Shared it:
    As we consider how we rise to the challenge, “…be always ready to give an account to whoever might ask of the Hope that is within us…”,
    this wise counsel warrants our continual & serious attention.

  259. Thanks for sharing this post and your insights into Reagan’s relational wisdom. I look forward to reading the Reagan book. Team of Rivals (and anything Lincoln) is indeed a tremendous book highlighting Lincoln’s mastery of relational wisdom. I look forward to your insights on Lincoln as well. You do a great job at peeling back the onion layers and helping us apply these skills in our lives.

    • Thank you, Allen. Both of these men were political giants because they had enormous relation skills. Much for us to imitate!

  260. Do you have any posts relating to this statement: “This victory was secured largely by his ability to manage his emotions.” I’d like to learn how to not let my emotions interfere with my relationships.
    Thanks for your ministry!

    • Thank you for your interest in learning more about managing emotions. A starting point would be to go to the front page of our website and click on the blog topics of “emotion” and “hijacking,” and read some of those posts. For even greater progress, I encourage you to take advantage of our online course at https://Academy.rw360.org.

  261. What a lovely story. I have prayed for and look forward to this happening in my family one day. My parents and siblings have shunned me and my husband and divided our extended family with gossip and lies for 10 years.

    My husband and I have sought counseling and even tried the Peacemaker Ministry. Everyone we have met with feel ill equipped to help in such a deep and painful family dynamic.

  262. I love that Jeff got it at such a young age. What a wonderful testimony! I tried to fix my sons for a long time until addiction showed up and I was powerless. It was a humbling road to walk and I grew to trust the Lord. Today that son has been sober over 6 years, and he is slowly finding his way in life I know God is not done with him! And I know my job is to love him and encourage him.

  263. “Many of our habits are spiritually neutral, such as the way we brush our teeth or the route we drive to work.” Are they? If we brush our teeth half-heartedly, are we taking care of the image in which God has created us? If we take the long way to work, are we misusing our time on earth, or perhaps not using well the earth’s resources (gasoline)? Perhaps some of the things we think are spiritual neutral actually aren’t.

  264. I came across this post again from last year. This time I downloaded and printed it to post where I can see it before that next meeting or next call. Thanks, Ken, for your consistently good content and wise advice!

  265. Dear Ken,

    Thank you for your ministry of relational wisdom! I am currently a part of a community group that is moving through your series, and I am now better able to recognize the many tangible applications of relational wisdom both in my personal and professional life. As a school leader, I find myself considering in the ways that relational wisdom can facilitate the work of educators in schools. It is my firm belief that while facilities and programs are integral aspects of school life, it is ultimately people that breathe life into an organization. I often find myself navigating an intricate and fragile web of interpersonal relationships that involve myriad constituents – teachers, parents, administrators, and students – and their concomitantly varied interests and needs.

    I would appreciate your wisdom and insight regarding the application of your work adapted for a secular work environment such as a school. Were you even able to spare some time, I would greatly welcome a conversation. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Regards,
    James

    • I would be happy to talk with you, James. Please suggest three times that work for you next week, specifying your time zone.

  266. Humility, Teachability, Flexibility are apparent in the people we like to be with. Humility is valued by others as the person who has humility is interested in a different viewpoint from their own and realize the best solutions are when you have input from different sources. People with teachability are interested in learning about many different topics and are by nature curious. Flexibility–not being rigid in your thoughts and actions reduces stress and these people are willing to adapt to new information that may change actions. People that you enjoy working with have all three of these traits–we need more of this!

  267. Thank you for this brilliant and timely email. May more good qualities stick and less holding on to impossible expectations.

  268. I confess, I to, am too often a Kelly also. Thank you for such a great exhortation in the Lord, I am confessing and asking the Lord to help me change this aspect of my personality and make me more like Himself; loving, kind, compassionate and forgiving.

  269. This article was truly thought provoking, I can honestly say that I used to be much like her in the story but have changed so much. Salvation is such a wonderful gift of pure love, I need to honor Jesus by being Velcro with the good qualities people display and Teflon with offensive displays.

  270. I had often wondered, but never fully understand what I knew was true, but could not understand…until now. The difference between general revelation and common grace. Honestly, I am not even fully sure I understand it completely right now, but I am trying. Thank you!

  271. Thanks to sharing this story. It is not impossible for God to reconcile the sisters, because according the Bible he already prepared everything. Not working out the urgent need to reconcile this hasca great influence intonour mind and heart, and struggling with guilt and rejections. Hopefully the sister will make a hard and urgent decision to seek help from above- where our help is coming

  272. Timely, highly relevant, and practically applicable to a challenging opportunity I am facing in a family situation. Thanks for rerunning this on Memorial Day to help ensure that the many evidences of God’s care, wisdom, and sacrificial live in my past might not be forgotten in the present conflicts and battles.

  273. What comes out under the pressure of aging, pain, and limited mobility is the result of a lifetime of developed character. We can’t wait until we are old to become self-less. It is too late then. Selflessness begins now or it won’t happen.

  274. Thank you for a fabulous article. Carl Sandburg’s timeless biography of Lincoln illustrates everything you discuss in beautiful and engaging prose. Lincoln was always personally a hero to me, but now I feel intimately acquainted with the man, and he is to me an unseen mentor. I look forward to learning more about your ministry!

  275. As a mental health worker, I am now engaged in the third of three extensive courses on trauma, its impact, and the neurobiology of the brain and its reaction to traumatic events, all with an eye to help people recover more effectively. But the secular scientific world leaves out any consideration of God’s place, of creation, and of grace. It works from a framework of evolution, even in its consideration of relationships and brain interaction. Thank you for these references. I’ll enjoy reading more on the topic.

    • Lorrie, Thank you for the work you are doing. Please continue to share this, when possible and safe, with professionals in your field. They themselves are suffocating in the vacuum created by Postmodern and nebulous ideology related to topics as broad as the existence of God, His work in the world, love for humans, Creation of humans (as you wisely noted), to absolute truth, the value of value systems, and moral systems and worldviews.

      I appreciate what you shared, here! Thank you, Ken, for praying and struggling through the resources you have to compile this and much more material related to God’s Word – shining in the darkness – to make us lights in this world of mental pain and emotional suffering.

      Jonathan

  276. Wow! A prolific wealth of insight and, although I made passports last year for a French Club, I am jazzed about making Relational Passports for my entire homeroom class this year and encouraging them to list daily a Fruit of the Spirit that they’re working on to exemplify to other Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Lastly, how beneficial to have them write in a daily journal about how they communicated “the fine china” in their life or showed empathy and compassion to others. What a wonderful reminder to love like Jesus even when someone is not acting loving toward us.

  277. Tremendous teaching! It’s so easy to curse rather than consecrate.
    One thing I would add to this is the fact that we may have made the wrong decision somewhere along the way. It may not be sufficient to “consecrate” our current situation. We may need to turn from it, and allow God to set us once again on the right path. We may be required to choose a different career. We may be required to choose a different lifestyle. After consecrating our situation to God, we must be willing to allow HIM to remove us from it. HE removed me from a 6-figure job, to half-way around the world, where I am currently unemployed, (which I have consecrated to HIM) in order to remove the tendencies that I had. HE has removed me from a situation that in time, would have most likely destroyed my marriage, and taken me further and further away from HIM. The stress of the responsibilities was simply too much for me, and it became obvious to me that HE wanted me removed from that place.
    Walking in obedience is a fabulous place to be! I have never been at such peace, and my marriage has never been as fulfilling!
    Thanks Ken, and thanks GOD!!!

  278. I have a friend, well I hope he is still my friend. He has been gracious to me in our friendship, I have not shown much if any empathy toward him. I don’t even know where to begin really. We meet for prayer in the morning, I don’t know if he will be my friend in the future. I am not sure I can get to be a meaningful friend especially in regards to empathy. You see I am basically a blamer. I pray for God’s discernment and that somehow he can teach me to be empathetic in a real way hopefully soon. I don’t want to loose this brother’s friendship.

  279. I would like to be a certified peacemaker, I heard that Wycliffe in Orlando is an authorized place where I can get my certification. If this is accurate, can you let me know who I can get in contact with regarding that? Thank you!

  280. Being stedfast and kind can go a long way in today’s world. It’s important to observe the world around you. As my friend would say, “It’s important to know what Ticks a person off, and what makes them Tick.”

  281. I am an DMin student at Columbia International University and am working on my dissertation in the area of the impact of emotional intelligence on relationships among missionaries (God, others and self). I just took the Peace Keeper training at our mission headquarters (WorldVenture in Colorado) and was told about this website. I am excited to see the intersection of relationships in these three areas with the Biblical connection. It seems to me that this is the experience of living out grace in relationship with God, others and self.

  282. I love this Ken. It is so true. I have a little job as an RN for the Senior Center in Jackson. I was asked to go see an elderly gentleman the other day. His children were worried about him. I went over – we had the best time. He was fine. He said to me – “if you would have come in here without smiling I was going to ask you to leave! I love that you smile – could we have coffee sometime?” It does make a difference. He called the senior center this week to see if I could come and check on him again. It refuels me to be able to be around people like him also!

    I love your blogs.

  283. I seek to refresh other whenever God gives me the opportunity. I feel it is a talent the Lord has given me. I use to feel I had no talents that were worthy of my Saviour. I felt Him speaking to me one day, and started smiling and encouraging others. He is worthy of my praise and I am very thankful I have a talent that lifts my spirit as well as others. Glad to know He helped you also.

  284. I really got a lot out of reflecting on “the two Treasures”. It made me think of my folks especially my dad whose hospice worker would always comment on how gracious he was. I personally have a lot a growth to do in the four areas above, but God has blessed me with his word and good role models. I am optimistic that with the help of His Spirit that dwells in me, I can grow into being a treasure instead of a trail.

  285. I was raised with a handicap sibling and find it easy to employ soft skills. My parents and sibling taught me well to observe others. But projects or the group goal must still be accomplished so I have had to push through sharping my hard skills and also appreciating those around me that contribute their hard skills into my life. The technical skills can be improved as we continue to learn through education and those around us who are strong in them .

  286. I’ve been a student of Ken Sande’s Peacemaker program for years and I’ve used what I learned through it many times. I attempted to use it during my final year of teaching. I found myself the target of an organized type of health hearming mistreatment and further learned the principles and administration had conducted the same kind of mistreatment to the teacher I was hired to replace. That teacher left the classroom perminently. Her husband still worked at my school the year I was there. A large part of this mistreatment involved using students to disrupt and create a constant strain against the teacher. I arrived at the unpleasant conclusion in October and warned the administration of the severely unhealty and potentially dangerous environment they had created. This accilerated the mistreatment to a very high degree. I submitted my resignation in January of 2011. Of course, if a teacher expects to return to the classroom one completes their contract. Mine terminated the first week in June. We made it to April 28th when a very large student assaulted a very small student. I protected the target and was very seriously injured. These seven years since I’ve worked very hard to find God’s Hand, His provision and His peace as everything for which I worked for over thirty years fell away during the three years it took to get adequate care for my injuries with no care for the complex PTSD with which I am still diagnosed after a three day assessment in July of this year. While I of course love the Peacemaker processes and I did strive to use it as best I could. It has stabalized my relationship with Christ but had no effect on addressing the illegal, immoral and unethical choices of my district and community. I think it would be helpful to include in relational wisdom and peacemaking that Jesus’ followers understand that often perpetrators never regret nor involvement themselves in reconcilation. Therefore while relationsl wisdom is an act of obedience for the Christian it has no affect on people whose carnality is in control.

  287. Hard skills can be taught, soft skills are what makes a person, if they care and go out of their way to be a part of the team.

  288. Sometimes I struggle with my strength being used in a way God didn’t intend. In Him, I am kind, gentle, and compassionate so I find it difficult to correct others. He will make me bold enough to speak for Him if I remember to ask.

  289. I am so glad to see this (quite by accident) today. I have felt so utterly doomed over recent years as I hear so much premarital counseling emphasizing the absoluteness of
    “leave and cleave”, with no attention to the respect and compassionate care and attention that you speak of on both sides. THANK you!!

  290. It is always very nice to come across people to that can accept and change when they have an opportunity and also the willingness to move forward in their careers and personal life.

  291. I believe that without having humility,teachability,an flexibility there’s no balance. humility is the same to me like being humble,being greatful for things, that goes into talking about teachability if your not a person that is willing to listen before talking it gives a person the enable to comprehend or to understand…being teachable is like having the means to understand an evaluate an situation whether big or small,which now plays into being able to being flexable having flexibility is being able to understand others an listen without judgement.

  292. I am in tears right now because your article just gave me the answers I had been praying for!! I have been struggling to understand humanity as a whole, and how we are to relate to non-Christians, etc, and this article finally helped me understand! I hope many more Christians read this article, as I think many of us are in the dark/floundering in how to spread the gospel in this modern culture!

  293. Educating ourselves on why people do what they do and understanding their childhood many times can help us not to judge them. It also helps us be mote understanding and loving towards them.

  294. Thank you for the honesty! My lifelong habit of making excuses and trying to control everyone’s perception of me has taken a toll on my relationships and as I sit with God and let Him speak His truth over the last few years I’ve can say I’ve tapped into the fullness of who I’m created to be..but I still wrestle from the situation at hand for longer than I should.. but God is working in me and I’m grateful for that and grateful for Christian community to help us be stronger in the love of Christ \0/ blessings to you and yours!

  295. Ken, you nailed it! I think about all of the time I’ve wasted trying to convince people there were reasons why my actions were not as bad as they actually were, only to make matters worse. It’s about being humble and owning the mess we make. Thank you for this powerful blog!

  296. Good word, Ken. Thank you for your encouragement in this very consequential area of our lives!
    The sooner we take care of it, the easier it is to do!

  297. From the receiving end of such excuses I can relate. Grace is there to forgive the wrongs, but it is not there to “excuse” them.

  298. Definitely see these attributes in a successful marriage. Surprisingly, if I think about it, flexibility is the one that many marriages lack. You are always “rolling with the punches” in a marriage.

  299. I am interested in attending this event and bringing others. I am the Prayer Team Coordinator from Seacoast Church Summerville. I have been through Pacemakers and am excited for the opportunity to bring some of our prayer team members & others from our community. I was made aware of this event by Anita & Chuck Coward

  300. What great things to think and remember daily. If I lost things I never took the time to say thank you to God for.Wow. Especially the little things I take for granted.
    Also I need to work lately on when things aren’t going to well. My actions are not becoming sometimes. I want to grow old and be pleasant to be around. Only God can help me if I am willing to work on it.

  301. In the movie Will showed confidence, humor and determination to present himself. He used all the gifts God had given him to present himself as good reliable employee and added a little humor to seal the deal.

  302. I appreciated this article for it being thoughtful in a few words. that’s hard to do. I often make these same sins in not edifying my brothers and sisters and friends. Thank you for the encouragement and real life examples. Helps me know I’m not alone, and also that He has overcome the world.

  303. Thank you, Ken, for sending out this clear and personal anecdote with the S.O.G. Plan. I really needed this reminder today. Last night, a long and hard breach broke out as the result of a little trench I dug too quickly. You are one of gentlest and transparent people I see speak on behalf of the Lord. It is especially helpful when you use stories, many of which I still remember from the RW360 course. Retaking the course now, with my father. He is my example in Christ, and gave me a copy of The Peacemaker nearly 18 years ago, which has transformed my view of conflict. I am praying for you, brother. Please pray for me, my wife, and my three daughters. That we will pursue peace (especially myself), and that we will train in emulation of the true Peacemaker and giver of life.

  304. Dear Dr. Sande, Your examples are very helpful. Always leading us back to Jesus and His promises are
    encouraging and life giving!
    Thank you for your steadfast ministry! You have helped our family in so many helpful ways!
    God Bless you and your ministry.

  305. Recognizing my level of “Thankfulness” towards others has helped me see my lack of appreciation for people’s kindness and words of encouragement. My desire is to develop a keen eye for all the mercies and kindnesses God pours into my life, and never miss an opportunity to say Thank you to him and especially to the people through whom He blesses me.

  306. My strengths of encouragement and caring, have at times seem to be severely hijacked. When I discerned pain or need of help in others my viewpoint becomes the only way to think and or respond. If you don’t agree with my assessment, my discernment, my encouragement, my wanting to help alleviate the pain, my, my, … The gifting that God gave me is now being multiplied by at least -1. Many of us would not outright sin, this is not where go, but to take what we believe to part of God’s calling in our lives and judge others because they don’t see the “truth” of our perceptions, I have gone their with zeal. It wasn’t until my opponent, a godly man, and I asked others to help us through our conflict, which was brought about in the most part by my idolizing my gifting. When the scales finally fell off and I realized my arrogance and pride then issues of confession and repentance flowed. It was good to receive grace from my friend who I had judged.

  307. Since this is the only time you will be in WA, is there a way to attend even if I am not in homeschooling but love homeschoolers??? A friend and I would love to attend!

  308. Our acts of kindness are a reflection of God’s love for us all.
    When I was going through hard times, God had put good people in my life to pick me up and show me the right path in life.
    I can’t specifically think of a time I had hesitated, but if I did it was probably because I didn’t want to cross their boundaries.
    We can always reflect God’s love to others, even in small ways.

  309. Ken, you’ve done an incredible job of collating and unpacking here the brilliance of Reagan in the context of his preparation for a series of meetings with Gorbachev, his address to the students of Moscow State University, all culminating in an agreement to end the Cold War (reducing nuclear arsenals and ultimately the destruction of the Berlin Wall). Profound and helpful in the context of the various conflicts we can find ourselves in with family, business, and our communities. Interesting, that Reagan, speaking at a press conference in Moscow in 1988, described himself essentially as the supporting actor. Saying, “Mr. Gorbachev deserves most of the credit, as the leader of this country”.

  310. Thank you, Thank you, Thank You! for taking the time to articulate this. Understanding the category of common grace is so crucial for understanding our world and having a theological foundation for how we are to act in this world. Blessings!

  311. I used to work the prison ministry and I spoke a lot on forgiveness and forgiving. I would tell them when someone wants to remind you of your past and wrong doing, “Own it.” Tell them yes I have gotten in the gutter with the worst of them, but that is not my story today. You will meet people who want to keep you there and I say don’t let them, make a new story and make it pleasing to God and one day at a time you can get one day further away from what I like to call the ‘old me.’

  312. Long before I was the Christian I needed to be I had a habit of smiling at people and asking about there day. It broke down so many barriers I still do it today and I find people coming to me for prayer or just a talk and I love and will continue to always do it.

  313. I live by the Philippians 4 scripture! When I find myself feeling sorry for myself, I start my gratitude journal up again and it always turns me around. So powerful! My mom lives with us and my Dad did before he passed away. We decided to do that before they needed care so that it would be a smooth transition. Funny thing is my Dad, never got old . . . My mom still cooks dinner at 80 years old for the whole family. Yes there are trade-offs but I think I am the one most blessed by this experience! When I am missing my kids, it makes me think about my mom. She probably would like to spend time with me. Many years ago, I remember that my kids were older and we didn’t hug as much. I missed those hugs! Then I realized that my parents probably missed my hugs. So, one Christmas, I made a New Year’s resolution to give my parents a hug every night over the next year. I never stopped. I even hug them by phone when I am on vacation!

  314. Your article is such a blessing. Our entire family has been connected to our church for more than 30 years and when the founding pastor passed away 5 years ago the assistant pastor, his son in law, seceded him. His personality is different but we had worked with him and been like family for so many years we assumed all would be well. We prayed for him and worked to support him but 3 years in something came to light that made us question the source of some things we had seen since he became pastor. When we approached he and his wife they accused us of plotting against them with friends who had left the church because we didn’t cut off friendships when they left. We had never discussed anything with our friends except a situation everyone had known before they left that was rather benign to the congregation although of needed concern for them and their family. Our pastor and his wife first revealed to us that night that they believed we were a threat to them and they were intimidated by our success in lay ministry and community ministry outside our church through my job in nonprofit work. We did our best to quell their concerns and confirm.our commitment and the lack of desire to be anything more than we had always been in the church. The feelings of suspicion and accusations of competition and self-promotion have continued even though we have gradually stepped from nearly everything over the past 2 years. They know we have done this to attempt to reduce the threat they feel but there are still problems and we are often accused and “corrected” passive aggressively from the pulpit and with comments in ministry team meetings. We have met every 4 – 6 months with him and the last one included a board member who did help in 2 situations where we were being expected to control peoples reactions to my husband’s teaching/preaching on Sunday school class because people responded more to him than our pastor’s preaching, and another similar situation where we couldn’t have any control over what others do. After 2+ years of attempting resolution and peace we are feeling trapped in our pews and receive little from his ministry as it is riddled with manipulation and anger or frustration and less scriptural focus as time goes on. If we had a need for pastoral counsel he couldn’t be trusted to help because of his feelings.
    So our church truly no longer “fits” us anymore. We are looking and praying for another church.
    Do you have an article or resource on how to move to another church within 50 miles and in the same fellowship without making it so you can come to fellowship rallies in the future? We feel like we’ve seen enough to know whatever we do we probably won’t be able to avoid ugly things being said about our family but we want to be able to still visit when appropriate. We have deep roots here and we don’t expect my mother in law to change churches with us…. she doesn’t know anything and the church still fits her needs.
    Also I know the hurt has been great from the feelings of betrayal from the things he’s done to us and said to others about us (we’ve confronted him and they’ve been verified by him but not necessarily repented of or falsehoods corrected.. but God has overtime repaired our reputation). Because of our past ministry we know another church would likely want to use us… even to the point we are concerned about not being able to see the true view of a church personality because of a sense of “courting” to gain our membership. Time is usually the only thing that shows those things even as much as 3 months or more. Any advice on how to handle this? We have been listening to recordings of the pastors preaching online to help ahead of time but that’s the best we’ve come up with.
    This has been so hard and we are just heartbroken that it’s looking like it would be better for our pastor and family if we would leave.

    • I ommitted something previously after this comment…

      Also I know the hurt has been great from the feelings of betrayal from the things he’s done to us and said to others about us (we’ve confronted him and they’ve been verified by him but not necessarily repented of or falsehoods corrected.. but God has overtime repaired our reputation) so we will likely need a time of healing before having responsibilities in another church we would choose. Because of our reputation in ministry we aren’t sure others will understand us needing to sit in the pew without responsibilities for awhile. Advice on how to handle that would also be appreciated.

      • From what you’ve said, it seems that a move to another church will be in the best interest of your family and current church. This kind of ongoing, underground tension will inevitably sap all involved. The only additional advice I would offer is for you to keep a very low profile in a new church for at least a year, first meeting with and explaining your situation to the senior pastor so he knows why you think it best to not jump into ministry.

  315. Just finished RW360 online course and discovered this is who I am!
    Signed up for Instructor Training and Coaching.

  316. What a great reminder to see the good in others. For more ideas and ways to affirm others, “Practicing Affirmations” by Sam Crabtree is an excellent book. Thank you for the encouragement to practice it more. This is something that definitely doesn’t come easily for me or is very comfortable to me.

  317. I love Paul Tripp’s demonstration of pouring liquid out of a glass onto the floor. “Why is there water on the floor?” Almost everyone answers, “Because you poured it there.” Change the liquid to tea and ask, “Why is there tea on the floor?” People still answer, “Because you poured it there.” The answer is, “There is [liquid] on the floor because there was [liquid] in the cup.” James 4:1! The application is that no one can “make you mad.” You’re already an angry person. They just revealed it. Powerful analogy in terms of self-awareness. And a huge help to yield the spiritual fruit of self-control.

  318. This is spot on! In my own experience when someone is angry, if I can take my thoughts of “How dare you treat me like this!” and make them obedient to Christ, I often find that it is not always directed at me. When I stop to think this is not how they normally respond, it allows me to explore what it is that they are going through. We can then identify the root of fear and face it together. This turns out to be much more productive and is usually more helpful to both of us.

  319. That gives me a lot to reflect on in how I raised my children. Did I teach them how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way? Thanks for that insight.

  320. I believe the three attributes: flexibility, teachability, and humility are all equal important in all relationships because they aid and assist us in changes, growth and awareness of self.

  321. Practical, heart-warming, inspiring, reassuring, loving, biblical, and true! Thank you, Ken, for sharing.

  322. They have impacted my life tremendously to be able to make wise decisions in my personal and professional life. I often remind myself that the decisions that I make do not only impact me but others around me.

  323. Being Humble is something that is instilled into you as a child. Yes there are some situations in our adult life that will cause us to be humble, yet sometimes there is hurt before we learn the actual lesson.

  324. Humility, Teachability and Flexibility. Relationships eb and flow and without the humility to frequently check in with the other person, and learn from them, honoring what gifts and perspectives they contribute, then we can’t relate to the extent that we need to for the relationship to flourish. My biggest struggle is being flexible….like it work last time, why doesn’t it still work? Being flexible to adapt to the other person in their challenges is huge in maintaining a positive trajectory in a relationship.

  325. Humility, Teachability and Flexability benefits everyone in the work place and at home.
    You’ll have a great relationship with others if you internalize and practice these characteristics.
    You will definately be a happier person.
    Life is harder when you do not possess these traits in your character.

  326. Lord please help me also to look for the good in others rather than just seeing the worst in them, especially in my family. Help to make charitable judgements and believe the best about others until proven otherwise. Please help me to continue to see and point out evidences of God’s grace in others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  327. Humility, flexibility and teachability are vital in all walks. Being surrounded by people who demonstrate these qualities and striving to be a person with these qualities will foster a healthy environment for the here and now and for future perpetuation of that health in generations to come. Living by example speaks volumes those around us (at home, in the workplace and in social situations).

  328. These three qualities are “must haves” if you want to succeed in your personal and professional life.

  329. Thank you for your gracious references to some of my writings, Brad. May God use your teaching to encourage many people and conform them into the likeness of his Son!