One Ingredient All Healthy Relationships Must Have

sinHave you ever noticed that we like to classify sins? We typically classify sins into two categories: big ones and little ones.  “Little sins are the ones I do, big sins are the ones you do.”

It is important to note that the Bible makes no such distinction. Sins are like links in a chain, if any one, single link is broken, then the chain as a whole is broken. All sins are big sins.

The purpose of this blog is not to show the similarities between our sins and links in a chain. It is to point out that we should be as gentle with other’s faults as we are with our own. In other words, if we want to build winning relationships we must be more than willing to forgive.

Henri Nouwen says, “Forgiveness is love practiced among people who love poorly.” Let’s be honest, we all love poorly. Therefore, we all need forgiveness. Let’s be as gentle with other’s faults as we are our own.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you” (NIV). When we stop and reflect on the immeasurable amount of forgiveness God has poured out on us, how can we not, in turn, pour out forgiveness on those we come in contact with on a regular basis? We all do stupid stuff. We all need forgiveness. This forgiveness is key in building winning relationships. A healthy relationship does not exist without genuine forgiveness from both sides.

Look at what Jesus had to say about being judgmental and forgiveness: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV). In other words, we are going to get back what we dish out. If we want other people to be gentle and forgiving of our faults, then we must be just as gentle and forgiving of their faults. This does not mean ignoring each other’s faults, but it means handling those faults in a non-judgmental, forgiving way.

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Jesus goes on to say, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5, NIV). We cannot adequately deal with our own sins if we classify our sins as smaller than the sins of others. We must honestly deal with our sins before we can adequately help somebody else deal with theirs.

Then Jesus says something I think most people completely misunderstand, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6, NIV). Most people teach that Jesus is telling us here to not waste our time trying to lead people to him who are not willing to follow him. I do not believe that is what Jesus is teaching here at all.

sin5In the context of what Jesus had just said about not judging people and dealing with our own sins before we try to deal with the sins others, I believe Jesus is talking about not wasting our precious and valuable time and energy being a nit-picky Christian. A nit-picky Christian is someone who is always pointing out other people’s faults but never acknowledging their own. That’s right, they classify their own sins as little sins and other people’s (or at least the people they disagree with) as big sins.

If we want to build winning relationships with our co-workers, kids, and spouse we must be as gentle with their faults as we are our own. We all have faults and we all need forgiveness. The best relationships are NOT the ones with the fewest faults, they are the ones with the most forgiveness.


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

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The Shack: A Study in Theology Pleasantly Disguised as a Movie

ShackoverSeveral years ago I read “The Shack” (actually, I listened to it on CD) and recently I watched the movie. I have come to a similar conclusion about the movie as I did the book. It is a study in Theology pleasantly disguised as a novel or a movie.

It gives us a study of the Trinity, redemption, forgiveness, judgment, the relationship between God and humans, etc. I am not saying I fully agree with everything the movie may have taught about these subjects. To be honest, I do not agree with everything I hear taught in a typical church Bible study about these subjects, either.

The movie did seem to hint at universalism (the belief that everybody goes to heaven). I say it seemed to hint at it because it did not directly teach universalism. There are some aspects of the movie that could be taken that way. I do not know if that was the intent of the movie producers. They left this unclear. (Just for the record I do not believe in universalism).

shack_0I enjoyed the movie. It touched me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I would recommend this movie to a believer or an unbeliever.

Is it perfect Bible teaching? No. But neither is all of the Bible teaching in our churches. Do not get me wrong, I believe the Bible is the perfect Word of God. However, those of us who teach it are very imperfect, even in our understanding of the Bible. (Yes, I do include myself in this.)

Rich Mullins once said, “I think if we were given the Scriptures it was not so that we could prove that we were right about everything. If we were given the scriptures it was to humble us into realizing that God is right and the rest of us are just guessing.” We all have a messed up view of the Bible in some way. If we did not, then we would not need the Holy Spirit’s involvement. Let us speak the truth in love and hopefully, where we are clueless about the truth love will overcome.

So, if you do not want to watch “The Shack” then do not watch it. If you do want to watch it then do so. Come to your own conclusion.

The Bible is truth. I am sold on that. “The Shack” is a good movie that goes much deeper into some of those biblical truths than most other movies (even other Christian movies). Maybe it will drive you to get deeper into the Bible for yourself. A Bible study curriculum could very easily be set up around this movie.

If you like emotional movies with a strong intellectual and spiritual component you will probably enjoy this movie. If you do not, well, you probably won’t.

For those of you who have read the book or seen the movie, what say you?


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

Tommy will empower, entertain and energize audiences to achieve extraordinary results and live a life beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

Tommy is dedicated to helping you make your next event the best you’ll ever experience. Your audience will laugh, learn and be inspired as he mixes enthusiasm and humor with motivational stories to deliver a high content message.

Check Tommy’s availability:

3 Solid Principles for Stronger Relationships

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3 Solid Principles for Stronger Relationships

     It is estimated that over 99% of counseling is relationship counseling. 70% of people who are fired are fired because they did not get along or fit in. A 20-year Harvard study showed that relationships affect physical health more than food, exercise, or even genetic makeup. It is plain to see that relationships are significant. Even Jesus said there is no commandment greater than loving God and loving people (Mark 12:30-31). As we enter the month of February, the month for relationship and romance, let’s take a look at 3 solid principles for stronger relationships.

  1. Respect

Make people feel understood and appreciated. 46% of people who leave their job say it is because they didn’t feel respected or appreciated. Make sure your respect is genuine. Les Giblin says, “You can’t make the other fellow feel important in your presence if you secretly feel that he is a nobody.”

 

  1. Patience

Control your anger. The Bibles tells us, “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry” (Ephesians 4:26, The Message). There are some situations when we should be angry. However, if we want to build stronger relationships, we must channel that anger in a constructive way to resolve a situation, not hurt the other person. You can never build a better relationship with someone you are angry with. Be careful with the words you use toward people you want a better relationship with. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart.

  1. Forgiveness

Be as gentle with other’s faults as you are your own. The core of the Bible’s message is forgiveness – forgiveness we receive and forgiveness we give. “Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, The Message). Unfortunately, we like to categorize sin into big sins and little sins. This is the way we categorize it: Big sins are the ones you do and little sins are the ones I do. If you want to build better relationships with those you love, you must be as gentle with their faults as you are your own.

Look for the Best in Each Other

Respect, patience, and forgiveness can catapult your relationships to a whole new level. Whether they be your relationship with your spouse, kids, extended family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or customers. Here is my last bit of encouragement from the Bible concerning relationships:

Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.          -1 Thessalonians 5:13-14 (The Message)

What additional solid principles could you share to help us build stronger relationships?

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Tommy Lanham is a coach, leadership training expert, instructor, motivator, and a believer in Jesus. He is an experienced, trusted and highly enthusiastic speaker who communicates life changing truths in an entertaining way. He connects with his audience inspiring them to take action.

He travels to speak on goals, priority management, faith, personality types and other related topics. If you would like to find out more about Tommy’s speaking and coaching, please visit his website:
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