Archive by Author

Lemonade and beyond!!!

6 Jun

A wise and timeless adage says: “If life serves lemons, make lemonade” (I write about that here.) Let’s unpack this process a little more.

Everyone experiences trials.  Those trials can be our bain… or our benefit.  But even more poignantly, every man and woman of faith MUST go through trials in order to be approved.  I think of James 1: 2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  

And

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.” – I Pet 4:12-13

And

Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.  When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.  You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him – with laughter and singing.  Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. – I Pet 1:7-9

And

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. – Job 23:10

And

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 

Disclaimer:  I am NOT saying that ALL tests come from God. 

1) God’s tests are intended to be redemptive, to empower us and to approve us. 

2) The devil’s tests are meant to wear us down and destroy us. 

3) This world’s trials are neuter… they’re just part of the package deal of living in this earth.

But no matter where the tests come from, we can be assured that there will be tests!  There is no getting around the issue of the testing of our faith.  Each of us experiences our unique kind of testing.  But just when we think we’ve ‘arrived’… and we get ‘graduated’ to the next ‘grade’… waiting for us there, are new testings.  (Remember school – each subject had tests to prove what we’d learned.)  Tests, in and of themselves are not our enemy.  Nor does it mean that if we’re in a test that we’ve somehow fallen out of favor with God.  Passing tests helps to affirm us… to approve us… to validate our faith… to give us ‘credentials’, etc.   Not sure I like it, but in God’s great master plan, tests are a significant part of the larger process that brings us into maturity. 

So it’s important that we don’t get angry at the tests.  That wouldn’t be beneficial to us.  Remember, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble…”  But God has a magnificent way of “… causing everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  A similar sentiment is stated here:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works FOR us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; – II Cor 4:17

The important thing that I’m trying to learn and practice is to be proactive in the trials.  In other words, when I face a trial I want to get on God’s side of the matter versus my narrow-minded side. 

On God’s side, the answer is already here/“it is finished”… and He sees us as “complete and lacking in nothing”.  He’s waiting to see if we’ll accept and adopt His point of view. 

On our humanity side, we’re preoccupied with lack and pain and loss and rejection, etc… and we want our baby ‘binky’ back, NOW!!!!

On God’s side, we are learning to see from His bigger perspective… and to begin to proactively declare into being, those things which He wants in us and around us.

On our humanity side, we beg, plead, worry, fret, complain and view ourselves as lowly needy peasant creatures.

On God’s side, He’s looking for kingly partners who release His Kingdom realities on earth just as it is in Heaven.

I think God’s dream has always been to see us come out from under the tyrannical preoccupation and domination of our immediate needs… and find our solace in His goodness and love for us… and find our courage in the knowledge that He already has the answer ‘on the way’.  As this knowledge becomes more of a reality in us, we find it easier to partner with God in creating our ‘world’ around us by prophesying and calling into being those things which are lacking (Romans 4:17).

You remember John & Cheryl’s infant son Asher, who was suddenly and inexplicably stricken with total paralysis in both arms and hands last year.  I immediately informed our whole family that we WILL NOT be sucked down into a dark hole of despair and discouragement.  We will remember the trophies that came from past trials and use those trophies as launching pads for our faith in this ordeal.  Well… it’s been a little over a year and that little boy has 95% of his movement back in his arms, hands, and fingers.  And he will get it all, without a doubt!

Latest personal trial for Debbie and me! 
Recently, we were out of town for 4 or 5 days.  While we were away, a plumbing pipe burst and water gushed into the first floor and basement for nearly 1 ½ days.  Major damage!!  Tens of thousands of dollars of damage!  Insurance agencies tore out all of Debbie’s brand new kitchen and much of our basement, back to the floor/ceiling joists and wall studs.  It will all have to be replaced which will probably take several more months.  Insurance will cover everything except for the $5K deductible.

Hmmmm.  So how should we react or respond in a situation as devastating as this!?  A person could immediately go into despair and emotional trauma… or he could ‘draw upon’ the rich history of trophies gained from past trials.  And we did!  We heard about the catastrophe before we arrived home and I immediately informed our family:           

We’ll not forget the past cycles of trials!
Have we ever had trials?  Yes!
Have any of those trials yielded trophies?  Yes!

Have most of those trials yielded trophies?  Yes!
Is there any reason to believe this time will be any different?  No!
SOoooo, our confession will be, “Trials yield great trophies!”
Lemons make great lemonade… (maybe even lemon cream pie!)

Our history in God… and our memory of coming through those cycles of trials, serves as a great anchor point to help us participate with God as an asset to Him, rather than become a liability to God. (Obviously, I say LIABILITY facetiously, because His heart is so able to work with us wherever we are in our growth.)  If we forget how we acquired the last trophy we disempower ourselves in this current trial.  If we call to mind the past trophies accruing on the mantles of our lives, we can equip ourselves with peace, stability, and courage to walk through this trial.

Well, Debbie and I have already discovered a few trophies that will come out of this ‘baptism’ of water ordeal… and I’m sure that there will be many more… you just watch and see!!  We keep reminding each other of the lemon cream pie!!  🙂  

So this is life in the raw…. this is real life!  Our years of walking with God give us greater ability to face trials without being capsized or shipwrecked.  Thank you, God!

I’m sure that each of us is digging deep into our reservoir of history in God to find solid ground to ‘stand on’.  The testimony and trophy to God’s Goodness that you gain at the end of each ordeal will only serve to more deeply anchor your faith in God, make you unshakable in future trials, and empower your life message to those around you!  

I leave you with this verse:  II Cor 2:14-15

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing

Again, the same verse from the Message Bible:

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.  Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ.  Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.  Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.

I proclaim, “I believe in you!!!”  And even more, I believe in God and His goodness toward you.  I believe there will be a breakthrough discovered for your situation – whether it’s a physical, spiritual or circumstantial.  I believe you will rise up and stand tall again… and tell a great story about your latest trophy… giving glory to the Grace of God!

Prayer:  I partner with God today, making prayerful declarations:  Today we call forth breakthroughs that will free up Your people.  We call forth insights and dreams that will have a ‘key’ to breakthroughs!  I speak to our spirit man to increase in strength and to be full of courage.  I call forth supernatural strength and empowerment.  Be empowered this day with fresh courage, greater perspectives, and power from on High!  And we declare the fulfillment of all of Father’s intentions to come forth in you.  We bless those dreams that Father has been holding for you… to be released in the proper timing.  Come forth in Jesus name and not one of those dreams go unfulfilled!!!  Amen!

— MLH

Advertisements

Reblog – Jesus Christ is how we understand ourselves

15 May

A good friend Mel Wild, posts some profound insights and foundational Christian imperatives.  A recent post on his blog In My Father’s House, addresses a vital aspect for living the overcoming Kingdom life as a believer.  I was going to write a post on this subject but I don’t think I could say it any more clear or succinct.

Our Father’s desire is that we see ourselves the way He sees us.  The Bible says that His perspective of us is staggering… likely more than is easy for us to believe.  I don’t think this topic could be overstated. 

Here’s an excerpt from Mel’s post: 

In the gospel stories where Jesus is ministering to sick people, who do you identify with…the sick person, the disciples…or Jesus?

If you answered, “Jesus,” you would be correct.

I think it is nearly impossible to live in victorious, co-heir, co-ruler realities if we don’t get this powerful truth awakened in our belief system and exercised in our actions. 

Got your attention?  Then click on Mel’s post: Jesus Christ is how we understand ourselves

Enjoy!

— MLH

Testimony: Nerve damage healed – swelling and pain gone

6 Feb

Recently, I was in some meetings in WI where God’s grace was unusually present for healing.  Reminds me of this verse:

The power of the Lord was present to heal them. – Luke 5:17

It was so easy!  Of course, I believe that God always wants to heal, but there are sometimes when it is much easier.  Actually, God had given me a picture of this meeting a few days before and I knew that He was going to heal people.  But then, that’s what true Biblical faith does… it empowers us to believe even before we see.  And as we know, true Biblical faith only comes by “hearing” (Romans 10:17).  Well, I had ‘heard’ and that morning was just a matter of walking out what I had seen.

Kerry’s testimony is just one of nearly a dozen measurable healings that occurred that Sunday morning.  Here are his before and after pictures as visual proof.  I’ve talked with Kerry and his wife several times since then and they’re both extremely grateful to our Good God.

______________________

Kerry’s healing

Before

Before

Kerry had swelling in his right forearm, hand and fingers off and on for 5 years. It got worse as time when on, including extreme pain and pressure throughout his right hand, fingers and into his joints. Even picking up a coffee cup without dropping it was nearly impossible. Therapy methods only seemed to make it worse. The doctors were baffled as to the exact origin of the ailment.

After

Before his healing on Sunday Jan 27th, he was supposed to go back to the doctor to see if there was any further remedy. But after receiving prayer several times, his right hand was totally healed.  Swelling went down within minutes and full pain-free mobility returned.  His right hand now looks like his left hand.  Ten days later Kerry can still pick up a coffee cup without dropping it and strength has returned in his forearm and hand. Thank You, Lord!!!
______________

Your Healing

Click here

Hearing testimonies of breakthrough helps open the door of our faith for the same thing to happen again… this time, in us!  If you have an illness or a need, as you watch this video, exercise your faith for healing to manifest in your own body or your circumstances.  Find a quiet place to get away.  I believe you could enter into the same atmosphere of healing.  He is a good, good Father and no respecter of persons!  Thank you, God.

Video is about 53 minutes long.


Updates
from Kerry’s wife Hidey:

At 2 weeks:  “We are good!  Kerry’s hand is great… still after two weeks!  I can’t believe it!  Well, yes I can but it still seems weird!  Cause it was bad for so long.”

At 4 weeks:  “Here’s an update on Kerry’s hand.  He did some snow shoveling today and things around the house and no swelling at all!!!  God is up to something in our lives!!!!”


Other Healings

Several more healings occurred in those two Sunday morning meetings at Prince of Peace Christian Church in Tomahawk, WI.  After telling 4 of 5 cool testimonies about healings, we asked for anyone sick to raise their hands, then rallied the rest of the people to gather around and pray for those with raised hands.  Many grateful tears, lots of smiles, warmed hearts and happy testimonies filled the sanctuary as the healings became evident.  There were more healings, but here are a few we could remember. THANK YOU, LORD!!!

Laurie – had pain in a crooked toe, felt pop as they were praying for her.  All pain left and with many grateful tears exclaimed that she was able to put her weight on her toes now.

Elderly man – both feet numb from neuropathy, healed, all numbness gone.

Char – had neuropathy, and she was healed – had no pain and now had feeling.

Louis – older man had neck and shoulder pain from a tree branch falling on him – after prayer very happily reported no more pain

Man had left elbow pain, during prayer his arm strangely went to sleep, but he now had no pain.

Woman with limited range of motion in her neck, much-improved range of motion after prayer.

Trevor – first-time visitor felt tingling in shoulders during prayer… said he would check his shoulders on the job.

John had arthritis in his knees and had improved range of motion after prayer.

Jackie had carpal tunnel pain and stiffness in both wrists, after prayer, with many tears reported that all pain was gone and happily demonstrated full range of motion.

Tim – second time visitor, businessman – after prayer was overjoyed and with many tears exclaimed, “This is the first time in my WHOLE LIFE that I have NO STRESS about ANYTHING!”

Lady felt icy hot at first, then tingling in shoulders and all pain left shoulders and range of motion returned.

— MLH

Testimony: Melted by love… changed forever

28 Jan
Shine

SHINE youth conference – Tainan, Taiwan

For 3 or 4 years in the late 2000’s, our family helped lead a summer youth conference in Tainan, Taiwan.  Several years ago I received this heart melting testimony from a Tawainese young lady who is one of hundreds who come to the Lord each year, where about 1000 young people attend the annual summer SHINE youth conferences.  This event is hosted by Living Water Church in Tainan… pastored by Matt Chen.  A large portion of these youth have never heard about God, Jesus, church, love of God, etc.  Abbie’s testimony is very touching.  Just goes to show how much a simple hug (and even and un-understood prayer) can affect someone’s life forever. – MLH
____________________________


Dear pastor Mark,

My name is Abbie, Im from taiwan livingwater church.  So first i want to tell u a story about 6 years ago.  The first time i met God was in SHINE youth conference.  That was amazing night.  The time was in the worship.

I still remember that night.  You was talking about how the God father love us and u start to call, “If u want to give ur heart for Jesus or u want to know him, please come!”

And that night was u pray for me.  I was 17 years old.  I never feel love from my dad.  And suddenly you keep me in ur hug… speak to my life!  Even in that moment i dont understand in English, BUT i can feel that strong love deep inside of me!

After that i back to my life.  My father got big change.  He never hit me again!  And i start know my father aways love me.  Maybe is takes time to see that change, but lord is faithful!

I just got baptized last November.  Since He found me, he never give up on me.  Even if i choose my way, he aways try his best to bring me back!  And Im really thankful that u pray for me.  So now is a new season to learning how to be a daughter of God and believe him!

P.S. I always swear one day i will learn English to say thanks to you!  Really hope one day I can see you again!!

blessings,Abbie
Taiwan
____________________________________________________

Follow-up (Jan 2018)

Abbie – 2009

Recently a friend found a picture of the exact moment described above.  There was a lot of Heaven in that moment.  Abbie and I both felt it… tears flowed.

Today, as I was conversing with Abbie on Facebook, she posted another pic.  This time she is ministering Father’s love to another young lady… seven years after her very first encounter with Father God… at the same summer youth conference!

Abbie – 2016

Now, my heart is really messed up.  Seeing these pictures calls up deep affections for our eternal purpose on earth.  This is the way the Kingdom of God is supposed to function.  Wow!  Thank you, God!

Father God, bless Abbie with Your tender love and unusual help from Heaven… and with angels to protect and escort her into her full Godly destiny!  Amen

— MLH

 

Living within God’s grace

12 Dec

There are many voices ‘out there’ vying for our attention, hoping we’ll conform to their standards.  Those voices could be divided into 3 basic categories; God, the devil and ourselves.  Unless we’re teachable and have great mentors as sounding boards, or a possess a strong God-centered internal ‘plumbline’, we could be easily confused or duped.

And ‘old fashioned’ character is still a virtue.  It will help to hold a person from being 1)naively impetuous… or from being 2)fearfully indecisive when these voices present themselves.  Both unbridled actions can derail us.  

Many people, without a God-centered ‘plumbline’, find themselves chasing ‘the three G’s’ – girls, gold and glory.  

For all that is in the world, the 1)lust of the flesh and the 2)lust of the eyes and the 3)boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. – (I John 2:16)

This leads to dissipation or exhaustion.  Anything that is not supported by God’s grace will automatically deplete us, because it requires our own strength to attain it.  

Jesus learned this truth and He invites us to embrace it, also. 

Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. – (John 5:19)

This truth and this lifestyle is sustainable.  For sure, ‘sabbaths’ are still needed, but you won’t ‘run out of gas’ doing Father’s business.  Listen to an insight from Jesus.

I receive My nourishment by serving the will of the Father who sent Me and completing His work. – (John 4:34 Voice version)

Our Grace level fluctuates throughout our lives. It’s imperative that we learn to live within God’s Grace.

Consider the scenario in this graphic.  We’re excited about the growth curve that’s happening in our lives.  God is blessing us with favor of many kinds.  We’re happy and life is rewarding.  

Getting more ‘things’ has become easily attainable and within our own power.  We want bigger and better positions, possessions and power.

So we ask for more favors, incur debt, burn the candle at both ends, experience anxiety and fatigue, and find that we have almost no time for personal sabbath-type refuelings.  Of course, everyone else is running hard, too, so it seems normal.  And besides, “We’ve got to keep up with the Jones.”  This reminds me of a Lily Tomlin quote: 

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you’re still a rat.”   

Without question, this life mode is guaranteed to have a ‘moment of reckoning’.  Something will break; health, finances, relationships, etc.  Then we’ll be forced to reconsider and reevaluate what’s really important in our lives.

If you’ve hit a snag in life… something isn’t working anymore… and your patience and endurance is running thin, consider that you may have exceeded the grace of God in your life.  You may have to ‘reduce’ back to where the grace level is.

It usually takes a pretty strong force to change a mindset and lifestyle… imagine stopping a locomotive or turning a ship.  And this ‘reckoning’ usually requires some level of trauma to ‘encourage’ us let go of self acquired things… especially, if our identity is wrapped up in them.

We’ll have to search for where we exceeded God’s grace.  Where did we grasp for something in our own strength?  Where did we exchange the unmerited favor of God, for sacrificing personal sweat?   Consider this:

godliness with contentment is great gain – (I Tim 6:6)

with food and covering, we shall be content. – (I Tim 6:8)

These two verses present values which serve as guardrails on our lives.  They show us the bottom-line.  We must coach our hearts into the ability to be happy even if these bare-bones conditions are present in our lives.  If we can be happy ‘here’, then everything else is icing on the cake.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not advocating poverty.  And this is certainly not a poverty mindset.  Rather, we’re getting back to living within the grace that God provides… whether that means to be abased or to abound.  (Phil 4:12)

This is how we stay out of the ‘sweat zone’.  Isn’t it amazing… God’s ways always prove to be better than our ways.

— MLH

Your inheritance includes super-natural provision

3 Dec

So how do we get started living in supernatural provision?  Well, since you’ve asked, I’ve created a graphic that explains the transition that takes place on our journey toward living in the Law of Blessing.  This graphic also describes some of the pitfalls of not using wisdom on this journey.

Most of us start out with our vocation supplying our primary source of income.  And even though we may have some level of spiritual relationship with God, any ‘income’ derived from our spiritual ‘reality’ is fairly small to non-existent.  Our objective should be to move into a place where our spiritual life is vibrant and exercised enough that it begins to activate Heaven’s ‘supernatural’ supply… in other words, a supply that is greater than the effort, time and intellect that we’ve invested.

I describe supernatural provision like this:

If your income is only commensurate with the amount of time, effort and intellect that you’ve put in, then that is natural provision… which is simply living under the Law of Sowing and Reaping.  It goes like this: if I don’t sow… I don’t reap.  If I sow sparingly, I reap sparingly. Etc… Who’s in charge of this setup? I am, of course.

But if your provision measures significantly above the time, effort and intellect that you put in, then this is super-natural provision.  This level of provision is activated as we learn to devote ourselves to being about our Father’s business in the unique way that He’s made you and I.  At that point, I believe Heaven rallies to be our total Jehovah Jireh.  This is living in the Law of Blessing.

This is an overly simplified way of saying it:

If you put in a ‘dollars’ worth of time, effort and intellect… and you get back more than ‘dollar’, then you are experiencing the increase of Heaven.

Provision Chart

Consider this graphic:

Notice the left side of the graphic. Initially, our primary provision is ‘sweat’ income… in other words, it comes solely from our vocation.  Very little provision comes from our spiritual impact or influence.  But as time passes and as we mature, we want those dynamics to switch so that more of our provision comes from our spiritual impact and less from our ‘sweat’.

Of course, our society has it’s version of this. It’s called a retirement plan.  But who wants to work their whole life time, by the “sweat of your brow” on a ‘rock-pile’ job, beating big rocks into little ones, just so we can have a few years of retirement.  Why not (as early as we can understand these principles) get serious about cultivating and maturing our unique spiritual identity until it is honed and invaluable in it’s respective place in society.  That way we get to do what we love to do all of our life and eventually we find ourselves living in the Law of Blessing rather than the Law of Sowing and Reaping.

For more of my posts on how to find and live within our unique identity, click here and here.

A common pitfall is that people get trigger happy when they see this possible route to supernatural provision.  They think they have enough faith to jettison everything and live by faith… or ‘walk on the water’, so to speak.  They don’t realize that their ‘leap of faith’ isn’t true Biblical faith at all.  It’s just naive hoping.  They haven’t built a ‘position of faith’ sufficient to support them.  Sadly, many people live their lives in such a way that they don’t actually need faith to live… as a result they don’t have a history of faith.

Then, when a person tries to live beyond their level of faith, they inevitably face lean times of lack and want.  This will lead to a moment of reckoning.  Deut. 7:22 describes how this can happen; “I’ll not give you the promised land all at once lest the wild beasts overtake you.”  Some of the “wild beasts” of our day are; fear, bills, hunger, lack, etc.
Supernatural Provision book cover

So it’s really important to apply wisdom on this journey. But the reward of living outside of the ‘sweat’ zone, is so worth it!  And in the process, you get to do what you love to do… enjoy God and activate your true identity.  Now that sounds like living!  I’ve posted five practical steps here.

For more on this subject, check out my book Supernatural Provision.  To get a copy, click here or see me personally.  You’ll find priceless gems; insights, practical tips and inspiring testimonies to launch you into your own life of living in Heaven’s super-natural provision.

Are you ready to live in your inheritance?

— MLH

Note: I delete, block or unfriend…

15 Nov

Some have asked about my announcement, “Note: I delete, block or unfriend any comments that are contrary or oppositional.”  Let me explain…

Most people view Facebook as an interactive social platform, designed for conversing with one another.  And I agree.  But just as in face-to-face conversation, social freedoms leading to correction (especially public correction) need to be like salt… used sparingly… or maybe not at all, especially if you are a dinner guest at your friend’s house.  And it’s probably wise to refrain from recounting the defects you perceive about their house… especially when you’re in front of other guests.

On occasion, I’ve been invited to public debate on FB with people who’ve already said they disagree with my position.  In my opinion, to accept would be folly on my part.  The wrangling of loud voices in public is almost never enjoyable or constructive.  The minds of the main arbiters are rarely changed… and there is the high probability of long term residual offense.  But an even bigger problem is the collateral damage to all the innocent people who witnessed the impassioned venting.

This is not much different from parents bickering in front of their children.  The parents probably didn’t solve anything in their tangle, but the innocent children will undoubtedly carry the resulting wounding and scarring… possibly for years.  Respect says, take the dispute to an appropriate forum where the innocents don’t have to carry the hurtful consequence of the fray.

And closer to home: Spouses, what happens if we release a volley of uninvited opposition, correction or criticism?  How does that work out?  Okay, I think we’re starting to get the picture.

I always find it strange when a someone who has never commented on anything on my FB page, takes the liberty to correct me in their very first comment.  I just find that very interesting….  Maybe they could have at least tried using the ‘sandwich rule’: Start with one slice of commendation, then add a couple thin slices of correction, and finally, top it off with another slice of commendation.

Some have said that my policy is unfair and not “tolerant”.  Unfortunately, the one who initiates uninvited correction is often the one who is intolerant.  Just a cursory look at the spiralling social trends in our country in recent years, clearly reveals this sad fact.  The ones who protested so loudly for tolerance, are now overtly intolerant.  I wonder… is this a result of a short-term memory loss… or a character problem… or a faulty value system?

It’s possible that when I ask questions in my narratives, it may cause a little confusion.  People may wonder if I’m inviting a response.  But as we know, there are many ways to artfully present a point.  Asking questions is just one of many effective communication mediums.  Sometimes questions are intended to solicit dialog… and sometimes questions are meant to inspire thought.  In most of my writings, my questions are meant to inspire thought (as in the previous paragraph).

The way I see it, my Facebook page is my turf… my ‘real estate’.  When I present a topic, I want to stay on topic.  I am not willing for someone of the opposite opinion to determine the direction of my narrative.  Unfortunately, the self-appointed ‘PC police’ in our country are all too eager to shout down and rudely hijack all voices that they don’t agree with.  To be sure, I want them to enjoy the same 1st Amendment rights afforded to all of us… just do it on their own turf.

For the record:
1. In many of the venues where I speak, I pointedly solicit open dialog and response… even on an open mic.  If everyone remains respectful, this type of group interaction can be very effective.

2. I have never posted a contrary or oppositional idea on anyone else’s public Facebook page!  That would be extremely rude and a usurping of their turf, in an attempt to assert my own agenda.  But I have sent them a private message if I felt like the situation was serious enough for me to offer uninvited advice.  Even then, my communications employ some level of finesse and decorum… since I wasn’t invited.  I never assume that I have the right to invade another person’s turf with oppositional conversation… unless I do it privately.

Let’s look at this same principle in a completely different setting.

Let’s say that you live in a neighborhood where all your neighbors have come to respect your reputation and convictions.  You have served them, blessed them and won their favor.  Then one day I come to your street and post oppositional signs in your yard.  The signs say how much I disagree with your views, your values and your message…. how much you are misguided and wrong.  You would be absolutely incensed!!!  No one would be ok with my actions… or even tolerate them.  As soon as you realized what I had done, with a flourish of indignation, you would immediately yank out my sign.  And you would wonder why I hadn’t come speak to you privately.  Why would I take my confrontation of you and your values to the public forum without first imploring you privately… the respectful and Biblical way?

Further, wouldn’t it frustrate you that I felt freedom to impose my values upon your friends… friends with whom you’ve worked so hard to earn their respect?  They don’t even know me… but I’ve just asserted my currently trendy freedoms to use your ‘platform’ of influence to devalue you and to assert my values.  That can’t be good any way we look at it.

Further, if you had always been nothing but kind to me… you had always affirmed me and my family… and then my first public discourse with you was to oppose you and point out how wrong you were… Wouldn’t my offensive behavior be confusing for you, after you had been so kind to me?  I imagine that by now the reader understands….

Our society’s short-fused volatility incites even more angst because there seems to be no boundaries to how far one can go.  Public correction and dog-pile pile-on humiliation is as common as a fish drinks water, these days.  The bully pulpit seems to know no ethics.  Once the assailing has begun; accusation, amplitude, verbosity… and even lies… seem to have no limit until the target person gets shouted down… not unlike a pack of rabid hyenas.  Has anyone seen this in the public arena, recently?  Were any of us inspired?  Were we repulsed?  I going to guess that we felt the latter… even to the point of switching it off!

I think most people know… and if they don’t know, they innately feel… that arguing is wrong… and definitely out of place, in the public eye.

The one bullying and the one trying to present their conviction… both will often pay a high price when suckered into this kind of fray.  In reality, both participants will lose a portion of their reputation and the good will in the hearts and minds of those who know them.  Almost no one enjoys a combat-prone person.

Now, I want to give the benefit of the doubt, regarding this matter.  I’m confident that most people don’t mean to be disrespectful.  They’re good people for sure!  It’s more likely that they’re just gullibly following the world’s trend of edgy social acceptabilities… and they don’t realize how they’re coming across.  It is for this reason that I preempt potentially negative comments with my notice… (“Note: I delete….”) just to give people a heads-up.  Maybe people will think before they disrespect themselves… and the person they’re communicating to… and the innocent viewers who were happy with the original narrative.  Maybe together, we can help promote a “kinder and gentler” world.

So let me sum it up by saying that it gives me no pleasure to enforce my policy.  I much prefer that people would be respectful.  But simply put, I am not willing for my narrative, on my ‘real estate’, to be hijacked by someone else’s oppositional values.  Private message communication will always be acceptable for me… and I believe, it is the first approach in any respectful conversation that is going to be confrontational or oppositional.  I know it’s not the trendy way to do it, but then when did the world ever start setting the standards for respect and rightness?  Let’s have an honorable conversation like respectable grown-ups.  We can do this!

— MLH