Just the Facts

OK…I’m not a fan of Facebook. I have seen very little conversation there that is spiritually uplifting or even just plain positive. The feeds are filled with arguing, complaining, bickering, and foolishness.

People post things to get others to feel sorry for them, to seek support to right the injustices in their lives, or simply lie about situations. Here’s the cycle: someone rants, someone agrees, someone disagrees, then the people agreeing and disagreeing turn on each other and the fight is on. As believers in Christ, engaging in this type of behavior just isn’t scriptural…on so many levels.

The book of Proverbs warns all of us about something very dangerous with this type of behavior. Let’s look at Proverbs 18:17 (NLT). Here’s what it says:

The first to speak in court sounds right – until the cross examination begins.

In other words, there are two sides to every story. Folks who go out on Facebook with their tale of woe seldom provide all the facts. They provide the side of the story that supports their position. This is what Proverbs is talking about. Most stories sound believable until the cross examination begins. If we knew all the facts of the situation it would make us re-evaluate our thoughts and be ashamed of some of our public comments.

I spent many years of my life as a police officer. I was in court almost every week. When a defendant first took the stand to testify, the stories often sounded very good. It wasn’t until the cross examination took place that defendants were caught in lies. Witnesses took the stand and provided evidence that contradicted the defendant’s testimony. Now the judge had both sides of the story and the evidence.

Next time you read something on Facebook, ask yourself about the other side of the story. If you don’t have all the facts, not the hearsay, don’t engage in discussions like this. They are divisive and certainly don’t model Godly character. Participating in discussions like this is gossip.

Here’s a thought…get off Facebook entirely and do something productive with the time that God has given you. Before we open Facebook for the day let’s instead open our Bibles and hear what God has to say. God doesn’t speak in status updates and we can’t expect to grow spiritually by spending our time there.

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Please, It’s Time To Stop Crying

I spent the last few days watching the country react to the presidential vote. I read of a Yale professor who made an exam optional because the professor was “getting many heartfelt notes from students who are in shock over the election returns.”

Yesterday students from American University burned a flag as part of their protest. I suppose they really didn’t think about the name of their University and the respect it deserves as they began the name-calling and standard protest jargon. What a great way to protest the election of a United States President…burn a flag. That accomplishes a lot for their cause.

Protestors took to the streets in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C. and other major cities across the country. I don’t even know what that means. What are they protesting? What’s the argument? That they didn’t get their way? The country voted. So you don’t like the results? That’s life.

I read articles from folks fearing for their safety as a result of the election. Really? Do you believe that because the country has new leadership you are now suddenly going to be physically assaulted? We could sure talk about some countries where physical safety is a real issue but let’s not pretend that election results bring shadows lurking in the dark ready to pounce on you.

Come on now. We need to toughen up and teach our college students how to make a real difference in this world. Let’s grow a spine and move on with life. How will college students function in the world if election results put them in shock? If this is the training students are getting for tuition dollars in colleges across America we are in trouble.

America is supposed to be a leader among nations. Yet here we are protesting, crying, writing letters to our children explaining how this election went wrong, calling each other names, watching news sources write articles about living in Trump’s America. We really need to get a grip. America doesn’t belong to any President. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump any more than it belonged to Washington, Lincoln or any of our other previous Presidents. This is our America and it’s time we start acting like it.

At Toccoa Falls College we teach students that life is about developing character. We teach students that sometimes we just don’t get our way. We learn to move on to issues where we can make a positive difference in this world.

At Toccoa Falls College we don’t burn flags. We respect our government officials, we don’t go into shock when things don’t go our way, and our students solve problems…they don’t create them.

I Never Thought of That

Several years ago John Maxwell wrote a great book titled, Thinking for a Change. I know that this implies many of us don’t think very often but I wonder if Maxwell is right?

When I first read his book several years ago it made me stop and really question the last time that I took deliberate time to think. How about you? When is the last time that you scheduled time in your calendar just to think. We all get so busy with the routine tasks that we seldom think about strategy…about the future. Instead of thinking about where we are headed with our lives we find ourselves tied up in meetings, handling the daily emergencies, and putting out the daily fires in our lives and businesses.

So…how do you change your thinking process? First, schedule time just to think. Some folks believe that unless they are physically doing something they aren’t working. May I say to you if you aren’t taking time to consistently think you probably aren’t doing the right things anyway. Block off time every week where all you do is think. If you don’t schedule this thinking time I guarantee you won’t do it.

Second, Maxwell recommended something I have done and it really helps me. I have a special thinking place. It’s a chair that I use just to think. I try not to use it for anything else…just thinking. If I neglect my thinking time the chair just seems to call out to me asking me where I have been. This works for me but do whatever works best for you. Go for a walk. Find a place where you will not be interrupted and then just let your mind think about your personal goals, business goals, personal improvement ideas, solutions to problems you are facing, business strategies for the future, you name it.

Remember what William Arthur Ward said about thinking. Here it is:

Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; Nothing expands possibilities like unleashed thinking.

So…change the way you think and expand your possibilities.

A Story of Love In Action

When you think about love what do you think about? Hearts, flowers, holding hands? Well today I’m not talking about romantic love, I’m talking about loving your neighbors. I’m talking about what scripture means when it says in Mark chapter 12, verses 30 and 31. Here is what those verses say:

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Let’s talk a bit about loving your neighbors. This year at TFC we have a student who struggles with mobility. She uses a walker and it is really a chore to get around a campus as large as ours. One of our staff members put out a request through social media to locate an electric wheelchair for this student. Let me tell you what happened.

Our Stephens County Sheriff, Randy Shirley, saw the request and made some contacts on his own. He located a beautiful red electric wheelchair that had barely been used. He contacted the owner, made the donation arrangements, and picked up the chair. The Sheriff’s Office cleaned the chair, charged the batteries, and delivered it to the student here at TFC. I only wish you could have seen the student’s face when she took her first ride in that chair. Her life was just changed.

All of us at TFC want to thank our Sheriff and his staff for demonstrating to all our students what loving your neighbor looks like in action. In a world that now records law enforcement conducting their daily business and looks to criticize their every move, it’s too bad someone didn’t record this special delivery to our student in need. I do know this…our student recorded it. She recorded this in her memory and she will never ever forget the love and kindness shown by our Sheriff’s Office.