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.

What Comes After the Mistake?

During the beginning of a new year it’s common to think about mistakes you made in 2014. Some of us might even be thinking of mistakes from prior years. While some of us think about past mistakes, friends around us talk about 2015 with excitement…looking at the New Year as a fresh slate and a new beginning.

Recently I was listening to Jon Simeon talk about his job. Now if you are trying to rack your brain figuring out who Jon Simeon is and what books he has completed you can just stop now. You have probably never heard about before today.

Jon Simeon is an Alaska State Trooper. He is one of about 80 Alaska State Wildlife Troopers who patrol the entire state of Alaska. Jon deals with a lot of folks who make mistakes…big ones… just as any law enforcement officer does. However, in passing, Jon made this statement. Here is what he said:

Mistakes happen all the time but it’s what you do after the mistake that counts.

Let me say this again so it sinks in. Mistakes happen all the time but it’s what you do after the mistake that counts.

Trooper Simeon hit the nail on the head with this statement. We all need to acknowledge that mistakes happen in our lives. Mistakes have occurred and they will again. The true mark of character is what you do after the mistake.

Everyday police officers see people make mistakes and then try to conceal what they did. Rather than simply admitting the mistake, the lies begin in an attempt to conceal the poor choice. Many of us do the same thing in our daily lives. We make a mistake and then look for ways to blame others, hide the action, minimize it, or look for some way to save face.

I am reminded of a verse in Proverbs. In fact, the verse is Proverbs 29:13. Here is what it says:

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

As 2015 begins, let’s all realize that we’re going to make mistakes. It is going to happen. So, start focusing on what you will do after the mistake is made. Do what Proverbs instructs. Confess your mistakes to whomever you offended, ask for forgiveness from the person you offended, ask for God’s forgiveness, and learn not to make the same mistake again.

If we will all do this, we will receive mercy, we will spend less time fretting about our mistakes, those around us will respect us for our truthfulness, we can focus on what is ahead of us rather than what is behind us, and 2015 will be off to a great start.

Guarding Your Heart

Recently I was reading an article titled, Couple Has An Open Marriage So Complicated It’s Hard to Keep Track. This article discussed the lives of Michael, his wife, Kamala, their six-year-old son, and Michael’s live in girlfriend, Rachel.  Kamala is also in a relationship with someone other than Michael.  Now you can better understand the title of the article.

Author Jenny Block, who commented on this story, had some surprising thoughts in support of this type of lifestyle.  Block said this, We cannot control our own desires and we certainly cannot control the desires of others.  Really? We cannot control our own desires? That is a rather broad and flawed statement.

We control our own desires everyday and I suspect Jenny Block does too.  If we didn’t have the ability to control our own desires, we would drive whatever speed we chose rather than obey the speed limit.  In stores, we would push people out of our way in the check out line rather than show patience.  We would eat everything in sight rather than show discretion.  If we wanted something in the store we would just take it rather than pay for it.  It is absurd to say that we cannot control our own desires.  Each of us chooses to control our own desires every day.

Block also said this, the heart wants what it wants, again insinuating that we are all so weak that we can’t control ourselves.  Block makes it sound as though we get an impulse to react in some manner and we just must comply.  We simply can’t stop ourselves.  What a poor excuse for choosing your lifestyle.  Notice I said choosing a lifestyle because that is exactly what each of us does.  People could certainly choose a monogamous heterosexual lifestyle, they have the control to do so, but instead they choose another alternatives.

Stop playing the victim with lifestyle decisions.  Each of us makes the choice; the way you live isn’t forced upon you.  Instead of saying, like Jenny Block, the heart wants what the heart wants, how about following some Biblical advice found in Proverbs that says, Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Don’t follow ridiculous desires of your heart.  Guard your heart from absurd decisions, show restraint and integrity and live the way God intended for you to live.

You may read more of Dr. Myers’ writing at www.robertmmyers.com or view his work on Vimeo.

My College Professor Was An Ex-Con…How About Yours?

It’s almost time for another year to begin at colleges and universities throughout the country.  Most students and parents have spent a lot of time visiting campuses, investigating the colleges that interest their family, narrowing down the alternatives, and finally arriving at that one special college.  The class of 2017 is almost packed and ready to head off for their new adventure.

As parents we have faith that college leaders have carefully selected the faculty members who will influence our kids.  As students we hope for the same.  We are anxious to begin the learning process by partnering with knowledgeable, respected faculty members.

Maybe not all of us are that lucky.  Recently, Fox News uncovered some startling information in an article titled, “Columbia’s Cons: Ivy League Social Work Program Run By Team of Former Prisoners”.

For about $43,000 annually you can have your children taught by convicted felons.  The best part?  You probably won’t even know it until your kids are sitting in their classroom. The ex-cons work for a program called the Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI), a subset of Columbia University.  CJI was co-founded by Kathy Boudin a reported former Weather Underground member.  Fox reported that Boudin plead guilty to felony murder for a 1981 armed robbery that left two police officers and a security guard dead. Yet, if you look at her bio on the CJI web page there is no mention of any of any time she spent in prison.

Wilkins, listed as the co-director of CJI, is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia with the title of “research scientist”.  It is reported that she was convicted for a 1996 gunpoint hijacking of an armored car.  Wilkins served a twelve-year sentence.

Mika’il DeVeaux was a keynote speaker for the CJI’s “Removing the Bars” Conference in 2012. There was no mention in his bio of the twenty-four years he served in jail for second-degree murder.

It is ridiculous that we would allow people who can’t pass a basic criminal background check to sit in classrooms and influence students without any of us having the opportunity to know their criminal backgrounds. It is sickening that any university administrators would knowingly allow this situation to develop and thrive. As university leaders we owe our students and parents an education worth their time and investment.  Choose your college or university wisely…your choice matters.

Again, I find myself hoping that folks start to grasp some Biblical wisdom such as these words found in the book of Proverbs, “Follow the steps of good men instead and stay on the paths of the righteous”.

I sure couldn’t say it any better.  Give me righteous men and women as faculty in the classroom and we can dramatically influence our world.  Is there redemption and forgiveness through Christ for those convicted of crimes?  Certainly.  But until that happens, let our students follow the righteous, not the ex-cons.

How Dare You Laugh!

This week I had lunch with a few students from Toccoa Falls College.  By the time lunch was over, I had laughed so hard that my face ached.  Think back to some of the times you laughed so hard you could barely stand up or you laughed so hard that you began to cry.  During those times didn’t your problems begin to melt away?  Didn’t you begin to see those serious life issues in a different perspective?  Those things you were so concerned about suddenly became lighter and easier to bear.

Many studies today show that laughter has many of the same health benefits as exercise.  Other studies show that laughter has brain-boosting powers.  With those benefits I suspect we all know people who need to laugh more.

One study from Loma Linda University found that laughter raised levels of disease-fighting mechanisms in your body by fourteen percent.  Another study by a cardiologist from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore found that laughter increases circulation about as much as a treadmill workout.

Surprised?  As followers of Christ we shouldn’t be.  The bible gave us this same information long before these medical studies took place. In Proverbs, Chapter 17, we read that, “A joyful heart is good medicine…” We all need to laugh more and enjoy life. It really is that simple.

So this week take some time to see the humor in life.  Laugh with your family, friends, co-workers, church members, and those that share your life.  I bet after a good belly laugh you will have an attitude change that helps keep your life problems in perspective.

Remember, “A joyful heart is good medicine…” Come on now…you know it’s true!

Kindness Matters

I was reading a sign the other day that had a very simple message.  Here it is…”kindness matters”. What could be simpler?  Yet we live in a world where many folks are self absorbed.  The world revolves around them and there just isn’t time for anyone else.

I was traveling recently and noticed a couple who appeared to be in their eighties.  They were enjoying dinner in a restaurant a few tables over from me. A man who had been eating at another table walked over to this older couple’s table and simply asked how long they had been married.  It turned out the older couple had been married over sixty years.  The older man was a veteran and told the other man of battles he had been in and how he loves America.  The entire conversation took about five minutes.  The younger man told the couple how much he appreciated the older man’s service to our country and the fact that he and his wife had stayed married through good times and bad and clearly loved each other.

Then the younger man did something really special.  He took the bill for the older couple’s dinner and told them dinner was on him.  The older couple looked shocked and I could clearly see tears start to well up in the older man’s eyes.  The younger man shook their hands and was off.  I never heard any of them exchange names and I’m certain they will never see each other again.

When is the last time you went out on a limb and put your Christian beliefs into practice expecting nothing in return?  The book of Proverbs in chapter three tells us, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”

So follow the advice of Proverbs and that simple sign I talked about at the beginning of our time together. Kindness matters…never let it leave you.  But don’t forget, it’s not enough to believe that.  Take some time and put it into action whenever you can. Look for opportunities.  They are all around us.