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Archive for May, 2015

Regarding the recent riots in Baltimore and the claim by many that the solution to the problems there is the need for more education: We don’t have an educational crisis in America and in our inner cities as much as we have a crisis of character.

One solution I’ve been thinking about regarding the urgently-needed change in our inner-cities (and not just the inner cities, but in our entire nation): providing significant tax-breaks and other incentives for professional and/or retired men to devote several hours per week to mentoring young males in the area of character — in small groups of 2-3.

This need is especially acute in our inner-cities, where the absence of fathers is an epidemic.

The type of character-mentoring I’m referring to is in areas that can provide a solid foundation for success — immediate and future: time management; study habits; teaching on the value of hard work, saving, investing, honesty, the proper treatment of women, preparation for marriage and fatherhood; taking the young men into places of employment to observe, learn and ask questions.

If these men came with very high recommendations (and appropriate vetting), they would also come in with respect. If this became a movement, it would also come with much anticipation and receptivity among young men.

Ideally, it would be led not by another government program, but by faith-based initiatives, which President Bush brought in, but for some reason, President Obama ended.

Perhaps this is already being done, but I don’t think it is something that is widespread. If it is not, perhaps the time and openness is just right.

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Some sins committed against us are so deep, so grievous, so damaging and so reprehensible that it may take the person who is sinned against years of forgiving the offender before the victim (you) is free from all bitterness.

If you have been sinned against in any, many, or all of the above ways, you understand what I’m talking about.  Or do you?

Living in bitterness for what someone has done against us certainly doesn’t hurt the offender; if the offender has not apologized (stronger: repented), he probably could care less about you and what he has done to you!

Living in bitterness only hurts you and the people close to you!  You know that, but you need to hear it again, and again, and again, don’t you?  I realize some people actually enjoy being bitter (most probably would not admit to that).

Bitterness Two

But in reading this post, I assume you are not one of those people; I assume you want nothing to do with bitterness and that you are wise enough to know the awful damage it brings you.  You want to be free.

But how?  And, is it really possible to be free from being bitter against someone who has brought such pain to you?  Yes, it is, but it must involve the only One who lived on this earth who never sinned against anyone — but against Whom ALL have sinned: God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I urge you, friend, to open your Bible to Matthew 18 and read Jesus’ stunning teaching on forgiveness (there is nothing in existence that you can read on this matter that is so simple and yet so profound), from verses 18-35.

Read it, read it again and then read it some more and then do what Jesus told Peter to do: forgive — as often as you need to — until you no longer need to!

Bitterness One

Let me repeat what I said earlier: some things done against us might take years of forgiving the person.  But I can assure you of this, from personal experience: If you are committed to forgive the person until you no longer need to, you WILL experience the freedom you’re looking for and that God wants you to walk in.

And it is then that you will have power over those circumstances; you will have power over bitterness and all of its grievous effects.  THAT is the power and freedom of ongoing forgiveness!

How do you do this?  Here is how I approach this critical matter: I say something along these lines: “Lord, I choose to forgive this person (name the person) for (and then list the offense or offenses) and I release the person from all bitterness, in Jesus’ name.

Prayer

You see, friend, it can be simple; it doesn’t need to be complicated.  But by exercising your will to do this, you definitely experience freedom from bitterness.  You most often will NOT “feel” like forgiving the person, but you do so because you MUST do so — not because you feel like it.

Let me repeat one more time: some sins committed against us are so deep that it may take years of forgiving the person — maybe doing so every day — if necessary.  And it hardly seems fair that YOU should have to do the forgiving, right?

But there are only two choices in the matter; hold onto your bitterness, and suffer the consequences (see Mt. 18:35) — living in torment — or forgive until you no longer need to forgive and experience freedom.  I pray you will always choose to forgive.

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