Category Archives: Conflict Resolution

Defining Tolerance

Defining Tolerance

Defining Tolerance

Tolerance is a word that’s tossed around a lot these days. People are constantly accusing Christians of being intolerant, bigots, and closed-minded. Then, we in turn accuse the accusers of being intolerant based on their very definition of tolerance! If we are intolerant because we refuse to embrace their worldview as equally valid, wouldn’t that consequently make them intolerant of us as well? It seems like a vicious cycle doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, the word “tolerance” is abused in our current culture. It seems as if the problem lies in the definition of tolerance. So maybe if we start by defining what tolerance truly is and what it is not, we can come to some common ground.

What tolerance is NOT:

  • Agreeing with another’s belief system or opposing worldview
  • Acceptance of an idea, belief or lifestyle (especially if it opposes your own) as being true or equally true
  • Refusing to believe in objective or absolute truth
  • Conceding that somebody is right, when you believe that they are wrong
  • Believing that others’ opposing views must align with your own

What tolerance IS:

  • Allowing for differences, disagreements and opposition in a kind, compassionate and respectful way
  • According to the Oxford Dictionary, tolerance is defined as “the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behavior that one dislikes or disagrees with.”
  • Another definition listed is “the capacity to endure continued subjection to something such as a drug or environmental conditions without adverse reaction.”

Note the secondary definition. Taken from a relational perspective, this would mean to endure opposing conditions (or people) without reacting adversely or in a hostile way. 

My favorite take on tolerance

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Controversies of the Paschal Pardon and Barabbas

Controversies of the Paschal Pardon and Barabbas

Controversies of the Paschal Pardon and Barabbas

Last week I mentioned that while doing some research I came across some controversy about Barabbas and the Paschal Pardon. Some scholars and skeptics have debated a few different issues of perceived inconsistencies and misconceptions. Honestly, I had never even heard of some of the criticisms. So that you won’t be surprised like I was when you hear them, I’ll give you a brief overview of what some of the debate has been about.

Was the Paschal Pardon fabricated by the apostles?

First, some critics argue the validity and truth of the Paschal Pardon. Some contend that it was made up and was not an actual custom. Their argument stems from the fact that the custom has not been mentioned in any historical documents outside the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). Their claim that there is no evidence of a Paschal Pardon aside from the Bible is accurate. Nowhere else is this exact practice mentioned besides the Bible.

However, scholars speculate several plausible theories explaining this perceived discrepancy. Some explanations include similar customs in Roman history, Hasmonean customs, and possibly even ancient Jewish/Talmudical customs. [1] [2] According to these sources there were several events in history where pardons were offered to prisoners at festival times.

Furthermore, the Bible itself has been proven a valid historical document. Therefore, simply dismissing information because it only appears in scripture is fallacy. Even non-Christian historians recognize the validity of the Bible as a historical document. In her book, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, Natasha Crain explains in detail why we can trust the Bible as a historically accurate document.[3] I highly recommend her book to learn more (and teach others) about why we can trust the Bible.

Is the Paschal Pardon inconsistent with Roman authority?

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KMS…Keep Mouth Shut

KMS...Keep Mouth Shut

KMS…Keep Mouth Shut

I think the best piece of marriage advice that I’ve ever received is KMS. Honestly, it’s been some pretty good advice in a variety of settings. However, it’s probably been some of the hardest advice to actually follow. Especially for me. Those who know me well will understand.

You see, several years ago I was serving on a volunteer team at my church. My team leader, Shelli, was amazing. She was such a great leader. I really looked up to her. One day as Shelli and I were serving together she mentioned that she and her husband were celebrating 17 years of marriage (or maybe 18 or more, I can’t remember offhand). I think I was only about 10 years into my marriage at that point, and we were going through some marriage problems.

So, I asked her, “What’s the best advice you could give me on marriage?”

Shelli quickly responded, “KMS.”

“KMS?” I questioned, “What’s KMS?”

She smiled at me and said “KMS…Keep Mouth Shut.”

I laughed and said, “Oh, I can’t do that! That’s your best advice? How do you do that? What about when you know you’re right?”

She laughed and jokingly replied, “Oh, I’m ALWAYS right, but I still keep my mouth shut!”

That was such a hard concept for me to fathom. How can I possibly believe that I’m right about something and still keep my mouth shut? 

God had already told me as much

Honestly, God had already been working on me to “KMS” for some time on this one. Even still, it took a while for me to get it through my thick head. Wait a minute! What am I talking about? I STILL struggle with this one a lot. 🙂 However, it is getting a lot easier.

After my conversation with Shelli, I started noticing bible verses about this exact topic of KMS during my quiet time readings…

“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Exodus 14:14 (AMP)

“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:1-4 (NLT)

“…So let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2b (NLT)

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 (NKJV)

“A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.” Proverbs 17:27-18 (NLT)

Did you see that? God was so nice. He started correcting me softly with phrases like “hold your peace”, “without any words”, “gentle and quiet spirit”, “few words”, “restrained lips” and “keep silent”.

I didn’t take the hint

Unfortunately, I still wasn’t taking the hint. Therefore, God got a little firmer and starting being a little more blunt about this KMS thing. Sometimes I need a good kick in the pants anyway!

Often, I like to read and study my bible in several different translations. One of my favorite things to do, as I’ve mentioned before, is read a chapter of Proverbs each day corresponding with the day of the month (since there are 31). Then, I start over again the next month reading in a different translation or version.

Several of these verses I kept reading about KMS came right out of the book of Proverbs. Can you believe that as I started reading in different translations, many of these same verses that I had already read (and had already been corrected on softly mind you) ACTUALLY had the KMS command in them! In fact, they flat-out said “keep your mouth shut” right in the verse! Who knew God could be so blunt and direct? Ouch!

KMS Verses:

KMS Bible Verses

KMS Bible Verses

“God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!” Exodus 14:14 (MSG)

“…Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.” Psalm 4:4 (MSG)

“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

“I wish you would keep your mouths shut! Then people would think you were wise.” Job 13:5 (NIRV)

“So those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time.” Amos 5:13 (NLT)

“Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23 (NLT)

“Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.” Proverbs 17:28 (MSG)

“I promised I would watch my steps so as not to sin with my tongue; promised to keep my mouth shut as long as the wicked were in my presence.” Psalms 39:1 CEB

“As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.” Ecclesiastes 5:1 (NLT)

“Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” Proverbs 13:3 (NLT)

I finally started to get the idea

When I started reading these verses that were pretty much just in my face about the whole KMS issue, I finally started to take the correction. Boy was it humbling! I started to learn that sometimes fewer words (or no words) can speak volumes. The old cliché “silence is golden” can actually be pretty accurate.

One time God even threw in an extra analogy for me during my studies to drive His KMS point in really well. Wasn’t that nice of Him? 😉 One morning as I was sitting there studying these KMS verses about remaining silent, I had a thought cross my brain. Miranda Rights. All of a sudden these words ran through my mind, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you…” Consequently, this reminded me that I will also be held accountable for everything I say. What I say can and will be used against me. Yet another reason to KMS!

“But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.” Matthew 12:36-37 (AMP) 

Now, it’s YOUR turn to KMS!

Take Some Practical Steps to KMS…Keep Mouth Shut:

  • First, read over the bible verses about KMS. There are LOTS of them! God probably deems this as a pretty important concept if the bible repeats it that much. There are some really good insights in these verses, and you can see some benefits of keeping your mouth shut. For example, when you KMS, God will fight for you, you appear more intelligent and wise, you stay out of trouble, you win people over, and you can keep yourself from sinning.
  • Next, pick a verse or two that stands out to you, write them on index cards and post them where you can see them daily as a reminder to KMS. Consider memorizing them.
  • Additionally, you might even turn some verses into a positive affirmation. For example, you could say, “God will fight for me. I will hold my peace and remain at rest.” Another affirmation might be, “I watch my tongue, keep my mouth shut, and stay out of trouble.”
  • Pray, and ask for God’s help to KMS. I try to make this a daily routine. A helpful verse to pray is Psalm 141:3. This is another verse I have written on an index card and posted on my bathroom sink so that I see it every morning.

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3 (NIV)

Has God encouraged you to KMS in your relationships? How has KMS (keeping your mouth shut) been effective for you? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, disrespectful, sarcastic, offensive, or off-topic.  By posting on this site you agree to my Comment Policy.

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If you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward!  Share this post via the sharing links below.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

Why are teen and preteen friendships so hard sometimes? Especially with girls. I know young girls who insist on remaining in unhealthy friendships that aren’t good for them. They stay friends with people who hurt them on a regular basis, over and over. Hey, I’ve BEEN that girl! Sadly, this wasn’t just as a teen either!

I currently know a few young girls who are struggling with healthy boundaries in friendships. My precious niece has given me permission to publish a letter of advice and perspective to her in hopes that others may benefit in their own friendships as well.

Dear sweet niece,

I’m so sorry that you’ve been having a hard time in some of your friendships lately. It breaks my heart to see you get hurt. Sometimes I wish I could let a few of those girls have a piece of my mind. On the other hand, there are times when I want to scream at you too for letting them treat you this way! Then I remember that I’ve been where you stand, even in my adult years. So, I get it.

But why do we continue to endure these harm-inflicting relationships? It’s because we don’t want to be alone. We’d rather be with people who, deep inside, we know aren’t good for us, than to fathom the pangs of loneliness. The problem is…we’re still lonely.

I mentioned a quote in a blog post that I wrote a while back… “There’s only one thing worse than being single and lonely.  It’s being married and lonely.” The quote referenced being married versus being single. However, this can pertain to unhealthy friendships too. Just like marriage doesn’t exempt us from feelings of loneliness, neither do friendships. Booker T. Washington once said, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” 

I’d like to give you a little bit of advice from my perspective about what I’ve learned and what God has shown me about some unhealthy friendships.

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

What to do when you don’t know what to do

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

I recently received a question from a sweet reader on a previous post I had written, How To Use the Correct GPS–God Positioning System. This person felt like they might be on the wrong track and may have made a wrong decision about attending a design school. They were starting to doubt their original decision to attend. The essence of this reader’s question was basically, “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?”

I think that many people could relate to this question. So today I wanted to share my advice to this reader for when you don’t know what to do, in hopes that it may help others too. There are 3 simple steps that I find helpful in any decision-making process, large or small. I’ll jump right into your practical steps…

Take Some Practical Steps When You Don’t Know What To Do:

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Why Christians Get Offended When Jesus Gets Attacked

This past week, I tried to convey to one of my classes why Christians get offended sometimes, at least from my perspective. I wanted to share a little insight about why this might get so heated from a Christian perspective...

Why Christians Get Offended When Jesus Gets Attacked

Recently in my college classes we discussed diversity issues and how they can affect us in college and in life. One of the exercises we do in class is called “Examining Your Own Prejudices”. It involves each student taking an index card and anonymously writing a couple of sentences about a group of people that they have the most difficulty with. I then read each of the cards aloud, and we have a class discussion about them. We talk about where these prejudices come from, how to prevent stereotyping an entire group based on them, how to work with groups with which we have difficulties, and so on.

It’s usually a pretty controversial, yet enlightening exercise. It never fails…in each class I’ve taught there is usually a card mentioning a problem that someone has with Atheists (or non-Christians). There’s also a card or two listing Christians as the problem group. These two types of cards have a tendency to bring on the most discussion, sometimes heated. It’s often because Christians get offended and hurt by some of what’s said.

This past week, I tried to convey to one of my classes why Christians get offended sometimes, at least from my perspective. I wanted to share a little insight about why this might get so heated from a Christian perspective, and why we get so hurt when people speak badly of Jesus. I shared with them a note I had typed into my phone a while back.

Imagine a friend showing up at the worst time of your life

Imagine that you go through the hardest time of your life. You end up meeting this friend, Continue reading

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

This past weekend my son and daughter were arguing. Surprise. Surprise. Why do kids argue over the stupidest things? My daughter had actually won a prize at church, a giant Pixy Stix. They started arguing over if she would share or not. When she went to put her coat on before we walked out to the car she needed someone to hold her Pixy Stix. She wouldn’t hand it to her brother but to me instead. Apparently he got mad because he was “trying to help her”. I’m sure he had other ulterior motives too. So he spouted off in a hateful tone, “I was just trying to help you! You’re a piece of crap!”

After I picked my jaw up off the floor at the nastiness that just spewed out of his mouth, I quickly informed him that we DO NOT talk like that to people. I also advised him that he would definitely not be getting any of that Pixy Stix now.

When we got to the car I made him do the 4-step apology (or as we call it now, “apologize the right way”). We had some further, lengthy “discussion” about his attitude and the ease with which he flung his verbal assault. After some conversation, the tension ceased. Something else lighthearted created peace between the two siblings again; for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now.

Then, I had that motherly 6th sense as I was driving. My daughter, the forgiving soul that she is, gave her brother some of her Pixy Stix candy.

So hollering behind me…

Me: “Are you eating some of that Pixy Stix?!”

My son: “Yes, she gave me some.”

Me: “I told you NO Pixy Stix.”

My son: “But I apologized and she forgave me.”

Me: “Apologies don’t delete consequences. Just because you said you were sorry doesn’t mean that your punishment disappears. Just because she forgave you doesn’t make the hurt you caused her disappear.”

Then I remembered an exercise that I do with my classes to demonstrate a point. Continue reading

When You Are Wronged, Stay On God’s Side

When You Are Wronged, Stay On God’s Side.  Here are a few steps to do so...

When You Are Wronged, Stay On God’s Side

With the recent events (fatal police shootings, protests and riots) going on in our nation, and even in my hometown of Tulsa, I’ve been pretty disheartened lately. I hurt for the mistreatment of human beings. It’s upsetting to see the blatant disrespect for authority. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones. I hurt for those who are making poor choices that will forever change their lives and the lives of their families. It’s discouraging to see those who are blinded by the devil’s lies.

I have felt my heart breaking for all sides. My spirit is heavy that there are even “sides” to begin with. Then, which “side” is right? Maybe both? Maybe neither? I’ve come to the conclusion that there is only ONE right side: God’s side. If we side with God, we will never go wrong.

I was very torn about whether or not I should even write about these current events for fear someone would believe that I’m taking sides. Quite frankly I don’t want to even begin to speculate who was right or who was wrong. From where I stand, I can probably find rights and wrongs on both sides. Nevertheless, I wasn’t there. I wasn’t personally involved. I don’t have all the facts. However, God WAS there. God DOES have all of the facts. We will never go wrong when we look to and lean on Him for guidance and answers. I know it sounds all flowery and pretty and is much easier said than done. Regardless of how difficult though, it’s the right thing to do. So I guess I AM taking a side. I’m taking God’s side.

Personal reflection

As I spent time reading my bible and listening to podcasts over the past week, parts of the story of David kept coming up here and there. I know enough by now to pay attention to repeated themes because more often than not, it’s God speaking to me or trying to get a message across to me. I prayed and asked God if He was trying to tell me something. Nothing came to mind at that moment. So I wrote a note in my journal: “David—repeated theme”.

I continued to spend a lot of time in prayer for and about the recent shootings, protests and riots. I’ve prayed for our leaders, for godly justice to be done, for the families, for wrong mindsets, and for the overall situation in general. Additionally, I even asked God, “How do we fix this? Where do we even start?” Then, I heard in my heart, “Look at David.” My next thought was “Ooooh…THAT’S why David keeps coming up!” After that I thought, “Wait a minute. David? What does David have to do with anything that’s going on in our country right now?”  The answer… Continue reading