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Monday, October 28, 2013

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Wish People Were More Like Dogs!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: I Wish People Were More Like Dogs!: People would be wise to look to our dogs for examples to follow. Dogs are basically happy with very little. Some food, whatever is offered, ...

I Wish People Were More Like Dogs!

People would be wise to look to our dogs for examples to follow. Dogs are basically happy with very little. Some food, whatever is offered, a few toys, a kind word, and a pat on the head, will make them wiggle all over. Dogs love their people no matter what. It is unconditional love, a love that says, "you are mine. I'm not ever going to leave you!" Sound familiar? It should, because that is exactly how our Father, God loves us! That is a good lesson from our dogs!  The gratitude they have for what they have is big lesson number two! Molly, our young Fox Terrier is just happy to be with us. She doesn't care how we dress, if we comb our hair, or if we are perfect. To her, we are part of her pack, just as we are. When she came to us as a gift from God to heal our hearts after Samson died at 17 ( also a Fox Terrier),
she didn't know what we were like, or if we would treat her kindly. Still she came into our home and joyfully gave us her love! We could learn that lesson too. Whoever God puts in our life, we need to embrace them no matter what they look like, and even if we don't know if they will hurt us.

That huge lesson, is trust! The same trust we know if we are part of Jesus' pack. We come to Him, just as we are. He does not care what we look like, as long as our heart is in good condition. We become His through trusting that what His word says is true! We trust He loves us, and will do us no harm, and just as Molly joyfully came to us, we should joyfully come to Jesus. Molly has been with us for five months, and now that she knows us, she has learned that her initial trust was reliable. She knows when we say no, it is to protect her, or keep her from trouble. She knows when we leave, we will come back, and she knows we will never hurt her, or starve her, or abandon her. She suffered a lot of anxiety at first, if we left her. She scratched at the door, and cried, and whined. But over the months, of always coming back, she knew we would return. She still doesn't like it, but she has learned to be secure in our love.

Doesn't Abba, Father do the same for us. He will tell us no for our own good. He will teach us to know Him, so that we know He will never harm us. We know through being close to Him that He loves us, and will protect us. We know that He did leave earth, stays in our hearts, and will return one day! When I have drifted off the path, and Jesus gently turns me around, I know that joyful, puppy gratitude that Molly feels when we come home. She wiggles all over, she whimpers in shear joy, and it is obvious all is back as it should be! I love that. I also love that restoration with my Savior, when I have sinned, and have been forgiven! I can't wiggle all over, but I can show my joy in praise and thanksgiving to show Jesus that all is back as it should be!

Molly has learned about us from spending time with us, learning our ways, and having a consistent set of rules. She knows when it is time to go outside, she knows that a single raised finger means stop! She knows when it is time to sleep, and that a lap is about the best place to take a rest! We learn from God by spending time in His presence. We get to know Him, we learn to love Him, and we learn His rules. We do that by spending time in prayer, just talking to Him. We read His word, because that tells us His rules, His character, and His consistency. Each day brings Molly closer to us. We learn what she likes and doesn't like. She learns our rules, and just how much she is loved. Each day with Jesus does the same thing for me. I learn every day, and I love Him a little more each day!

God designed dogs to be a best friend to their humans! I don't know how He did that, or at what point we figured that out, but I do know that if we let our fur friends, our dogs,into our lives, it is a lifetime commitment of love, trust, and devotion. Our Samson lived to 17, and the last year, he got more feeble, more dependent, and required more care. I was blessed to take care of him, and he hung on as long as he could, to delay our sadness. He quietly stayed by our side. If he had pain, he never showed it. The last few weeks his eyes were fading more, his legs didn't work too well, and his eyes were tired and sad. As our best friend, we knew it was time to say goodbye. He gave us love and loyalty, and made us feel better when we were sad. God designed him that way, and now He has given us Molly! That is a lesson too! God gives us a life long commitment of loving us, being beside us when we are sad, and being loyal to us. He is our Best Friend Forever! Besides.....dog is God spelled backwards!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bullies Are Victims Too

Bullying has become more prevalent and it is never acceptable. Yet if we can look past the bully behavior, perhaps we can see a scared, sad, child, or adult that desperately needs love. Not an easy concept is it? Most often our human side, wants revenge, or punishment for their actions. While they do need to face consequences, what makes a bully bully others? Experts have said, bullies may witness bullying at home, they have not been taught to control anger or aggression. They may experience no warmth or involvement from parents, and have overly permissive parents. Some may be bullied by older siblings, suffer harsh discipline, or have friends who bully. Bullies are usually physically strong, have no empathy, and use bullying others to build themselves up. It is used to enhance their social status and power, and sometimes the bully desperately needs attention. It can become more rampant if schools, authorities, and parents don't address the situation.

Bullying can include teasing that becomes mean spirited, spreading rumors, or attacking another. It can happen anywhere. Again if we look to the bully, we may see someone who has little success themselves. They are crying out. Please do not think I am on the side of the bully, but because I try to see others as God sees them, I just think these children are crying out for something lacking in their lives, and in their hearts. Some may think it's cool, but we need to look deeper to see what is needed to turn them around. Sometimes we adults simply do no give them the skills they need, or the attention they need to handle life. If bullying is a learned behavior, then that behavior can also be unlearned. 

I don't know if you had a bully in your life, or if you were a bully, I was both. In the 1950s as a 6th grader, we thought we were "hot stuff" and we acted like it. This was a time when 6th grade was like the seniors of the school. Next year was Junior High, and back to the low end of the status scale. We were in a new school, and only 5th and 6th grades were in the school until the next year. I look back on we girls, and realize how awful we were. Our bullying centered on 10 girls against one. She was not quite as affluent as our families(or so we thought). Her Dad was a clerk in a store. Our Dad's were in business, lawyers, doctors, and somehow we thought that made a difference. She didn't always dress as nice, and we convinced ourselves, we just didn't like her. We had none of the obvious things in our lives that would make a bully, so I shudder to think what we would have been like if our parents ignored us.

Our parents were involved in our life, we didn't have mean parents, and we did have to follow the rules. 
We did, however, think very highly of ourselves. We had no empathy for the victim at all. Our bullying was verbal, hurtful, and very wrong, but we never thought of physically hurting this girl. In a weird way we thought it made us superior, when in reality we probably were very insecure. While we teased, made fun of, and excluded her from our group, we never considered that it had to hurt her. She was different, and we thought we were cool. Fast forward 50 years or more, bullying takes on a whole new dimension. Interestingly, there were brief times in that year, that we befriended this girl, and turned on one of the other girls. I too took my turn at being teased, hearing hurtful words, and being ignored and left out of the group. I think that was a good thing, because I learned really quick how hurtful it was.

What can we do to help our children and youth through this maze of meanness? First of all, never ignore the behavior. Pay attention to your children. Talk to them, teach empathy for others, but also listen to them. Make consequences consistent and fair, make expectations very clear, and teach by example. If you have ever suffered at the mouth of others, you know if scars, and hurts, and the hate from it destroys. One major point I want to make is that teaching must also include Jesus. If Jesus fills a heart, hate will not be as successful. If a heart is brought into the obedience of Christ, the body will cheerfully obey His commands. It is my love for Christ, and my personal relationship with Him, that allows me to see the other side of the bully. It is not always easy to do, because the human in me wants to see the bully get what's due him or her. I need to pray for the bullies in our schools, and in our world as much as I do for the victims. In a bully situation, or a lost soul situation, only satan wins. We need more than ever to
protect our children whether they bully or are bullied, and only Jesus can be the ultimate example.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Lost Can Be Found!

Unless you live in a deep, dark, cave in remote America, you see our country struggling with morality, violence, disrespect, and a new normal. Everyone seems to want what they want, no matter the cost, no matter who is hurt. Our world is steeped in selfishness and in disregard for what is right. If it feels good, or if it makes me look good and have power over others, it is right. As a result those new normals as the world goes, drift down to our children. If these are their examples, then that is how they will deal with their world. When something or someone gets in the way, people will fight for their rights. If violence, injustice, rage, and disrespect is what they know, that is what they will use. Before I came to know Jesus as my Savior, I was terrible to others. It didn't matter if they were in a car messing up my schedule, or a clerk or waitress that wasn't perfect like me. I reacted with unjust rage, nasty words, and the worst bad attitude you have ever seen. If you messed up my day, my time, my plan, you were going to be run over by my nasty temper! I honestly do not know how I had any friends, much less a wonderful man, John, who wanted to marry me.

Unfortunately, we pass this on to the next generation, and then the next. As satan blinds us to these actions as being wrong, the more we become desensitized to our behavior. The behavior then increases in frequency and intensity. That is where our world is today. People want total power, total control, and if they can't have it, they will do whatever they have to to get their way. Our society has become so prideful they see no fault in themselves. It is much easier to blame someone else or something else for our action. That lets us off the hook. When I was so mean to others, I blamed my mother, because she was like that, and It wasn't my fault they messed up my day and valuable time. How silly that sounds.

We humans do not automatically come with patience, kindness, respect, and humility. It has to be learned and passed from generation to generation. Now out of all this, I have been shown frequently by God lately, that those in our country, our world, our cities that are so angry, so disrespectful, and so mean spirited, simply are lost. They are living like I did, before Jesus came into my heart and life, and changed me. I look back, and I can still feel those feelings that were so miserable, and so hate filled that I lashed out at anyone who crossed me. I know now that those people did not intend to make me mad, they did not purposely set out to make my life difficult. Since I can still project those feelings, I know I never want to feel that again. I may still feel hurt by others, and I still hate injustice, but the Spirit of God is in me now, and how I react is how He would have me react. It is by no means a done deal. I still can get angry and frustrated, but how I handle it reflects Christ in my life.

God has been impressing on me a lot lately that I need to really realize that I need to love even my enemies, and that includes enemies of my country, my city, and my neighborhood. That is so hard for my human skin form because it goes against what that skin, and the world tells us. Jesus died on a cross for me, my family, my friends, neighbors, and even my enemies. Jesus died for the lost, the angry, the violent, the evil, and the bullies of this world. He keeps showing me that it is because they are lost, just as I was, that they act with anger, violence, and immorality. I have been trying to pray for the lost. I can't change them, I can't let myself get upset by their actions. I can pray they find Jesus, and that their lives are turned around just as mine was.

I am also praying that parents and teachers can teach children to respect others, and to learn to take responsibility for their actions. When I grew up in the 40s and 50s, we were taught that grown ups, and police, teachers, parents had authority over us, and our job was to respect that, and obey. We didn't always like it, and in small ways we rebelled, but we also knew that disobedience came with swift and sometimes heavy consequences. Most of us were not willing to cross that line. We got in trouble sometimes, but we knew if we got caught, it would be dealt with. No one worried about our sensitive feelings, or how fair it was. Right was right, and wrong is wrong! Children are naturally self-centered, so teaching them God's word, respect for others, including all living things, is vital. If disrespect and hate is the legacy left, it will be the legacy passed on. If left unchecked, each generation becomes more resistant to the rules. Following Jesus is the first step to putting theses values back into America's framework. Matthew 7:12 says to treat others as we want to be treated. If we are going to teach it, we had better be living it! God's values are always applicable. Our job is to know Him, know His word, apply it, and pass it on, the next time you hear about someone doing something mean,nasty,  or violent....hard as it is! PRAY for them, and know they are lost. What they need is Jesus as their Lord and Savior!