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Words Matter

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Man and Woman 4 WebThere’s a fine line between reckless words and wise ones, especially when those words appear on social media. This is a difficult post to write because I want to end up on the healing side of that line.

Here’s what happened:

One of my mother’s friends visited her during the final days of her life. The friend sat on a chair at the foot of my mother’s bed and posted on Facebook that she was saying her final goodbyes to a dying friend. She mentioned my mother’s name and tagged my sister in the post. Her words were then read not only by her own “friends” but by all my sister’s acquaintances, include my mother’s oldest living sister. She and a number of other readers misinterpreted the message to mean that Mother had already died. To make matters worse, all my aunts thought we deliberately did not contact them with the news.

Another family member took it upon herself to make the announcement to the rest of the family again using the vice of a Facebook page. After she submitted the post she thought it reasonable to find out the facts, but never thought to contact the administrator of the page to delete the post after she found out the information was false.

The post appeared again two weeks after my mother’s funeral. I was very distraught about it and requested the post be removed from the family page. Admittedly, I was as bad as the others, although I did most of my damage in a private message to the family member. Yes, my words were more reckless than healing at one point. And I’m not making up excuses for my actions.

In the wake of all of this, some relatives have unfriended one another. There has been a lot of needless hurt and stress at a time when we should all be pulling together. Why? Because of one reckless post on Facebook. So unnecessary.

Here’s the takeaway:

  1. Your words matter whether spoken or written. People take your messages seriously.
  2. Never post someone else’s private matters on social media even if they’re true!
  3. Respect the rights of others. If the immediate family has remained silent about their situation, you have no right to publicize it.
  4. Verify everything you read on Facebook before sharing. Ask those involved, NOT relatives, when you can. If you can’t, don’t assume the message is correct and re-post it. Let it alone!
  5. Mind your own business. I don’t mean to be harsh here, but you can see how much suffering one reckless word has caused our family. Just tend to your own matters and let others tend to theirs.
  6. Ask for permission to re-post personal information and photos. Regardless of who posted the information, you don’t have the right to re-post personal information or photos on your timeline without permission.
  7. Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth, or fingers in motion.
  8. Gossip hurts. Stop it.

Social media would be so much more enjoyable if we’d all use words of the wise to bring healing.

How about you? How have you used your words today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

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It Left a Scar

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29 & 32)

Experiences Drives a Deeper Understanding

Experience Drives Deeper Understanding

Sunday was an exciting day for me. I drove our pickup truck, not once, but three times. We’ve had this truck for 3 years, and I only drove it one other time. Before this truck, we had another truck for 16 years, which I only drove once or twice.

So why the truck-driving reluctancy you ask.

It’s not so much the size of the vehicle. I drove Gene’s pickup truck a lot when we first got married. But almost forty years ago, a car barreled off the bypass into our truck at an estimated speed of 55 or 60 miles an hour. It knocked the left front wheel off the axil. Amazingly, no one was hurt, including my 18-month-old daughter. Did I mention we didn’t have the fancy-schmancy car seats for small children they have nowadays? Our guardian angels were working overtime that day for sure

With or without angels guarding me, cars and trucks, approaching me from a left-side street panicked me for years. And obviously, I still struggle with getting behind the wheel of a larger-than-a-sedan vehicle.

It amazes me how incidents like that accident continue to affect our lives decades later. We can’t prevent mishaps, tragedies, or trauma. Nor can we eliminate the scars they leave. However, we are commissioned to do whatever we can to minimize the impact of such events in one another’s lives. Unfortunately, by our words, actions, and attitudes, we sometimes contribute to or are the cause of someone else’s lifelong struggles.

We can’t take back our thoughtless words. We can’t undo our inconsiderate deeds. We cannot erase the past.

Nevertheless, by God’s grace, we can start today to show genuine compassion. Speak edifying words. Touch others with Christlike healing hands.

How about you? How can you minimize someone else’s pain today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

A Fate Worse than Identity Theft

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.” (Mark 13:5-6)

TheifA handsome young man speaking with the voice of an elderly woman announces his “paid vacation” in the Bahamas. The scenario grabs our attention and even provokes a laugh … until we realize what the commercial is really depicting.  Then we quickly sober up. Identity theft is anything but funny.

I have never been a victim of such a crime. But I know several people who have been. One of my friends recently discovered someone in South Africa had made substantial purchases on her credit card and had dipped his hand into her savings. Fortunately, her credit card holder notified her of the extreme charges and voided them as well as the card. However, the stolen savings were not so easily restored. Furthermore, the bank froze all of her assets to protect her other accounts. That’s a good thing, except she has bills to pay. The mess could take several months to cleanup and to release her money. How is she supposed to pay her bills without access to her checking account?

Like I said, identity theft is a serious crime and causes a nightmare of complications for the victim to resolve. But Jesus warned us about a much more critical form of identity theft …

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Next, we’ll consider another form of slavery. Prepare by studying Luke 4:17-19.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

But It’s Only a Tiny Stretch of the Truth

Spiritual Warfare

Part 18

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 NIV)

Trust is like Blown Glass Once Broken, next to Impossible to Restore.

Trust is like Blown Glass Once Broken, next to Impossible to Restore.

I absolutely loathe being called a liar. Not that I’ve never misled someone or told an untruth, but I don’t deliberately lie. I have very deep feelings about lying. The practice stems from Satan himself. And I want no affiliation with that old snake.

Lying is by far the quickest way to break trust with our closest associates, friends, and family members. I used to drill my daughters about the importance of telling the truth in ALL situations, even if it meant punishment was sure to follow. I reinforced the significance of lying by promising a much more severe punishment if they chose to lie and I found out the truth. There are several reasons why I hammered them constantly with this concept.

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Next Week:

We’ll consider some of the lies the enemy tells. Prepare by reading, pondering, and praying about 1 John 5:20.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Unforgiving—A Weapon Formed Against You

Spiritual Warfare

Part 11

And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled). (Luke 17:4 AMP)

What's Keeping You Boxed In?

What’s Keeping You Boxed In?

“This will hurt me worse than it does you,” Mother said just before she “introduced” me to the unfriendly side of the hairbrush. She, actually, did more grounding than spanking to discipline me. But I do remember the reference to the unfriendly side of the hairbrush and her mentioning my punishment hurt her worse than it did me. I could never figure that out—how could she hurt worse than I did? Wasn’t I the one at the stinging end of the brush? Nevertheless, my mother always forgave the offense quickly.

Throughout Scripture, Jesus teaches the necessity of discipline. But He also commands that we forgive the transgressor as often as he seeks forgiveness.

That’s a difficult command to follow. But in a spiritual battle, the enemy can shape our unforgiving attitudes into…

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How about you? Have you disarmed the enemy by forgiving as the Father has forgiven you?

Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and pray about Revelation 12:11 and 19:10.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Take Off You Breastplate of Righteousness

Spiritual Warfare

Part 5

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place… (Ephesians 6:14 NIV)

Breastplate of RighteousnessI’d never compromise my Christian standards. Really? Not long ago, I slipped out of my breastplate of Christ’s righteousness and shrugged back into my old self-righteous breastplate as I focused on all the negatives in my life and all the positives in everyone else’s lives. Comparing my slow progress with others’ giant leaps of success opened a passageway to my heart. The enemy lost no time in stringing up his bow and shooting his fiery arrows straight into my vulnerable vitals. Swoosh—you’re not good enough. Swoosh—you’re being punished. Swoosh—you’ll never amount to anything. Swoosh—you deserve better. Swoosh—God has turned His back on you. Each accusation easily penetrated my self-righteous breastplate.

When we rely on our own righteousness, we often compromise…

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and pray about Ephesians 6:10-17. The more we study this passage the better prepared for battle we’ll be.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Who’s Fighting?

Spiritual Warfare

Part 1

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

Join the Lord's Army

Join the Lord’s Army

Recently a visiting pastor told our congregation about a young woman who sat in a church service. Her spirit, dark and anxious, caused her to fidget in the pew as the preacher gave the altar call. The woman had a sorted past marred by witchcraft and drugs. No one in the church encouraged her to step forward, although some may have felt the Holy Spirit’s nudging. The service ended. The woman walked out and got in her car. Twenty minutes later…

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, thinking about, and praying about Ephesians 6:10-11.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks