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Tag Archives: tough love

An Essential Part of the Process

Part of the current defund the Police movement is based upon removing discipline from America’s Justice System. Yet, as a former high school teacher, once you remove discipline from a classroom chaos ensues. As District Attorneys in major cities across the country continue to lessen the penalties for breaking the law, this has given birth to a Smash and Grab mentality. When major retailers have given up on certain unsafe locations, this highlights that discipline is an essential part of the process in life.

You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? – Hebrews 12:7

Whether you’re a coach, friend, parent or teacher, disciplining anyone isn’t easy. Proper discipline requires consistency and an immense amount of energy. If the person you are trying to help is defiant and not teachable, you’ll find yourself emotionally drained. Yet, when you say the wrong thing at the wrong time, this will likely hinder any progress that you’ve made in helping this individual. Tough love is difficult to display, but it is an essential part of the path to recovery.

Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all], Hebrews 12:8.

The author of Hebrews compares life to running a marathon, filled with unexpected detours and obstacles along the way. Whenever you’re running, if it’s too hot, you may have to shed various layers of clothing along the way. Over the course of life, people tend to collect and gather unnecessary possessions that can weigh you down over time. Discipline may be used to help you distinguish what’s important from what you no longer need. In the end, parents resort to discipline to shape and train children into the people God wants them to become making this painful exercise an essential part of the process.

by Jay Mankus

Readily Pardon and Forgive

Pardon is the act of forgiveness where a judge or individual decides to cancel an offense. Despite being guilty and wrong, the written record of this offense is purged and removed. Perhaps, the apostle Paul was reflecting upon part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount when writing the words below. Whatever the inspiration behind this message, Paul encouraged members of the Church at Colosse to readily pardon and forgive.

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive], Colossians 3:13.

While the apostle Paul practiced tough love when the occasion or timing was right, what makes Christian’s different from everyone else is a spirit of charity, 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. Paul shares a similar message to the Church at Ephesus, to emulate the love of Jesus, Ephesians 5:1-2. Whenever you display grace upon individuals, whether they deserve it or not, love in action makes the unspiritual hungry for what you have inside your heart.

For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses, Matthew 6:14-15.

In the passage above, Jesus introduces the conditional status of forgiveness. Similar to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, genuine love waits for and is ready when opportunities arise to console, encourage and uplift. Based upon the clause above, how you forgive others will be the basis for how God forgives you. Anyone who is willing to readily pardon and forgive others on earth will receive the same outpouring of grace by God in the afterlife.

by Jay Mankus

When Christian’s Don’t Like What God Has to Say

American author Eleanor H. Porter wrote the novel Pollyanna in 1913. Actress Hayley Mills brought this character to life in the 1960 film entitled Pollyanna. Despite the hardship of being a missionary’s daughter all her life, Pollyanna refused to be negative. Pollyanna is symbolic of an excessively cheerful and optimistic individual who sees life with their glass half full. While no one likes to receive criticism, imperfect human beings will make mistakes. Whether through conviction from your conscience, guilt that consumes your soul while reading the Bible or a rebuke from a church leader, there will be times when you won’t like what God has to say about your current spiritual condition.

[But the Lord rebukes Jeremiah’s impatience, saying] If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? And if [you take to flight] in a land of peace where you feel secure, then what will you do [when you tread the tangled maze of jungle haunted by lions] in the swelling and flooding of the Jordan? For even your brethren and the house of your father—even they have dealt treacherously with you; yes, even they are [like a pack of hounds] in full cry after you. Believe them not, though they speak fair words and promise good things to you, Jeremiah 12:5-6.

An Old Testament prophet reveals an unpleasant experience in the passage above. If you have ever watched a Few Good Men starring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, these words from God remind me of the court scene where Lieutenant Kaffee cross examines Colonel Jessup. Just as the Colonel didn’t believe the Lieutenant could handle the truth, stubborn Christians have a hard time accepting the Lord’s rebuke. Instead of being open to criticism and teachable to alter their current path, many choose to turn a deaf ear, refusing to change course.

You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood. And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? – Hebrews 12:4-7

The author of Hebrews unveils the purpose for spiritual discipline. Although you may not want to hear this, discipline is a sign of God’s love. The Lord isn’t like a human coach who would rather be loved than offend his players. Rather, God uses tough love to correct anyone who strays off course. If you truly want to reach your full potential, you need to surround yourself with others who are more advanced and skilled to reveal what you are lacking. While this may be painful and uncomfortable, if you want to grow, you must be willing to be pruned, John 15:1-7. The next time you don’t like what God has to say, submit and swallow your pride so that you’ll come out of this stronger than ever before.

by Jay Mankus

When All You Know Begins to Fall Apart

After graduating from high school and college, some may use this newly acquired knowledge to look down upon less educated individuals.  Meanwhile, others will immediately apply this wisdom, believing every word graduate assistants and professors divulge.  Unfortunately, many learn the hard way when trusted theories begin to fall apart under the reality called life.  Thus, when all you know begins to fall apart, developing a back up plan is a crucial step toward recovery.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed, 1 Peter 4:12-13.

The Bible is full of advice for anyone who undergoes trying times.  One of Jesus’ disciples offers some tough love in the passage above.  You shouldn’t be surprised by accidents, circumstances or events that occur.  These happenings are merely used by God to challenge, refine and test your faith.  Jesus’ earthly brother encouraged first century Christians to embrace trials, James 1:3-6, considering these as teachable moments to grow and mature as a person.  However, putting this into practice is much easier said than done.

“So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish (stupid) man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great and complete was its fall,” Matthew 7:24-27.

Sometimes people will have their foundation rocked by natural disasters.  Others are forced to cope with disease, illness or viruses that have no known cure, hoping and waiting for a miracle.  These events will either break or make you.  How you respond will dictate your future path.  Thus, when everything you know begins to fall apart, lean on a cornerstone who is reliable, Ephesians 2:20.  If you do, you will find a solid rock to stand upon when everything else get’s washed away.

by Jay Mankus

Helping the Oppressed

According to a 2011 study, nine millions Americans struggle with sexual addiction.  Some of the affected are former victims of abuse, rape or were exposed to pornography early in life.  Depending upon the degree or severity of these addictions, it’s clear that someone needs to be the hands and feet of Jesus to help the oppressed.

Flee from sexual immorality.  Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body, 1 Corinthians 6:18.

While all addictions should be taken seriously, sexually immorality is different, causing individuals to sin against their own body.  Like any temptation in life, the more you indulge by giving in, the harder it becomes to stop.  Thus, anyone who loses control by engaging in sexual addiction becomes held hostage by lust, unable to resist time after time.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death, James 1:13-15.

The context of the passage above uses a fishing illustration.  A good fisherman knows where the fish are and how to lure their out of hiding.  In the same way, Satan knows your weakness and how to entice you to take the bait until you are hooked on sin.  In view of this reality, three things must change to help the oppressed.  First, any addict must purge themselves from the environment that leads to sin.  Second, you must admit and confess publicly that you have a problem.  Finally, you need to find an accountability partner to insure that a relapse does not occur.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, Proverbs 27:17.

After graduating college, I met a friend in Ohio who was seduced by his baby sister when he was twelve.  Following a young adult Bible Study one night, we began to open up to each other about our current spiritual struggles.  In the next few weeks, deep conversations continued without any spiritual healing.  Frustrated by a lack of progress, the two of us agreed to enter into an accountability relationship, meeting weekly at a restaurant.  This wasn’t easy as topics like masturbation, pornography and sexual immorality were brought up.  However, if you want to be completely healed from any type of addiction, tough love is essential.  Therefore, if you want to help someone you know who is oppressed, make an effort to connect weekly so that the path toward healing may begin.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Day Flushed Down the Toilet

There was a time in my life when I was highly motivated, eager to reach my full potential.  Unfortunately, I now experience periods of  apathy, not caring how productive I am on my days off.  Like a malaise, time ticks away while reclining in my chair.  Before I can snap out of it, another day is flushed down the toilet.

While watching a reality show last, Jon Taffer, host of Bar Rescue, reached out to a family owned business in Staten Island, New York.  Initially successful, three brothers let their establishment become inundated with a motley crew of bikers.  In desperate need of an intervention, Jon uses tough love to convict this family of their inadequacies.  When push comes to shove, you either need to stand up to face your fears or your dreams will be flushed down the toilet.

If you find yourself heading in the wrong direction, accountability from a co-worker or friend is essential to stay on track.  Proverbs 27:17 suggests that accountability sharpens those who engage in and practice it.  Therefore, if you don’t want another day to be lost to idle time, get involved now by meeting a friend in need.  Unless you do, there’s a good possibility that another day will be flushed down the toilet.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

It’s Not Okay Anymore

On December 29th, 2010, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell criticized the NFL and Philadelphia Eagles for cancelling a prime time Sunday Night due to a snow storm.  Rendell’s referred to this decision as another sign of the wussification of America.  Although these comments created a backlash against the city’s former Mayor, its about time someone stood up and proclaimed, “It’s not okay anymore!”

When you set the bar low or don’t clearly communicate your expectations of others, results usually suffer.  While the pacifist wil say, “that’s okay.”  Visionary leaders strongly disagree, refusing to accept failure as an optional.  Deep inside the human heart, a tug of war is raging back and forth.  Minds caught in the middle struggle to see a glass half full. Blurred by disappointment, teary eyes try to focus, gazing in on the emptiness if life.

One of the last weapons to change a world losing hope is accountability.  Whether its positive peer pressure steering individuals toward healthy disciplines or tough love to confront a wayward child, each act is screaming out, “its not okay anymore!”  Regardless of where you are in life, may the Matthew 18:15-18 principle motivate you to train others in the way that they should go, Proverbs 22:6.  Make a stand today by shouting, “It’s not okay anymore!”

by Jay Mankus

Billy Joel Was Right

For many, music serves as a time warp, taking you back to the days of your youth upon hearing a song on the internet, mp3 player, radio or television.  According to 1 Samuel 16:21-23, music contains healing powers, soothing the soul of King Saul.  When I was younger, 8 track players were on their way out, vinyl had hit its peak and cassette players were the rage.  As for musicians, I was partial toward Billy Joel, Chicago and REO Speedwagon.  Two days ago, I couldn’t get one of Billy Joel’s song out of my mind.

Honesty was released in 1979 on Billy Joel’s 6th album 52nd Street.  The more I played the lyrics over in my mind, especially the chorus below, a truth hit home.

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.

In this politically correct age, void of honest humor, honesty has become a lonely word.  Instead of pushing individuals toward greatness, they are coddled, hand fed and led to believe they are greater than they really are.  Public education is the biggest offender of this crime against humanity.

My high school teachers told us the truth, even when you didn’t want to hear it.  These words served as inspiration and motivation to prove others wrong.  As a parent of 3 children now, all in public education for the first time, administrators need to apply the message of Billy Joel’s song.

Students don’t need award ceremony after award ceremony, celebrating who came to school every day and who didn’t.  This generation needs to be challenged by demonstrating tough love.  Affirmation and encouragement is important, yet to be a rugged individual, you must learn to endure hardship, embrace trials and pursue excellence.  The more you hear the truth through constructive criticism, your ability to reach your full potential increases.  As you practice this for yourself, you will see Billy Joel was right, honesty is a lonely word.  Change it now!

by Jay Mankus

On a personal note, its nice to hear how great you are.  However, to be the best writer I can be, please send me comments about topics I am not covering, how I can improve my writing or flaws you pick up reading my blogs.  Perfection may be impossible to achieve, Matthew 5:48, but trying to achieve it often results in future benefits or break throughs.  Any constructive criticism you are willing to send my way is greatly appreciated.  Good day and may God bless you all!

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