Friday, November 11, 2016

The Differences Don’t Matter

Coach Christopher G. Green

Opinion Editorial

Many years ago, in the early days of our community outreach, there was a particular Sunday on which our family went out to eat at one of those all-you-can-eat-smorgasbord restaurants. People from other churches, fellowships and assemblies were scattered around the room, all sitting at their tables laughing and talking.
Suddenly I heard the awful sound of someone gagging and choking. Children began to scream and without hesitating, I jumped up and ran over to that table across the room. When I got there, a woman leaned back in her chair, her eyes bulging and a horrible noise, like a gargle, was coming from her throat. The people at the table were yelling and the children were crying. I quickly got behind her and tried to lift her up to perform the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge whatever was stuck in her throat. My effort was futile as fear and despair began to fill my heart. 

Then, out of nowhere, a rather tall and husky young man was standing next to me and helping me to lift the woman. Once we got her to her feet, he got behind her, wrapping his arms around her, and with a couple of powerful thrust, dislodged the food. She began to breathe and burst into grateful tears. 

There are no words to describe the tears of joy that came to everyone at that table. The young man and I just shook hands. Eventually, the paramedics arrived and we all returned to our tables, gathering with our various families, where we rehearsed the event over and over again.

It occurred to me as I rejoined my family, that in that moment of crisis, that none of our differences mattered. It did not matter what church the woman attended. The young man did not stop and ask me about my religious or political beliefs. We did not ask the woman her religious or political beliefs. All that mattered was that her life was slipping away before our eyes, and we could not just stand there and watch it happen. 

I remember how my wife hugged me and told me how proud she was, and even though that did a lot for my confidence as a man, even that was not the reason for trying to help the woman. All that mattered was the saving of that life. An actual crisis changed our lives forever. It changed the very reason we’re working in the urban community today.

That day in that restaurant, it became clear that this is the way we are to see life. People are choking and dying all around us, yet those of us who have the power to change things, are spending our time fighting over our differences instead of saving the lives of those who are choking on injustice, poverty, strife and division. My wife and I work with the homeless and the unemployed, so we’re always around people who are choking on despair, disappointment, and discouragement. Wouldn't it have been ridiculous for me and the young man to have gotten into a fight with each other instead of working together to help the choking woman?

I tell you this true-life event from my life because I felt you needed to understand a little more about what it means to CARE. You see, when we say we really don’t focus on the division and strife amongst people, we really mean it. We realize there are people who won’t agree with all of our religious beliefs, our core values and our strategies for connecting with people in the urban world. We won’t agree with all of theirs. But it doesn’t matter when we hear that choking sound coming from hearts and homes. 

We realize there are people groups who have had negative clashes and personal conflicts in their history with one another, but we’re working for the time to come when we can lay down the social, economic and political weapons that are pointed at one another and start responding to the choking people all around us.

I feel the same way now as I did that day when I ran over and tried to help the woman. The key was that I couldn’t do it all by myself.  I needed the help of another man, who was most likely from another religious or political background, who probably did not agree with all of my beliefs or all of my core values. We didn’t even ask each other any questions after saving the woman’s life.  It just didn’t matter.

Christopher G. Green
Lead Instructor
Fruitful Life Learning Community

World Civility Ambassador, Dr. Clyde Rivers calls Coaches Chris and Carol Green the leading skilled experts in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified master life coaches who founded the Fruitful Life Network, Inc. an innovative community care and coaching outreach.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Called to Reconciliation

Christopher G. Green
Fruitful Life Learning Community

Opinion Editorial

The unimaginable has happened and Donald Trump has been elected as the next President of the United States of America.  While millions are rejoicing, rebellions and protests are breaking out all over the country.

As I have written and warned in previous blogs, many in the American Christian Church were choosing sides. Millions of Believers were voting based on issues of liberty (religious, civil, moral, etc.). On the other hand, millions were voting based on issues of justice (economical, social, political, etc.). 

Please don't be duped. Get out of your feelings and emotions and really listen to what I’m saying. We cannot win this battle by seeking victory for only one side or the other (liberty or justice).  In our pledge of allegiance, the quote is "liberty AND justice" for ALL.  If you fight for liberty at the expense of justice, there will be an uprising from those who are not getting justice. If you fight for justice at the expense of liberty, the entire country will pay the price, falling under the tyranny of the vocal majority.

So how do we get both liberty and justice for all?

I believe both are found only in one government and that is the Kingdom (Government) of God.  I'm talking about the governance of God in every heart and home.

Now let me make it practical for what is happening in America today. The ugly giants of racism and class-ism are rising and Christian Believers will not be able to ignore them any longer.  In today’s world, silence is approval of the suppression of liberty or justice.  We must recognize it in our own hearts and expose it in our own Churches. We must deal with the -isms, but joining with or simply ignoring the protests, even in your own heart, is not the way.

The slumbering giant (the True Church) is waking up. It is waking to its mission to win and disciple the nations, to take care of the poor and widows, and to walk and live in unity and love. 

We are Ambassadors of Christ, called to the Ministry of Reconciliation. We are not called to merely fight for liberty, but we must join the fight for justice as well. We can no longer leave these battles to the government or radical activist groups.

A violent overthrow of President-elect Trump and the White Supremacy mindset that is often attached to many of his supporters, will not bring peace, liberty or justice.  If that were to occur, people would not unite. Instead, such action would only release another set of protests; perhaps a major revolt. 

I'm not a Republican. I'm not a conservative (many people's code word for racist).  I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a progressive (many people's code word for atheist). I’m another one of those registered Independents who has, through the years, sometimes voted for write-ins at the Presidential level, while voting according to my understanding of Biblical priorities at the state and local levels of government. So I have no allegiance to any earthly parties. I ‘m not writing from those perspectives.

The problem is that now, at least half of America sees the majority of the Christian Church as being on the same side as the racist groups who are unsympathetic to the issues of justice. That's a huge problem.

Let me start here. 

My government is within me: Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost. On the earth, I can vote for a president, but in reality, I have a king. He is the God of the universe. He told Pontius Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world."  

So our role, in this emerging racial and class war, is to promote reconciliation. That's what the Word of God declares. It’s not an opinion. It's the command of God.

Reconciliation is about bringing opposing forces and enemies together. Every one of us, in the True Church, is called to THIS. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. His word declares that He now pleads to the world through us. 

Over the last week I’ve had to tell myself to get back in focus. Get back to the reason God saved me. Get back to the place where I kept my eyes on the Lord our God.  Let’s seek first the Kingdom of God and get His strategy to reconcile the fight for liberty with the fight for justice. He will do amazing things in the hearts of people.

God says in His word: “Why do the nations rage, imagining a vain thing?” God laughs from the heaven because He has already installed His king. His king is installed in the hearts of His people and they already have a government. They already have a purpose because GOD already has a plan.  His plan is Reconciliation. He desires to reconcile people to Himself and people to one another. 

So, before we try to fix America, let’s allow God to work IN us, so He can speak THROUGH us to bring reconciliation.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It's Still a Matter of the Heart


Prior to the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, we offered no political opinions. We simply presented the spiritual and moral issues that are identified in the Bible. Unfortunately, the issues and interpretations of morality, justice and equality have fallen on two different sides of the dominant political parties in America.

This dilemma causes many Believers to vote for a president who is a Democrat and then vote for Senators and Congressmen who are Republicans in order to balance the scales. Or they vote for a Republican president and then vote for Senators and Congressmen who are Democrats. This is why it’s so difficult to navigate through the political process in our country. It’s also the reason it’s so difficult to explain one’s choices to family, friends and colleagues.

Here is what we wrote nearly eight years ago and it is incredibly amazing how it still applies to us today:

After we sent an email on the day of President Obama’s inauguration and quoted from the Bible that we are to pray for him, several pastors and leaders in this community, who opposed Obama, discontinued support and communication with this ministry and us. On the other side, friends and family who supported the new president took our email to mean that we were merely offering some form of insincere political patronizing.

We thought we were (and our intentions were) fulfilling our Pastoral leadership responsibility to bring our divided congregations together and to focus on the things that God desires to do in our nation. Our email had nothing to do with either endorsing or rejecting the President.

Here is what we sent out on January 21, 2009:

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers and intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone---for kings, and for all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior." 

---1 Timothy 2:1-3

Make no mistake about it; yesterday (the inauguration) was a profoundly significant day. We still don’t agree with many of President Obama’s policies and agendas. Many of them conflict with Biblical teachings. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that God will use anybody to accomplish what HE wants to do in a nation.

Where did we get the idea that a political leader MUST be someone who follows all of the principles of the Bible in order for God to use that person to accomplish His purpose and plan? 

Again, I’m not ignoring the agenda of the President. We’re actually acknowledging the sovereignty of God. As flawed as we are as human beings, it’s amazing that God chooses us to do anything in this life. 

God called Nebuchadnezzar His servant even though he was the emperor that destroyed Jerusalem, killing thousands of people, and carried their best and brightest into exile. God chose him to execute judgment; therefore he was God’s servant even though he wasn’t a Godly man. 

Presidential elections are about more than trying to get a scripture-quoting, Bible-toting candidate in the Oval Office. This is about getting synchronized with what God is doing in our lifetime in America. If America is under judgment, (and many Christian leaders believe it is) then God will set the person in place that needs to be there at the time of judgment, repentance, recovery or rebuilding.

So we’re going to stay focused on the bigger picture. It doesn’t matter so much who sits in the Oval Office of the White House. It still comes down to who is sitting in the Oval Office of MY house.

We'll close this week's newsletter with the lyrics of a song written by a dear mentor and friend more than 30 years ago.

If you want a brand new world, you gotta have brand new people.

If you want brand new people, we've gotta have a brand new life.
If you want a brand new life, you gotta have a brand new spirit.
If you want a brand new spirit, you gotta come to Jesus Christ!  
- Dr. Myles Munroe

We encourage you to cast your vote, but do not cast your cares on a human being. A potential candidate will get our votes, but only GOD gets all our confidence.

Christopher G. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Let It Live!

Opinion Editorial

Last week, we received the highest number of responses to our weekly e-mails, than in any previous edition. That tells us that many hearts were stirred regarding the issue of knowing who their true King is. We stand corrected in one of our observations from last week. This is not so much a time of DIVIDING the Body of Christ, as it is a time of DISCERNING the Body of Christ. Now we will discover who understands what it means to be a part of the Body of Christ, and who simply holds a few religious beliefs. 

Change has come to America. In my humble view, we are no longer one nation under God. We have become many nations, bowing to many gods. With that altered view of where our nation truly stands, we can still prepare ourselves to go forth anyway, into this changed world as ONE Body to do God's will.

The real revelation of this so-called “New America” is that the term Christian does not mean the same thing to every American. Today, there are many definitions of that word. The main issue is that many citizens of our nation have made it clear, even before the election, that they don’t want God, His Word, His ways, or His influence in their lives. 

So how do we proceed from this moment on? Carol and I believe that God has appointed this moment to be part of the history of this nation, but it is for reasons that are known only to Him and His sovereign will. As a result, there is a new level of dependence upon God that has developed in our hearts.

Over the last two weeks we've been talking about what it takes to live in the eye of the hurricane. First we discussed the Peace of God and then we encouraged you to keep the unity of the Spirit. 

This week we want to conclude this discussion with the final portion of our focus scripture, Colossians 3:16, which tells us:  

...Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

That's a lot of scripture to attempt to discuss, so we'll sum it up with this: Let the Word of God really live in you.  We're not going to be able to navigate in the eye of the storm if we don't recognize the voice and will of God. The only way to consistently recognize God's voice and will is to know God's Word. We can't truly stay in step with Him if we don't live in His Word and let His Word live in us. 

As we read this verse it occurred to us that we can always teach and admonish one another, but the question is, are we teaching from the wisdom that comes from the Word of God? 

James 3:15 declares that there is a wisdom that does not descend from above, but it is earthly, sensual and demonic.

If we operate in the kind of wisdom that comes from natural thinking, our own feelings, or even from the realm of the demonic, we will find ourselves in the midst of the destructive storm of division, instead of moving in the eye of the storm, in the peace of God. 

In fact, this same Bible passage goes on to say: 
...the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 

Wow! Isn't this a great thing to know?

Finally, we are encouraged to literally sing the Word of God. God understands something about us in that the Word is able to get anchored in our spirit when we sing it. We all know how quickly we memorized commercials and theme songs to TV shows. That's because we sang them to ourselves and those songs became a part of our thinking and behavior. How much more will happen in us if we SING the realities of the Word of God?

So let the Word of God LIVE in you! 

We believe God's Word will become an internal compass with which we can navigate in the eye of the storm. No matter how difficult the future may be for the world around us, we will prevail and prosper in the purpose of God because His Word is alive within us.

This e-newsletter was originally written in November of 2008 and it still applies to us today.

Chris Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

United in the Storm

Opinion Editorial

I was reminded of emails that we released eight years ago in the weeks following the 2008 presidential election. At that time, as it is in this time, Christians were divided and confused about what to do in these perilous times. This is what we wrote to our congregation in November of 2008:

Last night our nation elected another president and no matter if whether your candidate was chosen or not, we are facing many storms in our future. 

I personally believe the first one will be a storm of division, which always strikes after an election. This time it will have a significant affect on the Church in America because the polls within the Church show the Body of Christ was divided along racial, political and social lines during this election. 

Since the Church in America is so divided over the candidate choices, we have found it necessary to minister on a HIGHER and more meaningful level than politics and race.

So you ask, what could possibly be more important than politics and race, especially since the issues that were raised were deeply spiritual and moral?

We choose to focus on the HEARTS of men, women, boys and girls, because the Bible declares that from the heart, spring the issues of life. This is where our political views are birthed.

Proverbs 4:23 reads: Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. 

So, before we start discussing the issues of life (politics and race), we have to deal with the HEART.  Many hearts have not been kept (guarded and protected). They have been broken, wounded, damaged, crushed, twisted, perverted, distorted, etc. People take their personal and political positions (the issues of life), based upon what has happened in and to their hearts.

Last week we started talking about Living in the Eye of the Hurricane. We felt this was necessary to discuss because we believe storms are on the way. However, if our lives are built on the rock-solid foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word, we will withstand the winds, rain and floods that are coming. We will be required to learn what it means to stay in the eye of the storm.

After last night’s presidential election, we know that millions of people will come away from it with a lot of complaining. The election results have the potential to bring more division, than ever before, into the Church in America. Somebody’s expectations were not met and the complaining has already begun. 

But look at the first portion of this scripture in Colossians 3:15-16, which tells us: 

"…And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." 

If we’re going to get through the coming storm of division, we must let the peace of God rule, to which we are called in one body. That’s why we declare that no matter who has won the elections at state and federal levels, the Body of Christ must have a different perspective. Our goals and objectives go beyond politics, race and social reform. We are called in ONE BODY, not one political party.

We must let the peace of God rule in our hearts because we are called in ONE Body.

That’s why, especially after this election, we must be thankful. Give thanks to God, no matter who has won the election. Even if you feel the absolute wrong person was chosen, you and I must MOVE WITH the peace of God, in the eye of the storm. Be thankful that we can take the fight for righteousness to another level, over and above the political process. We can take it to the Lord, in prayer.

Look at Ephesians 4: 1-4. Paul writes: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling.”

This passage opens up a whole new understanding for us in this season. Paul is saying clearly: "....even though I'm in a tough situation, I beg you to walk worthy of the calling." He even tells us how to do it. He tells us the real point of it all, which is to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

There’s that word peace again. We have to MOVE TOGETHER in the eye of the storm. We won’t all approve of the direction that our nation is going, but since our calling is higher, our goal must be higher. Our purpose is above the earthly agendas.

So we are urging you to not get caught up in the swift moving storm of division that is coming against the Church. Everyone is not pleased with the election, but if we turn from putting our hopes in an earthly leader, to placing our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can move forth with our Kingdom of God mandate. We can truly keep the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace. This will keep us united in the eye of the storm.

This e-newsletter was originally written in November of 2008 and it still applies to us today.

Chris Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

In the Eye of the Hurricane

Opinion Editorial

As the election draws closer, we can feel the tension rising in our entire country. We also sense a lot of anxiety among many Believers who are still unsure about what do. As we prepared to write this week’s letter, the Holy Spirit reminded us of emails that we released eight years ago in the weeks leading up to the 2008 Presidential election. 

At that time, as it is in this time, Christians were divided and confused about what to do in perilous times. This is what we wrote to our small congregation in October of 2008:

We're living in such a critical time in the history of mankind that I've found myself in deep prayer and thought about what to share with you this week. The financial markets of the world are collapsing, crime and violence are soaring, persecution is increasing against the church around the world, and we're about to transition into new leadership in this country. 

As we have prayed and asked the Lord how to navigate the days ahead of us, we have heard this one word of instruction: You must learn to live in the eye of the hurricane.

The eye of the hurricane has to be one of the most phenomenal wonders of the world. How is it possible that in the center of this horrible storm, where the wind can exceed 150 miles per hour, that the atmosphere can be peaceful, calm and even sunny? As the storm moves along the ocean's surface, it is picking up energy and growing worse, but the center remains calm.

We find it interesting that the only way you can stay in the center of the storm (prophetically in the peace and presence of God), is to keep moving. You can’t just stand still. You can’t be passive and comfortable.  If you try to maintain your personal space of comfort, you will find yourself caught in the outer perimeter of the storm. The eye of the storm is moving because the storm is moving.  So you have to keep moving with the peace of God in the midst of the storm.

Colossians 3:15-16 tells us how to keep moving with the peace of God in the midst of the storm. 

…And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 

This week, let’s talk about letting the peace of God rule. This phrase means, we must be governed and led by the assurance of God Himself. That means He will direct us to go places, meet with people, and do things that we may not want to do.  So we must learn the difference between the peace of God and the peace of our own hearts and minds. 

Sometimes there’s no peace in our mind about doing certain things or going certain places because of our bad memories and our negative experiences. Many people have to learn the difference between their own personal peace and the peace of God. 

Since we’ve been in our current roles of ministering in this community, we have seen scores of people who are led by their own personal peace.  If they don’t feel right about something, they won’t do it, even when God is clearly leading them in a different direction. 

Even after God has clearly proven that it was Him directing their steps, they still allow their past to rule their hearts. They allow previous church experiences to rule their hearts. They allow their personal preferences to rule their hearts. They allow their expectations to rule their hearts. They allow the way others treated them to rule their hearts.

We recently heard a well-known television minister declare that they don’t go places where they are merely TOLERATED, but they only go to places where they are CELEBRATED. That’s a very powerful, but unscriptural approach to following God. What happened to OBEDIENCE TO GOD? 

I don’t know of any of God’s prophets, apostles, preachers, or leaders who were living by that standard. Not only were most of them not celebrated, but they were hated. We don’t only go where we feel we will personally benefit from the experience. You and I must go wherever God says for us to go. (And do what He commands us to do).

As the storm is moving, we have to move with the eye of the storm (the Peace of God). What if the eye of the storm leads you to fellowship with people you don’t usually hang out with? That’s what happened to Peter.  What if the eye of the storms positions you to work for your captors? That’s what happened to Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah. What if the eye of the storm leads you to join a small group of people like our home church family or some other new gathering of believers in your community? What if the peace of God leads you away from all that is familiar and comfortable? 

Even today, as the current (political) storm moves and the peace of God moves, we are facing major decisions. This time we must be faithful and obedient to move with God in the midst of the storm.

In 2004, Carol and I left all that was familiar, prosperous and comfortable, to move to this region.  Since we’ve been here, we’ve continually been required to move with the eye of the storm and remain in the peace and rest of God. (And this has been a very difficult storm to navigate). 

God’s peace led us out of full-time (and propserous) ministry and into the marketplace. God’s peace led us away from gathering within church facilities and into a home group gathering. God’s peace led us onto the internet and into our current multi-media outreaches. We recently discovered that God is directing many church planters in the same strategies all around the world because of the storms that are coming forth on many nations, the world and the Church.

We have often asked God why we were moving in this direction, but He keeps assuring us that a day will come when people will search for those who are lifting up Jesus and not lifting up personalities. They will look for people who are real as they grow weary of their traditions, religions and politics. So we’ll just keep moving with the eye of the storm, in the peace of God.

Right now, many are finding their jobs threatened and their families in crisis. Even some church communities are beginning to waiver in fear.  We encourage you to abandon your fear and just flow with God.  He is trustworthy.  So this week, the Word for all of us is, “Keep moving with the peace of God.” 

This e-newsletter was written in October of 2008 and it still applies to us today.

Chris Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why Can't You Always Be There for Me?

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

As most of you know, we are ministering on the front lines in Harrisburg, PA as community life coaches; particularly as marriage coaches. God has been using this aspect of our coaching to provide practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation. Part of that recovery process involves helping them recognize the lies that played a big part of throwing them off track.

According to Dr. Chris Thurman, who wrote a book, The Lies We Believe, there are at least five categories of lies that are affecting our lives. Those categories are: self-lies, worldly-lies, marital-lies, distortion-lies, and religious-lies, and they have been received and believed by millions of people.

As we continue in our effort to expose the marital lies, I want to discuss the lie that says,
“My spouse can and should meet all of my emotional needs.”

In our many years of marriage coaching, we have found this to be one of the toughest lies to overcome. Although we make promises in our wedding vows and have sincere intentions in our hearts, eventually we come to realize that no human being can always be there to meet all of our emotional needs.  Dr. Thurman lists emotional needs such as attention, acceptance, appreciation, approval, affection, affirmation, comfort, encouragement, respect, security, support and understanding.  How unrealistic it is to expect a human being to be able to always meet all of those needs.

This week I’m going to quote Dr. Thurman a lot because he helps us deal with the false hope that a spouse will perfectly meet all of our emotional needs.  Many believe this lie because they feel that the person they married should somehow automatically know their every need and meet those needs without them even communicating it.  This expectation presupposes that our spouse is perfectly, emotionally healthy themselves.  It presupposes that they can read our minds, thoughts and feelings on some hyper-spiritual level.  When our spouse does not meet our expectations, we often assume that they are the one who is somehow lacking. We conclude that our unmet emotional need is their fault, alone. 

Dr. Thurman explains: The reality of any relationship is that NO one person can be the perfect “need meter” for another person.  Our needs are too many and can be met only through a variety of people and activities.  People who depend solely on one person or one thing usually haven’t developed other resources such as a best friend, hobbies, satisfying work, and a close relationship with God.  So rather than recognizing and accepting the fact their expectation is unrealistic, a husband or wife will turn to their spouse and say, “Here’s my life.  You take care of all my needs.”

In healthy marriages, there is a mutual commitment to meet each other’s emotional needs as much as possible, and there is a mutual commitment to recognize when we can’t.  In healthy marriages, neither spouse depends solely on the other for all of their emotional needs to be met.  In healthy marriages, both spouses make every effort to be honest about when they are not meeting each other’s emotional needs and try diligently to do better.

My husband and I have done a lot of pre-marital and marital coaching over the years.  It not only helped the couples we coached, but it helped our marriage as well.  It helped us to stay in communication with one another about meeting emotional needs and has helped us to develop a habit of staying in communication with one another regarding those needs. The coaching taught us to not accept the lie that our spouse should always be there to meet all of our emotional needs.

Dr. Thurman adds:

When you have emotional needs that are not being met in your marriage, you can basically do the following:
(1) remind yourself that having emotional needs is healthy and it is okay to feel hurt when they are not met;
(2) identify what emotional needs are not being met
(3) ask your spouse if he or she would be willing to meet them (be specific as to which ones and how you would like them met);
(4) affirm and appreciate your spouse for meeting your emotional needs when he or she does; (5) keep meeting your spouse’s emotional needs as best you can, even if he or she is not willing to do the same for you; and
(6) look for other morally appropriate ways for your emotional needs to be met (a close friend, an interesting hobby, volunteer activities, ongoing education, church involvement).

He concludes:

It is normal to have emotional needs. We all have them.  It is unrealistic to expect one person to be able to meet all of our emotional needs. Expecting your spouse to meet all those needs is one of the reasons why there are marital problems. This lie puts too much pressure on our spouse and causes damage to our marriage.

The truth is, we are healthier when we have several sources to meet our emotional needs; especially our ultimate source, which is God.

Philippians 4:19 says “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

There is nothing that we need (even emotional needs in marriage) that God cannot supply.

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Right for Each Other Means Working for Each Other

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

A couple of years ago my husband and I met a Nigerian Bishop by the name of Dorothy Tee. God sent her and her husband to this region just like us. Many times we heard her say that God had showed her that the way to reach people in Harrisburg was going to require that we go out into the community and rake the people in; similar to the way one has to use a rake to get to the leaves that are hidden under bushes and dark places under porches.

God stirred our hearts with her admonition even as he changed our circumstances in such a way that we were literally forced to leave the comfortable church setting and go out into the community in the manner God had shown Bishop Tee. Then the Lord gave us a powerful way to go into the community and begin to rake in the souls. It was through life coaching.

God has been using this aspect of our ministry to provide practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation. Part of that rebuilding process involves helping them see past the self-lies, worldly-lies, marital-lies, distortion-lies, and religious-lies that they have received and believed.

I have been sharing with you, from a book titled “The Lies We Believe” that was written by Dr. Chris Thurman. His book has revealed some of the ways we are also helping people to identify these lies that have held them back. This week, we continue in our discussion about the marital lies, as we address the lie that says: “If our marriage takes hard work, we must not be right for each other.”

Dr. Chris Thurman makes this statement on this topic: “Marriage is hard work.  Make that, marriage is very hard work; tremendously hard work.  Underline it.  Boldface it.  Tattoo it on your forehead.”

Dr. Thurman helps us to see that every marriage that is intent upon success has to be worked on.  It’s a truth few couples seem to realize when they first get started in life together.

There are times the marriage will hit such rough spots and hard situations that the resulting fear and insecurity can be so strong that a couple can start to believe they may have made the wrong choice in their partner.  Hollywood movies and romance novels have caused many to believe that their marriage shouldn’t be so hard. They can begin to think that they wouldn’t have to work at it if they were right for each other.

I want you to hear the truth that emotions and magical feelings don’t make you right for each other. Couples must learn to work on their relationship to make things right. When you see a marriage that is successful over many years, it’s not just because they are right for each other. They have learned to work for each other.

During the time my husband and I worked as Associate Pastors at our church in St. Louis a young couple called us one evening to say they were splitting up and wanted to talk with us. They arrived at our home and when they came in the house they sat on the couch next to each other.  They had come to an impasse in their relationship and they didn’t know how to navigate.

The first thing we told them was that they did not really want to split up. We pointed out the obvious, showing them how they had ridden together to our home. They had just demonstrated that they were willing to come and ask for help together. They had even unconsciously sat next to each other on the couch. We told them that the fact that they even took the time to argue, said that they cared enough about each other to try to come to a mutual understanding.  We helped them realize that they didn’t really want to split up. Their actions had shown that what they really meant was that they didn’t know how to go beyond the point of disagreement.

We explained that if they didn’t care about each other they wouldn’t have even taken the time to argue or try to make the other person understand their viewpoint. We were able to give the couple the tools they needed in order to bring resolve to their disagreements.  We helped them to understand that they were going to have to work on their relationship. We helped them to understand that this is what it takes to make a marriage successful.

Like that young couple, many believe that an impasse means the end of a relationship. They get tired of the real work. They wish their relationship could stay in the stage when they were living on an emotional high.

But the truth is that there will be times when we will come to a place of impasse and won’t know how to navigate past it.  When that first happened between me and my husband, we learned how to pray for God’s guidance and wisdom. We had to learn to agree with God’s word about the situation and to humble ourselves and obey God’s word.

As I said in previous letters, we all come into marriage from two different household cultures with specific viewpoints and lifestyles.  I learned that marriage is often a clash of cultures, viewpoints and lifestyles.  Marriage is a blending that takes place in the midst of these collisions and conflicts.  As we learn to live with our partner, we will have to work out the difference between what is a personal preference and what would actually bring harm to the other person and the relationship.

This was a major point of discovery for us. Most people take their stance in their impasse based upon a personal preference. Their stand is not based upon seeing what is actually harmful to their spouse.

We can feel as though our spouse brings out the worst in us, but what is being exposed are preconceived ideas, personal preferences, hidden fears, selfishness, self-centeredness, and just plain untruths.  These are things that need to be brought to the surface and dealt with for the health of our partner and the marriage.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

The hard times expose the unhealthy attitudes in our own hearts and give us the opportunity to change them through the Truth of God’s word.  It also gives us the opportunity of going through our process of maturing and healing in the company of someone who loves us.

Marriage isn’t for cowards, escape artists, people who are bored, the selfish or the self-centered. It is not for the one who is unwilling to deal with their flaws.  Marriage is not for the person who is locked into the negative survivalist mentality.  I repeat, marriage is hard work and it brings out the areas of our lives that need to be changed.

This Truth also applies to the person who divorced based upon this lie that Dr. Thurman has exposed. If they don’t deal with their flaws, they will repeat the same negative patterns in any future marriage. If they are unwilling to work in the next marriage, they will come to the same conclusion as before, and terminate the relationship.

Your marriage can be happy, healthy and whole as long as you are both willing to do the work necessary to make it successful.

Dr. Chris Thurman says:
The Apostle Paul was right when he said, “Those who marry will face many troubles in this life.” The wisest couples use marital problems as an impetus to work even harder, not as an excuse to bail out.  If your marriage is hard work, you have a golden opportunity to use that reality to make needed changes in who you are.  You do not want to pass up that opportunity.

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"It's All Your Fault!"

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

As community life coaches, we help people walk through the process of discovering truth so that they can recapture their lives. To help in that process, we expose our clients to the wisdom and revelations from Dr. Chris Thurman’s book, The Lies We Believe. He categorizes the lies we believe as Self-Lies, Worldly Lies, Marital Lies, Distortion Lies and Religious Lies.

I have been sharing with you, some of the ways Dr. Thurman is helping people identify these lies that have held them back.

Last week I started a new discussion on marital lies. Marriage is a major topic for me and my husband.  This week, I want to get into the specific lies that have wrecked countless marriages. This week I want to take a closer look at the lie that Dr. Thurman reveals as, “All my marital problems are my spouse’s fault.”

There are many who believe that their spouse is the sole reason for the failure in their relationship. The truth is that it takes both partners to make a relationship successful. Although one person can inflict more damage than the other at any given time, it still basically takes two to make and break a marriage. It’s not demolished by one single act by one person.

One place to begin, in the laying of a good foundation for the relationship, is by understanding the blind spots, strengths and weaknesses of each other.  The blind spot or past hurt of one partner may be causing problems or offense in the relationship, but the offended spouse must push past their hurt feelings and try to help bring God’s perspective to the issue.  The conflict is often compounded when the offended partner does not receive or respond according to God’s viewpoint on the situation.

We are all imperfect human beings and we go into relationships needing to make adjustments in our own hearts and minds. We must learn how to let go of the past and not to be selfish or self-centered. Two people go into a relationship with blind spots, preferences, prejudices, weaknesses and strengths.

Internal vows might have been made that affect and negatively impact the relationship.
Internal vows are promises that one has made to oneself, that they will never allow anyone to hurt them again.  One partner will inevitably say or do something that will cause the offended partner to flash back to an incident or conflict from the past that did not end well. This often causes them to respond to their present partner out of the pain from the past.

A lot of the conflict that came up in my marriage was due to the affect that the separation and divorce of my parents, had on me. I was not raised in a Christian home. My mother and I received Christ when I was twelve years old. I was raised by a mother who was sexually abused as a child by a relative. She often kept us away from extended family. Then my parents separated and I later carried all of that hurt and pain into my marriage.

We fail to realize that our backgrounds, societal pressures, past decisions, and the emotional reasoning we have formed and lived by, will affect our relationships.  Our marriage was affected by the way I grew up in Pennsylvania. My husband brought all of his negative experiences and reasoning from his life growing up in St. Louis, Missouri.

When Chris and I began our relationship, I was afraid to argue with him because while growing up in my household, I saw that arguments led to separation and divorce. So I wouldn’t say anything.  That was childish reasoning that developed into a fear of doing something that would cause my husband to want to leave me.

The “It’s all your fault” lie is basically the message that if it weren’t for you, everything would be fine.  We must be aware that we all have baggage that we bring into our relationships. 

Dr. Chris Thurman relates this scenario from his book:

In the case of an affair, the offended spouse feels crushed by the revelation, as anyone would, but it can be taken to a deadly conclusion.  The offended spouse sometimes concludes that the offender is the reason their marriage is on the rocks and that their spouse is to blame for all the misery they are now going through.

The offended spouse is understandably in a lot of pain, but at the risk of sounding insensitive, the offended spouse must also face the part they played in the marriage not being a good one.  Yes, the act of the offender was very selfish and destructive, but was the offended spouse loving, caring, supportive, attentive, affectionate, understanding, etc?  Was the offended spouse consistent in showing these attributes toward their spouse?

It is essential that the offended spouse comes clean about what they contributed to the marriage being so troubled.  Intense emotional pain triggered by something such as a spouse having an affair has a way of interfering with our willingness to do any honest self-examination, but it has to be done if the marriage is to be saved.

Notice how Dr. Thurman does not place all of the blame on the offender. He provides the balanced perspective in which both the offender and the offended must do self-examinations.

For a marriage to be successful, both partners must look at their own flaws and work on them according to biblical principles.

Matthew 7:5 says, "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

This doesn’t mean you don’t express how you feel. This scripture is talking about the manner and the viewpoint from which you approach your partner.

Ephesians 4:2 says, “….with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.”

That’s how we walk together in unity and how we respond to our spouse when they make a mistake.

It’s wonderful when a couple chooses to follow these biblical principles and makes them a lifestyle.  When they do, they are fulfilling what it means to walk in love, to sanctify and cleanse one another with the water of the word, submitting to one another and respecting one another.

So the next time your spouse makes a mistake, resist the temptation to blame and lay all the problems you’re both experiencing at their doorstep.  Try to recall what they have experienced and what those experiences have caused them to believe and live.

Think about how your actions or decisions impact your spouse.  Remember what the Bible says concerning the issue you’re dealing with and pray before you speak. Wash them with the water of the Word in love, gentleness, longsuffering and humility because you have made mistakes as well.  Remember to always take the plank out of your own eye first.

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Engagement Ring, Wedding Ring and the Suffering

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

As most of you know, we are ministering on the front lines as community life coaches. God has been using this aspect of our ministry to provide practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation. Part of that recovery process involves helping them discover the lies that they have received and believed.

We have been presenting several quotes from Dr. Chris Thurman, author of the book, The Lies We Believe. He categorizes the lies we believe as Self-Lies, Worldly Lies, Marital Lies, Distortion Lies and Religious Lies.

I have been sharing with you, some of the ways Dr Thurman is helping people to identify the lies that have held them back. This week, we begin our discussion by addressing marital lies.

In the book we have been discussing, The Lies We Believe by Dr. Chris Thurman, there is a quote from William Lederer (American Author) and Don Jackson (Psychiatrist):

“To understand the realities of the marital relationship it is essential first to recognize the unrealities.”

There are many nice people who were very much in love that have gotten married, but they came to the place of wondering if they had made the biggest mistake in their lives.

Chris and I have done quite a bit of premarital and marital consultation over the years.  One of the things we have consistently seen is the unrealistic expectations of what married life is and what it takes to have a successful marriage.  The trouble always begins when one person does not meet the expectations of their partner.

Hollywood and romance novels have blurred reality and skipped over the messy aspects of relationships, especially marriage.  Nowadays marriage is viewed by some as being unnecessary and unrealistic. What God intended marriage to be has been redefined.

It can be disappointing to find that marriage is hard work, but if you invest in your relationship, what you reap is far more than you could have imagined.  Over the next few weeks, we will again walk through Dr. Thurman’s observations to expose the faulty, destructive beliefs. We will explore six lies that many couples have embraced, causing much heartache.

Dr. Thurman quotes an old joke and says: “(There is) the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering.  The lies we are about to examine are the primary cause of the suffering that many couples experience.  They are also the reason why so many people divorce.  If we want to save our marriages, we have to overcome these lies.”

Marriage is a topic that is near and dear to me and my husband. For more than 20 years, we have been working with people before, during and even after marriage. We have written a book that shares our experiences, as well as the principles that saved our relationship. We also produced several online courses and continue to provide marriage coaching. Most of our marriage-advisory time is spent dismantling lies and misconceptions, so I look forward to sharing from Dr. Thurman's book and from our personal experiences.

Just as the crumbling institution of the family is at the core of most of our challenges in society, we believe the breakdown of marriage is a huge part of why we have seen the collapse of our urban communities. We seek to do our part in rebuilding hearts and homes.

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green

Thursday, September 1, 2016

All I See Is Beautiful

I find it amazing how my wife, who is such a gorgeously beautiful woman, does not see what I see when I look at her. She eats right, exercises regularly, and has impeccable taste in clothing. Sometimes I walk up to her and simply say, "Hey beautiful..." 

Still, every time I say it, she blushes and blinks in complete astonishment. She has told me that I have a habit of telling her that she's beautiful when she feels like she's looking her worst.

Have you ever wondered how a husband can kiss his wife after the trauma of childbirth and tell her that she's beautiful? Isn't it funny how it can be a T-shirt and sweat pants day and a husband will tell his wife that she's pretty? There are times when everything is going wrong, the makeup is not working and the hair is not cooperating, but a husband, fiancé or boyfriend will say, "You are just so beautiful."

One day I heard Carol telling someone that now that she's getting older and battling with time, she doesn't understand why her husband keeps chasing her. I waited a while before picking up on that conversation. We were sitting on the sofa together when I told her that I heard what she said about herself. I just looked at her and said, "All I see is beautiful."

This made me realize that when true love is present, you don't focus on the flaws. You see with the eyes of love. You see who your wife truly is inside and outside. It's not just her hairstyle, but her hair is beautiful. It's not the makeup or the room lighting that makes her eyes beautiful. Even when there are tears and weariness in them, it does not take away from the reality that her eyes are beautiful.  

Then I had the most wonderful thought. If I can feel this way as a mere man about my wife, then how much more does Creator/God feel about mankind.

Unfortunately, since a lot of human to human interaction is focused upon fault finding, many people find it difficult to see differences and flaws in a healthy way. Instead of seeing the beauty in a person of another ethnicity, culture or nationality, we make pre-judgments about them. We even question their mannerisms, customs, practices and speech, comparing them to our own, through the filter of our life’s experience.

This is where I see the Golden Rule as a most vital key to help us see that which is beautiful in another person. The Golden Rule is always there to remind us that we must treat others the same way we want to be treated. We must respect another person’s culture in the same way we want them to respect our culture. If someone has customs, practices or speech that is very different from ours, we must be very careful to never assess their expressions as being inferior to our own.

This failure to see the beauty in the culture of others has been part of the root cause in our cultural and ethnic wars all over the world. 

Just think how different the world would be if a cross-cultural golden rule was embedded in hearts and homes. Children would never be told they should not play with that other child because they are different.  Instead they would learn to see the beauty.

These same children would grow up to become adults who carry the golden rule into every sphere of their lives. Even though there will be times of trauma, conflicts and disagreements, they would still possess the ability to see what is inside of others; past the external flaws and differences to declare from a genuinely golden-ruled heart, “All I See is Beautiful!”

Golden Rule Ambassador Chris Green

World Peace Ambassador, Dr. Clyde Rivers calls Chris and Carol Green the leading skilled experts in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified master life coaches who founded the Fruitful Life Network, Inc. an innovative community care and coaching outreach. They are international columnist/writers with the award winning team of Dr. Clyde Rivers and iChange Nations Social Media News™.  

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Golden Rule in Marriage

We stood before a minister, taking those sacred wedding vows, but five months later we were beginning to feel like this was not going to work.  Our marriage was in the first stages of disintegration. No matter how sincerely we were trying to communicate, we could not connect. Words, phrases and actions said something different to one than what the other was meaning. We didn’t have the same language because we didn’t have the same words.  We didn’t even have the same alphabet.

Chris’ A was not the same as Carol’s A. Chris’ B was not the same as Carol’s B. Chris’ C was not the same as Carol’s C. If our letters were not the same, then certainly our spelling wasn’t the same. If our spelling wasn’t the same, then our words were not the same.

We had to find a way to stay connected with one another while we engaged in this process of understanding one another.

We cannot recall the exact date and time, but following another one of those frustrating and futile moments of trying to communicate, we sat down together to try to reach some agreed place from which we could deal with one another.  It was really out of desperation that we came up with an agreement.  We weren’t trying to be deep or super spiritual. We were just trying to find some common ground.

So we made a PACT and it went something like this:

“I choose to believe that no matter how you say, what you say to me, that you are not intentionally trying to hurt me. I choose to believe that no matter how you say, what you say to me, that you meant it for my good. I choose to believe that no matter how you say, what you say to me, that you love me.”

Our pact was simply the golden rule being applied to our relationship. When we made this pact, we had no idea how significant it was going to be. We just felt a new sense of peace. It was like we were finally, really married. We had slowly moved beyond the soaring emotional connections of love and advanced to a solid unconditional acceptance of one another.

We had forged the Golden Rule into our marriage. We had each said, “I will treat you the way that I want to be treated. I will trust you the way that I want to be trusted.”

We had a new security. We had tapped into a secret place from which we could begin learning one another’s alphabet; and thus begin to piece together words and sentences.  Simultaneously, we could build a stronger connection between us. It was like working on our health while working on an injury at the same time.

The golden rule has been a huge part of the foundation of our marriage for more than 35 years. For many years we have been teaching it as a healing prescription for the couples that we coach.

Sometimes our family and friends comment on our present ability to communicate in a manner that seems almost telepathic. We can just say one word or give a brief glance across a room and we are able to conduct an entire conversation in a few seconds.

This new level of communication began when a couple that had only been married for six months, in a moment of desperation, made a golden rule choice for their relationship.

Marriage Coaches Chris and Carol Green

World Peace Ambassador, Dr. Clyde Rivers calls Chris and Carol Green the leading skilled experts in rebuilding, restoring and renewing hearts and homes. The Greens are certified master life coaches who founded the Fruitful Life Network, Inc. an innovative community care and coaching outreach. They are international columnist/writers with the award winning team of Dr. Clyde Rivers and iChange Nations Social Media News™.  


Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Creative Download

Countless mornings I have awakened with all kinds of wonderful thoughts and ideas. Sometimes it’s a single idea or it might be lyrics to a new song. It’s amazing how you can wake up with fresh new thoughts. Then as you become even more awake, all those wonderful ideas fade away with the realization of the bills, the deadlines and the various struggles you may be having with the people. Then you spend the rest of the morning simply rehearsing the monotonous movie that can sometimes be your life. 

I have written 14 books and well over 100 songs. I’ve produced 70 online video channels (1100+ videos), I’m a blogger, and I write for a Global Journalist award winning team. 

How can I possibly keep my creative flow when, at the same time, were running life coaching initiatives through our NPO (Fruitful Life Network) and our business (C & C Connections, LLC).  We have the constant pressure of fundraising and seeking customers, so that our work can do more than survive, but actually thrive.  

I have learned to pay attention to the overnight download.  Those first thoughts that come to me as I wake up, are usually pure creativity. It’s as if though my brain was given a total reset while I slept. Often the thoughts have nothing to do with what I dreamed. Many times they are simply ideas, images, impressions that just come in the very first seconds and minutes when I wake up or in the early hours of the morning while the house is quiet and the sun is just peeking over the horizon. I learned, through the years, to get up and write what’s coming to me.

I don’t try to organize the thoughts. I just write them down. I don’t know if it’s going to be an article, a song, a poem, or an idea for our business. That’s not the point. I’m not trying to edit, organize or categorize. That will come later. The only thing that’s important in the moment is to get the overnight download on to paper.   

Most of our best articles, songs, or business strategies have come from last night’s download. So I encourage you to do the same. Before you let all the cares and concerns of your life drive away that creative flow that fills your first-awakening thoughts, pay attention to the download. Exercise the discipline of getting up and writing it down.    

I realize the wonderful, rapturous feeling of enjoying the last seconds of the snooze. You may want to simply roll over and go back to sleep. I’ve lost some million-dollar ideas when I did that. I always assumed I would remember it later, but it never came back.   I discovered that hidden within those downloads, were solutions to my problems. When I was actively trying to come up with a solution, many times I simply could not find it. But many of those overnight downloads had answers buried within the thoughts. It was amazing.   

Besides, it is far better to get up and continue in the creative flow, than to allow yourself to just lay there drowning in worry, fear and all the negativity that you can’t change anyway. Why waste the moment with worry, when you could have seized the creative download and released ideas that can often times, provide the solution to many of our problems.  

It may not happen every time you wake up, but when it does, it’s important that you recognize it and get up immediately to write it down. You could be on the verge of the greatest breakthrough in your life.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Damaged Goods

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

Did you ever stop to think that God purchased mankind "As Is"?

When someone purchases a house, car or furniture "As Is" that always means that they see something of value in spite of the obvious damage. When God looks at human beings, He sees His greatest creation; that He loves more than we can imagine. He doesn’t love us because we’re good. He loves us because He sees His image in us. And His image is good, although it is marred and distorted because of our fallen nature.

When we bring our life coaching foundational teaching to individuals and groups, we tell them that they were created in the image of God. We tell them that they were created to do more than just work, pay bills and die. We tell them that they have a purpose in life. We tell them that each person has a part of God’s dream locked within them. We tell them that each and every life was brought forth to make a contribution to the world.

However, we also let them know that every person needs to be connected with God in order to bring forth all of that potential. This divine connection is necessary because we all have a propensity toward selfishness and self-destruction.

I have been sharing with you, some of the ways we are helping people to identify the worldly lies that have held them back. This week, as we continue in our discussion about worldly lies,
I want to discuss the lie that says, “People are basically good!” 

All we have to do is watch the daily news reporting of people murdering other people simply because of their skin color, religion, ethnicity or nationality, and we know that people are not basically good. They can have good intentions and good potential.  If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we daily fight our baser instincts of selfishness, self centeredness, dishonesty, greed, etc.

The idea that we are imperfect human beings bothers those who don’t want to look at themselves or their motives too closely. They would prefer to think of themselves as decent human beings who always have pure motives.

In his book, The Lies We Believe, Dr. Chris Thurman quotes a view held by noted humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow:

"This inner nature, as much as we know of it so far, seems not to be intrinsically or primarily or necessarily evil {but rather} neutral…or positively 'good." …Since this inner nature is good or neutral rather than bad, it is best to bring it out and to encourage it rather than to suppress it.
If it is permitted to guide our life, we grow healthy, fruitful, and happy.”

Dr. Thurman goes on to say, (It always annoys me when people who have no children and was never married, come up with these theories that they have never put into practice in their own lives first, before making them public to be put into practice.)

I agree with Dr. Thurman!

This perspective of human nature can’t be true in the light of human history. If humans are the saintly creatures some would like us to believe, then we wouldn’t have experienced all of the horrors of human-on-human crimes.  Our history has shown the murderous heart of man, his greed, hatred, subjugation of the helpless, and the subsequent establishment of systems that have been put in place, and made to be self-perpetuating, in order to keep various people groups imprisoned in various forms of slavery all over the world. 

If humanity was basically good, this could never have happened. We would be able to live peacefully with any people group, without any malice or wanting to be in control of others. We would actually be able to enjoy the diversity of others instead of being insecure and threatened by it.

Humanity is usually not as selfless as we would like to think. We tend to be more self-destructive than healthy in our lifestyles and discontented than happy with what we have.

We are not only out of shape physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  If we were basically good people, we would be physically fit, emotionally whole, and spiritually strong.

From this self-centered perspective, mankind wants to decide what is good and what is bad.

Therefore, we find it easy to kill an unborn child and call it a choice. We find it easy to bully people (in the name of tolerance) into submission to the majority, even if the majority's rule is wrong. We find it easy to defy the laws of nature and nature's God. We find it easy to call these ways of thinking, good.

Now that’s not to say that humanity has no value and is without any redeeming qualities.

In fact, we know that mankind was created in the very image of God. We also know that mankind was so important to God that HE sacrificed His only begotten Son to reconcile mankind back to Himself. You might say that man’s worth is the price paid by Jesus Christ.

However, we cannot confuse the image of God within man, with the fallen nature of man. Although man has the potential for good, man needs the power of God to bring forth that goodness.

Think of it this way: God purchased damaged goods.

In our early years of marriage, I was so disappointed with myself because of my own selfish tendencies.  I knew that I had to fight those tendencies in order to have a healthy marriage.

It was a part of my growing in my thinking from “me” to “we” and becoming one with my husband.

Most of us have a desire to be better than we are, and we strive to be so. To believe that we are all intrinsically good is just not true.  We have to see ourselves for who we really are, look at our responses to daily life and tell ourselves the truth.

Refusing to recognize our own short comings and horrible potential for adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like,
is a sign of pride.   

If people were basically good, God wouldn’t have needed to send His only Son to die on the cross for our sins.  In Isaiah 53:6 it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

Iniquity is a weakness toward a particular sin or a harmful habit. For example, any kind of addiction is an iniquity. However, iniquity has an even deeper meaning. Iniquity is more than just wrong acts and deeds. The deeper meaning of iniquity is lawlessness. It’s a mindset that there are no rules and it is the belief that we can do whatever we want to do because there is no right or wrong.  That’s why we say that man is not basically good. The Bible says that man is basically lawless. And that’s not good.

The way to see that divine image come forth in a human being is for that person to come into relationship with God the Father through His Son. As citizens of the Kingdom of God, which means God is ruling in one's heart, we must develop a lifestyle of walking in the Spirit. This new lifestyle will exemplify the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This is the potential God saw inside of us.

So, we don’t tell our clients that they are already good. We tell them that they are already loved, valued and extremely important to God. We have found that these declarations plant a seed of desire within people to not only want to BE good, but to know the God who will make them good.

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green