Saturday, June 29, 2019

Damaged Goods

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

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 some of the ways we are helping people to identify the lies that have held them back. This time 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

A Best-Practice Principle

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Thank You Daddy

I have some very fond memories with my dad. He was a fun-loving dad who always threw caution to the wind. It got him in trouble many times, but it also gave his children a sense of adventure and daring that proved to be very helpful for us when we found ourselves called in to the ministry.

My dad saw my love for sports and took me to my first baseball game. The St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Montreal Expos and Jose Cardenal hit a two run double in the seventh inning that gave them a 4-2 victory. I couldn’t believe I was actually there, in a 50,000 seat stadium, looking at the high tech scoreboard, the massive crowd, and experiencing all the sounds I always heard when I listened to games on the radio. I had become a devoted fan; and dad gave me a chance to experience the real thing; to actually see my heroes live and in person. I have cherished that memory all of my life. 

There were many other games in the years that followed. I especially loved the day I sat between my dad and his dad and watched Bob Gibson, my all time favorite Cardinal baseball player, pitch on Labor Day. I actually realized I was experiencing something very special that would never happen again; three generations, sitting together, enjoying our favorite sport.

James Green (My Dad)
Those were the times that established something in my heart that I have tried to give my children. There are once-in-a-life-time opportunities that come your way, and I tried to stay prepared for those moments with my sons. Then there are some things you cannot wait for, because some memories you simply have to make.

Through the years, I hope my children have had special moments that they can recall with the same kind of fondness and deep impacting love that I feel when I think back on special moments with my dad.

My dad didn’t always put his arms around my shoulder, or say 'I love you' in those moments. He wasn’t that kind of man. He gave us nicknames and he always told us he was proud of us. When I was struggling in arithmetic, he started calling me 'math major' and it built my confidence to try harder and I found success. I became a straight-A student in math.

My dad is not perfect. He had his issues with his children from time to time, like any father. I was sort of a middle child. He married my mom, who already had a precious little girl, and they had three sons before I came along. One son died while my mom was pregnant with me. Then they had two more children after me. 

There were many times when life was very hard. It was downright harsh and cruel for him. I was angry with him a few times, mainly because I had no idea what it took to be the head of the household. I learned from his mistakes, as well as his resiliency. And maybe that’s the greatest thing my dad gave us; resiliency.

Just like my dad’s journey, as a husband and father, life has been hard, sometimes harsh and downright cruel for me, but I learned from my dad how to get up and go to work every day, no matter how you feel. When I lost jobs, opportunities, homes, friends, and loved ones, I knew how to get up and keep going. Dad demonstrated to us that you should never give up, even after a failure. You never stop, no matter how you feel.

So in honor of my dad and ultimately, God, my heavenly Father, I wrote a song many years ago that expresses thanks. I gave it an informal title: Thank You Daddy.

I just want to share that song with you this week. 

The original recording can be heard HERE.

The lyrics are:

There’s so much I take for granted, Like the rising of the sun
Every time I see the morning, Never thankful for the dawn

Like a father who’s always there, With the same things every day
So consistent and expected, Sometimes I forget to say

Thank you daddy
For the blue that’s in the sky
Thank you daddy
For the light that’s in Your eye
Thank you daddy
For the life beat I’ve been handed
I get so busy
I'm taking you for granted

There’s so much you’re always doing, You watch my life and keep me safe
Sometimes you throw in extras, Giving me a little bit more grace

You take the time to listen, When all I bring are complaints
You carry me on your shoulders, And you sing to me in the rain

I can always recall the discipline you gave
All the nights you spent with me, And the path that you have paved

You’ll give more love tomorrow than all my yesterdays
So please forgive me daddy, I never take the time to say 

Thank you, thank you
For every single day

Thank you, thank you
For every breath I take

Thank you, thank you 
You made us sons and daughters

Thank you, thank you
Because you are our Father

Thank you

© Green, Christopher 2001