Here are a few of the good reads found this week:
First Love. “As I watched all of this unfold, I also watched what being around this young man did for the members of our church and me. There is something contagious about being around someone with that first love. There were several things I noticed in this man’s life that gave me pause to consider my own spiritual life.”
Why You Should Name and Even Feel Negative Emotions, HT to Challies. “I rarely dealt with or named my emotions—at least not the “negative” ones. They had to be killed, banished, ignored, and stuffed. I learned this from both Christian circles (like the counselor above) and my own fears. I didn’t want others to see my emotions. Negative emotions always equaled sin and weakness in my mind, a reason for people to look down their noses at me. So I tried to kill my negative feelings with kindness—or gratitude. But what if there’s goodness in every emotion—even in the ones we don’t like so much?”
When the Story Doesn’t Have a Happy Ending, HT to Challies. “The ‘successful’ missionaries always have lots of numbers. They fill their newsletters with compelling stories and photographs of large groups of believers. But nobody gives presentations about evangelistic events where no one showed up, or posts a picture of the local pastor who abused his daughter, or writes a newsletter about the exciting convert who just slowly disappears.”
Tyranny Follows Where Truth Fades, HT to Challies. “Having escaped the tyrannical regime of North Korea, where criticism of ‘Dear Leader’ can land you (and your family) in a concentration camp, she never anticipated the thought control she’d find at this elite American university.”
Speaking Truth in Marital Conflict, HT to Challies. “We know that when couples use words like always, never, and only to describe each other’s behavior or to express a complaint, it will not help to resolve their conflict. These words exaggerate and overgeneralize in a way that provokes a spouse to defensiveness. Instead of considering and talking about their spouse’s concern, an accused spouse will be tempted to prove that they are not always guilty of this or that behavior.”
What “Leah’s Eyes Were Weak” Means—and What It Says About Bible Interpretation, HT to Challies. Admittedly, the state of Leah’s eyes doesn’t affect any major doctrine. Our opinions about what the statement about her eyes in Scripture means is not a hill to die on. But I appreciate the process Mark Ward takes us through when a passage of Scripture isn’t clear and even commentators disagree.
How Making an If/Then List Can help Your Mental Health, HT to Linda. “Recently, while going through the grief of a loss and all the emotional turmoil that can entail, I made myself an ‘if/then list.’ I thought through what helps—really helps—me in any given mood or symptom, and then made myself a list with easy, actionable steps to take if I found myself in any of those situations.”
This is as good a time as any for my occasional reminder that linking to a post does not mean full endorsement of everything about that site. If a friend’s link sends me to a site I’ve never visited before, and I consider sharing the post, I’ll look at the “about” section to have some idea where the person is coming from. I wouldn’t share something I have strong reservations about without some caveats, but obviously I don’t know everything about a site when I’ve just read one post there. And we often have some disagreements even with our dearest friends. We need to be discerning in all we read.
I watched a program last night in which what I would consider to be normal father-son love and support brought a couple of people to tears. I wondered if seeing such interaction was so rare in the world that it brought forth such an emotion. Maybe these folks didn’t have that fatherly support–or maybe they did, and the memory brought tears. At any rate, I very much agree with the statement below. Happy Father’s Day tomorrow to the dads out there. Keep up the good work. It’s vital.