Business

Wednesday Wisdom: From the Pen of a Fourteen Year Old

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My youngest daughter and her cousin started a charity organization called Hearts4theWorld awhile ago.  You can read about their organization over at Hearts4theWorld.net. They started off with a bang, but, as is often the case, are now struggling to keep the public’s interest.  In her blog there, my daughter has expressed some of the feelings, frustration, and thoughts about the last few months. As I was proofreading it for her, her thoughts encouraged me. If we feel like we are definitely doing something the Lord wants us to do, we need to keep doing it until He makes it clear that we should stop. But sometimes that is hard and discouraging, as these two young girls are finding out. I am proud of the lesson my daughter is learning, written here by her, and believe her thoughts will encourage you, too–

Have you ever had that feeling where you wanted to do something important, something big? What did you do with it? Did you waste it? Did you start… And then when it got a little bit too hard, did you quit? Or did you follow through?

We had all these questions when we were thinking about starting Hearts4theWorld. We got the motivation to do something, something bigger than we had ever done before. But when we thought through it a little more, we realized that this might be a little harder than we thought. How would we send the Bibles where they need to go? Who would hand them out? How would we get our name out there? Would people even like our bottle cap creations? We had to think about all of these questions. We prayed a lot about everything, because we knew that we would get nowhere without God. God provided us with an awesome link in Haiti, and there began our mission. In the beginning, our friends and family bought from us and told their friends. We were so excited and everything was working out perfectly! But as time continued, business slowed down, likes on our page decreased, and views on our Etsy site got fewer and fewer. We were confused, we were disappointed, and weren’t sure what exactly went wrong. But we knew we couldn’t give up. We decided not to quit in the beginning and aren’t gonna even think about it now.

But, we have to admit, we did think it might be easier if we just took a “break” for a little while. But we knew that’s not what we should do. As people say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. We thought about other things we had done in life. Did we give up when something went wrong? Of course not! We kept on trying! So as we’re at this point, where we’re just not quite sure how to put our business out there for people to see and to like what they see. We decided not to give up, but to completely and totally lean on God. After all, He is the one who planted this idea and love for the world in our hearts. So He can do what He wants and in His own time! After all, patience is a virtue! ;) But that’s not to say that we’re just gonna stand back and say God run the business! No! Of course that’s not what we mean. We’re obviously going to keep trying new ideas, but we just want to put everything that we do in God’s hands and in His time.

So what does this mean for you in your life? Well the point we’re trying to get across is never give up. No matter if it’s a sport, an instrument, school or a mission like this! And if you have motivation to do something (If it’s motivation to do something good) then go for it! What do you have to lose? Maybe you’ll say “It’ll be embarrassing if it doesn’t work out” or “My friends wouldn’t think this would be cool”.  Who cares?! All that really matters at the end of the day is did you do your best and do it for the glory of God? Now I’ll be honest, I was a little embarrassed at times because it’s not like there’s a lot of kids starting their own organizations or anything. But then I would think… What is our goal in life? Is it to fit in and be “cool” or is it to honor God in everything I do? You have to make that decision for yourself. But for us, the answer is clear. So we hope you think about what we’ve said and make your own decision to rely on God when your dream isn’t working out exactly as you had planned.

This blog post and others are found here.

How to Succeed in Business

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Twenty-six years ago, a kid, just graduated from college, loaded a used John Deere riding mower on the back of his old pick-up truck and went to work. All these years later, that kid and his bride (my husband and I) have learned a fair amount about running a business. If you are interested in starting your own company or are in the process of starting your own company, you may find these suggestions worthwhile–

1.  Have a thankful heart.  We often joke around about how we had NO idea what we were doing all those years ago. Eric didn’t go into business to make money.  He just did what he loved and what he believed the Lord was calling him to do. As his wife, I just went along for the ride. We didn’t pour over profit and loss statements or balance sheets. We probably should have done a bit more of that, but because we didn’t, we know that God has really protected and cared for us in this venture.  We have seen Him work in marvelous ways–helping us to meet payroll or feed our family in the lean years.  We try very hard to not take his grace and care for us for granted. A thankful heart, even in the midst of the hard times, is important.

2.  Plan for the worst. We try very hard not to over-stretch ourselves financially. We know that at the whim of a culture or the downturn of the dollar, our whole business could change. We keep that in mind as we determine what debt to take out. Eventually, we are trying to work it down to zero, but that takes time. However, we have made some progress and can already see some rewards of our efforts to reduce debt.

3.  Work hard. This sounds so simple, but we have noticed that there are so many who aren’t willing to put in the long hours necessary to get a business up and running. I think this is the main reason that we have been successful–because of my husband’s willingness to work hard (not mine–I don’t have near the same drive). Any success we have experienced is mostly because of the gift of hard work that God has instilled in Eric. We see so many people who want to go into business to make easy money. What they don’t realize is that the money doesn’t come easily at all and it takes a lot of hard, hard work and many, many hours. Especially those first five to ten years. Success can only be realized if you are willing to work hard.

4.  Don’t sacrifice your family. One of the things I appreciated early on was Eric’s willingness to meet the needs of his family despite the long hours. He always (aside from crazy springtime) makes time to talk to me and the kids.  He goes to sports games (most of the time) and plays basketball in the backyard. And, honestly, in our early years, one of the ways he did that was by following God’s command to keep the Sabbath holy. He kept Sundays work-free and our family is stronger because of it. Oh, don’t get me wrong–we did sacrifice as a family with dad’s long hours, but keeping the family a higher priority than the business is important for both the family and the business.

5.  Don’t give up! Persevere through the tough times.  I know sometimes people look at successful companies and assume that they just got lucky, but it’s not like that. At least it wasn’t for us. We have been through some very difficult times (and know that at any time we could go through them again). Eric just keeps going (and drags me with him, even when I feel like giving up!)  He refuses to give up and that has benefited our business over and over again.

6.  Treat your customers and employees like you would want to be treated. So often bosses treat others with condescension and harshness. We try very hard not to do that. Oh, we are not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but we want our employees and customers to know that they are valued as people to us and that we realize we would not be where we are today if not for them!

7. Follow God’s way as written in His Word. We sometimes get frustrated when we watch (or hear about) other company’s taking money “under the table”, lying on tax returns, and not getting the proper licenses or insurances.  But, early on, as Christians, we made the choice to be on the “up and up” with everything we do and we have never regretted it.  We can sleep at night because we know that we are doing things as God would want us to and that is what matters most.

8. Don’t get stuck in status quo. No matter what business you find yourself, it is constantly changing. Don’t stick your heels into the ground and determine to stay where you are. That is almost a sure way to kill your company. We have ebbed and flowed with various trends through the years. We have adjusted and changed and moved, all according to where the industry was going. We continue to do this.

9.  Be Generous. Don’t hang on to any material blessing too tightly.  Use what you have to further God’s Kingdom and to support and encourage Christian brothers and sisters.

10. To God be the Glory. Sure, we may have done some things right, but we have done a whole lot more wrong. But through it all we have tried to honor God.  Any credit for any success goes to God alone.  Along with that is the realization that any success is fleeting in the scope of life. We put our future in God’s hands and trust Him completely.

These are just a few of the lessons that we have learned and put into practice over the years. When I asked Eric to read over this, his first concern was that I was bragging too much on him. And maybe it does sound like that. I do have a lot of respect for this man who is my husband. However, much of what we have learned has been through much heartache, tears, and many arguments. It was a long and difficult road.  My main desire here is to spare some of you the same grief we went through.

Many of you are not running companies, but many of these same principles can be applied to any job…any life. It is my prayer that these principles will be helpful to you, wherever you find yourself in life.

 

Face It (Part 2)

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One of the most difficult things about standing up for the truth is figuring out what the truth really is. There are so many different interpretations and opinions and thoughts, that it can get a little crazy. For instance–

–Someone may think that putting red curtains in the church sanctuary is ungodly.

–Someone may think that driving a big SUV is a sin (I actually had someone say something similar to me when I was driving my Yukon XL).

–Perhaps someone thinks that eating certain foods is wrong.

–Someone else may think that all movie-going and TV-watching is sinful.

So, herein lies the question: How do I know if what I believe is actually truth or just my opinion?

There is and will always be only one way. We can only know truth by knowing what God’s Word says.

YES, I get that people have twisted and turned and interpreted and translated the Bible until it has become something that many people don’t trust and even more people don’t bother with (oh and, by the way, yes, it DOES matter what translation of scripture you use. Some have been seriously compromised.)  However, I believe that we can stand firm on the biblical doctrines of old. I say this because of what Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:15–

Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

I believe Paul is referring to sound doctrine here, the biblical, true Christianity taught since Jesus Christ came to earth, not meaningless traditions that hold men hostage.

There are many who are trying to redefine Christianity to make it more palatable and acceptable to the masses and so they’ve changed the meanings and interpretation of verses we have understood differently for two thousand years. That’s what we need to be very wary of.  If it changes the way traditional Christian doctrine has been viewed through the ages, it is most likely not from God.

But, that being said, there are many times that we stand self-righteously on things that just do not matter.

My husband and I have run into this on many occasions while raising teenagers. In fact, often has been the time that I have been standing firmly, saying “NO, you may not do that,” when Eric (my husband) will look at me and ask, “Honey, really…why not?” And, I have to swallow my pride and concede when I come to the conclusion that I can give no biblical reason or principle to apply to the situation.

I can also think of several times that Eric, as a business owner and church board member, has chosen to concede on things he felt very strongly about, simply because they were not opinions derived from scripture.

If we are willing to compromise on these non-biblical issues, people will be more likely to listen to us when it is time to stand for biblical doctrine and principles. Humility and kindness and compromise go a long way and is critical for the stupid stuff in life that doesn’t matter if we want to be taken seriously about the stuff that does.

And when it’s hard to know the difference about if it’s right or if it’s wrong from a biblical standpoint, I’ll just be honest and let you know that  I tend to err on the side of standing instead of caving. This is because God’s approval is so much more important to me than man’s.

God grant us the wisdom to know what is Truth worth standing for and what are the situations unworthy of a grand stand.  We will only have respect and a listening audience when we know the difference.

p.s. If  you haven’t read part 1 of this series, you can find it here.

Face It

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I can’t remember where I heard this a few weeks ago, but wherever it was, I can’t stop thinking about it: The reason people refuse to face the truth is because it will cost them.

That is probably one of the most profound things I have heard in a very, very long time.

All of us have heard the excuses. But the bottom line, in most cases, is that facing the truth will cost something we don’t want to pay. And, many times, most of us don’t consider the greater cost at the end of the line.

I thought of this the other day when I watched a movie. It was an unrealistic, poorly cast movie about a couple who had adopted a little girl from an Eastern European country. In a few weeks, the wife came across some clues that this child was probably not an under-privileged child growing up in an orphanage, but instead a child maliciously stolen from her loving mother.  As she dug further, she became sure that this was the case and went to a federal agent. At one point in their conversation the agent looked this brave woman in the eye and told her that the outcome for this would not be good for her. The child would most likely be reunited with her biological mother and she would go back to a life of waiting for a baby to become available.  This was the time that she could choose to look the other way and move on with her new life of motherhood. No one would be the wiser. She could go home, treat this child as her own, and be a happy family.

Fortunately for the child’s real mother, this woman had the character and the courage to do what would cost her the most. She faced the truth.

Oh, she and her husband tried to rationalize keeping the baby for a few moments: The baby would have a better life in America and they could give her so many privileges and opportunities that she would never have in her country.  But when the decision had to be made, they bravely did the right thing.

Would we have done the same?

I would like to think so. But sometimes we can’t even face our teenagers. Our spouses. Our friends. Our bosses.

Most of us walk right by truth and try hard to ignore it. Consider these examples–

–Our child wants to do something which we know is not a good idea. We will often cave because the cost (them being mad at us or screaming “I hate you!”) is not a price we are willing to pay.

–We find out our boss or a co-worker is dishonest.  We will often ignore it because the cost (getting embroiled in drama, being harassed, or losing our job) is not worth it.

Many times, we can’t even face ourselves. Because to look at ourselves honestly is to see a sinner. And most of us do not want to see that. Even if we are saved and came to that conclusion a long time ago, we don’t want to be reminded of it over and over again.

And so we just live as if everything is just fine. Except everything is not fine.

There are a few of us who wisely look down the road and see if we don’t face the truth now, it will cost us in the end and so we do face the truth head-on –at least in the things that affect us personally.

But when it comes to a boss (who cares?) or our church (it’s none of my business) or a friend (it’s their life) we are much less apt to be willing to stick our noses in.

We often don’t have enough love for our co-workers and friends and church family to do what will help them the most because of the cost to ourselves.

And, honestly, I’ll grant you this: it takes a lot of tact, careful words, kindness, love, and, most of all, courage, to speak the truth, even when it’s going to hurt our reputations or affect our comfort level.

But perhaps being able to see ourselves and the world honestly and then being willing to act on what we see is one of the most courageous and vital things we can do.  Instead, many–if not most–of us have been molded by our culture to shy away from it. We have also been scared by our culture and what happens to people who stand for truth–especially for God’s Truth.

We don’t have to be a preacher to share God’s Truth, we just have to know it (by knowing His Word) and then share it and stand for it. It’s that simple. But it’s that difficult.

But let’s always remember this: The price we pay for speaking truth may be very, very dear.  And through the journey we may have many questions. But God faithfully and lovingly cares for us when we do the right thing. Always. He comes alongside those who stand for what is right in a way that sometimes seems even miraculous. Yes, it is difficult, but God is faithful and it is worth it.

 

 

 

7 Ways to be an Awesome Employee

employeesMy husband and I have owned a business for…well, I guess this May will be 26 years now. For most of those years we have had the pleasure–and aggravation– of being the “bosses”.  While there are some advantages to being the “boss”, there are a few disadvantages, too. But we take our role seriously and truly desire to provide a good and pleasant place to work for our employees.

Some of those employees step up and are just an absolute joy to have with us, a few have been a nightmare, and then there is everything in between.  But all of these people walking in and out of our doors for the last 26 years have given us a good idea of what makes a good employee. And, before I go any further, I want to state here very clearly, since a few of our employees may stumble upon this, this list is in no way directed at any of our current employees. We feel absolutely blessed right at this moment and thank God for it. Life changes and employee nightmares come and go, but for right now–at this moment– while life is never perfect, we are blessed and we know it.

But, that aside, if you are an employee, either full-time or part-time, you may be interested in knowing what the boss thinks makes a good employee. It may be different than you think.

Here are seven ways to become a beloved and invaluable employee for your boss–

1. Be willing to take the blame and admit your mistakes if you mess up and then step up to fix the problem in any way you can.

2. Be honest. Bring integrity to all of your communication with others. Don’t steal. And before you say you don’t, keep in mind that wasting time by talking too much or making personal calls or surfing the internet during work hours is stealing.

3. Be willing to learn new things and take on extra responsibility. Take initiative and step up to new challenges. Take the initiative and think outside the box when solving problems.

4. Be flexible. Things happen that are outside your boss’s control. When the bad stuff happens, good employees can help take the sting out of it by not getting so ruffled if the routine breaks a bit.

5. Be company-minded. Take ownership of your job. Treat equipment and spend money as if the company was your own.

6. Be respectful. It does not go over so well when you act like you know more than your boss. Of course, in this day and age this can get a little tricky -because sometimes you DO know more than your boss in certain situations.  But even if you do, be respectful and kind in your communication — not condescending and arrogant.

7. Be friendly and courteous consistently to not only your bosses and managers, but also to your co-workers and the customers, always being willing to go the extra mile. Treat people kindly no matter your mood.

When one of our employees exhibits even a few of these qualities they become a very valued member of our team.

There are lots of verses in the Bible that talk about servants and masters, but when it comes to employees do these same principles apply? They probably do–

Colossians 3:22 — obey with sincerity, not as men-pleasers

Titus 2:9 – Be well-pleasing and don’t answer back

But, there is a flip side to this, isn’t there?  God’s Word also gives instruction to masters that may well be applied to bosses–

Ephesians 6:9 — do not threaten and do not show partiality

Colossians 4:1--be just and fair

Soooo….I am curious. What are some ways to be an awesome boss??  I’d really like to know what you think and would be interested in your suggestions.

 

Wednesday Wisdom: The Power of a Habit

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great men.
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?

I am a HABIT!

I could not find the author of this profound bit of writing, but when I heard it the other day it struck a chord with me. How many consequences could we avoid by simply changing a habit?  It is so simple, but yet it is so difficult. I can think of several small habits that, if I could change them, would yield tremendous rewards in my life. How about you? 

 

a few favorite posts–

Well, I am all packed for my mission trip to Guatemala and have a few extra minutes. So I thought I would share a few of my favorite posts from the first year I started blogging. While I am away next week, I hope you enjoy reading these–

Why I Still Dress Up for Church

Playing in the Mud

SVL

The BIG Lie

Life Lessons I Learned at a Business Conference

 

Happy Reading! :)

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom: Five Lessons I’ve Learned From My Husband

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My husband isn’t a writer. But he has taught me a lot, nevertheless. Today I am going to share with you a few of the valuable lessons I have learned from him. I didn’t bring these qualities to marriage and now I can honestly say, that while I don’t have these perfected, I have changed a lot for the better.

1.   Don’t sweat the small stuff. He’s taught me not to get excited about the small stuff, because it isn’t worth the time, energy, or emotion. You have a flat tire? Just fix it and move on. There is a mouse in the house? Well, let’s set a trap and see if we can catch it. A customer is upset? Okay, let me call them and see what’s going on. Not too much ruffles his feathers. When we first got married, my feathers were very easily ruffled, so his approach took some getting used to for me. Eric has helped me see the uselessness of ruffled feathers.

2.   So you don’t feel 100%? You still have a job to do. Get up and do it. I was one who would lay down on the sofa at the first inkling of not feeling well. But not Eric. He could have the stomach flu and he’d be working, because there was work to do. I learned that I could probably work through that headache or queasy stomach. By the way, I think he has learned from me that sometimes he needs to stop and let his body heal. We were definitely two extremes of this when we got married.

3.   Something bad has happened? Let’s view it as a challenge and figure out how to fix it/change it/get through it. He has definitely taught me to view trials and challenges as ways to grow and change. And if you can’t figure it out, well, then you pray about it and get through it as best you can.  Dwelling on the past, floundering in the murky waters of darkness, just isn’t an option.

4.   It is always more effective to use honey than vinegar in any conversation. The use of respect and kindness is always the better choice in a difficult conversation than frustration and anger. This has been especially shown in his dealings with his customers. I would get frustrated that someone wasn’t paying and call them with that “tone” in my voice. Eric taught me that the “tone” doesn’t help me at all.

5.   Look at the bright side. The Life is Good company has a t-shirt with a glass that is filled half-way and written above it are the words “half full”. That is my husband. The glass is always half full. Most situations have a good side to them. For example, a few months ago, as I bemoaned the kids growing older and the life changes that will come with that, he reminded me of all of the good times he and I will have together after they have started their own lives.  It is all in perspective.

We have all learned lessons from our spouses, if we take a moment to think about it. One of the cool (and enormously frustrating!) things about marriage is that God often puts two opposite people together. If we can focus on learning from them instead of being irritated by them, it is so helpful. Of course, I still get irritated and I am still learning. But it is amazing what rubs off in 24 years.

What lessons have you learned from your spouse?

The Reign of Incompetence

“Ummm…just a second…I will go check.”  The young man who was on the phone with my husband was less than unsure.  Eric impatiently waited as the young man went to look for the needed item.  When he came back he stammered out an explanation of the item in his hand.  That is when Eric realized that he didn’t even have a clue what he was looking for.

Now, you might think  that we are being awfully hard on this young man, but the fact of the matter is, what Eric needed was a very basic item found in a hardware store.   He should have been able to call and get a quick yes or no.  But, instead, he ended up on the phone with someone who was incompetent.

A few weeks later we went out to eat and fell into the hands of an incompetent waitress.  She was a pleasant girl, but seemed to be struggling with the very basics of her job.   It was a frustrating meal, as we all would try to catch her attention and she wouldn’t even look our way.

We all run into incompetent people now and again, but am I the only one who feels like it is becoming more and more often?  So what can we do?

First, we should realize that the clueless person is a person with feelings.  Chances are they were thrown into the job without proper training.  Or perhaps they are trying to do a job for which they are not suitable.  Hopefully, they figure that out sooner rather than later, but our rudeness isn’t going to help them either way.  And, as a Christian, we are responsible to treat them with courtesy and kindness, no matter how frustrated we may be (so much easier to write than to do!)

And then, second, I can’t help but think that we, as believers, should never be found to be incompetent.  Oh, I know that there are those beginning days of a new job when we are uncertain about things.  But we should learn as quickly as we can, always thinking about the next thing, and working hard to know the job.  Colossians 3:23-24 are two of my favorite verses.  They say: And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  

As believers, we are to do all we do with our best effort, for we are serving the Lord, not men.   This is hard to remember when you are in a job atmosphere where workers slack off when the boss isn’t around.  Or where there is great laziness and disinterest in the job.  But, as believers, we are called by God to be competent, diligent, and hard-working, despite the crowd around us.

And, just a word of caution, this is not the popular thing to do.  Oh, your boss will love it (if you don’t have an incompetent, lazy boss who is worried about you surpassing him!)  but your co-workers may grow resentful; they may even call you names.  Be prepared.  Doing what God calls us to in all aspects of life isn’t always easy.  In fact, I would venture to say it is usually the rockier route to travel.

And, finally, as parents, business owners, and teachers, let’s work hard to instill this passion for doing the best job we can into our children, employees, and students.  Let’s expect competence and diligence from them.  Let’s encourage their hearts, while demanding excellence.  It is up to us to train the next generation.  How are we going to do that if we lazily do our own thing?  We have a responsibility and we need to take it seriously.

Incompetence may reign in our culture – but it doesn’t need to reign in the lives of ourselves or our families.  Let’s show that we are different because we serve the Lord.  Are you ready to travel the rocky path and do what’s right, no matter the cost?

Are You Sure About That?

The headlines read “26 Years Later, Haven’t Lost Anyone”. The article went on to give the lawn company’s philosophy and why they never – yes, it said NEVER – have lost a customer. Having owned a lawn company for 25 years, my husband first recognized the impossibility of this statement. And then he started laughing as he realized that he was actually bidding some work for one of their unhappy customers. The credibility of that company and of the newspaper that ran the article was thrown into question after reading what we knew, firsthand, to be an outright lie.

Around this same time, our daughter was in a car accident with another driver, a young girl. There were not any witnesses of the incident and the young girl proceeded to lie about what had occurred. Our auto insurance is headed to battle over it, as the dents in the cars tell the true story and they believe they will be able to prove it was not our daughter’s fault.

We also had two incidents with buying mowers recently. In one, a verbal agreement was made and we were on our way to pick it up (a drive of several hours) when we were called and told that he had sold the mower to someone who had offered to pay him more. In the other case, we traveled to Philadelphia to pick one up, being told it was in mint condition, only to hear a tap in the motor.

So, what do all of these stories have in common? Integrity.

No longer do people feel it necessary to be truthful in advertising…to keep their word…to be honest in their interactions with others.  Instead they do whatever is to their own advantage, with no concern for the truth.

The lack of concern about the truth in this culture is truly frightening. But the lie that there are no moral absolutes has seeped its way into the culture so thoroughly, that now we are reaping the consequences. And they will be heavy consequences. You could see it happening twenty years ago. I remember a song in the 80s talking about this change in teaching absolute truth to our public school students. You could see it happening when TV sitcoms would (and still do) glorify and make light of someone telling a lie to get something they wanted. You could also see it coming, when parents started to set examples of lying on their taxes and being dishonest about sick days and why they couldn’t come to the phone. Another big red flag was when a person’s “happiness” became the ultimate goal for life.  You see, these things set the stage for a generation that has no respect for the truth, unless it is to their advantage.

So, as a Christian (and, hopefully, as one who practices telling the truth), what are we to do? Well, first and foremost, of course, is that we stand out in this culture by being honorable and trustworthy. We should tell the truth, no matter what the outcome (Proverbs 14:5). We also need to be unwavering and to set a godly example as we teach our children the importance of honesty and integrity.

Another important thing we need to do in this day and age is to listen to everything with the proverbial grain of salt .  Whether it is in the newspaper, on the TV news or on a reality show, or even hearing a story about someone else’s tragic circumstances from a friend, we shouldn’t be so quick to believe what we hear.  So many are the agendas and slants given to stories, that we need to be really careful in what we believe.

As I write on this topic, I find myself filled with sadness at the state of this culture. I could see it coming and now I realize that we are here.  I also know the inevitable outcome of a country that holds no respect for the truth. But, alas, here we are. And so it is our duty and responsibility to live the Christian life with integrity in a culture that holds no esteem for the truth.

 

 

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