Your Place in the Virtual Revolution

tsizzles:

A different outlook to blogging in general. Something to think about concerning how it cannot and should not be taken for granted, especially when it comes to reaching a mass audience.

Originally posted on A Holistic Journey:

This post is for parents, bloggers, Facebookers, anyone who’s stuck a foot out on Cyberland. In our talk about belonging, we seemed to think in terms of the social Haves and Have-nots. Many of you spoke of the self-consciousness of often feeling on the fringe. Some shared you were too fat or too this or too that to fit in, others that you never even figured out why you always seemed to find yourself on the outside. I wanted to bring to attention something that’s as right in your face as the computer or phone screen in front of you. The Internet has given every one of us the power to lead. It has made us all insiders.

It’s a new day, a global Do-It-Yourself culture everyone with online access is privy to. YouTube alone is an open platform where anyone can catapult himself into stardom and not hurt himself…

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A Plethora of Passwords

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tsizzles:

Very interesting and new perspective on passwords. Not just your typical advice for stronger and better passwords but links and info on more effective online security.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

There are a number of irritating things experts insist you must do for your own good: eat nine servings of veggies a day; maintain a diverse retirement portfolio; check your transmission fluid every month. Most of us ignore a lot of this advice, because there’s no end to it, and our lives are complicated enough.

Photo by Kit

Photo by Kit

As a habitual good advice ignorer myself, I realize that when I tell you I’m here today to talk about passwords, you’ll want to tune me out. But wait! Good password hygiene is more important than flipping your mattress.

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Stunned By An Act Of Kindness

Earlier today while taking a lunch break from serving at the cafe at our church, a very interesting event took place. I had served a table with a very big order, gave it to my coworker who then came back to confirm the bill. When I was done I was told that the bill for my table (made up of 4 ladies) was taken care of. I went to clear my table only to be asked for the bill. My coworker made them aware of the situation and all they could do was look at each other with wide eyes, open mouth, and hand to the chest in complete shock. In my mind my coworker gave them the bill, but what actually transpired is two people from a different table having paid for them.

What am I thinking?

I learned never to take for granted the small things you do. I am willing to bet that one or more of the ladies at my table had done something for someone else earlier that day or week (and thus sowing a seed) and that the harvest of their actions was what they were partaking of. This event actually reminds me of what I learned during my time in Bible school. When you sow your seed of positive actions and good deeds, you could get a mushroom blessing, because it takes a day to grow mushroom. Another kind of seed you may possibly plant is a maize seed which means a 3-to-5-month blessing. The other type of seed you could sow is a mustard seed which takes around 40 years to grow!

Seeing what you have always missed

Mushroom blessings are everyday blessings. Random acts of kindness amongst other things that you may receive or give circulate through each day of our lives. Things can always be worse. No matter how bad we have it, we really do not have anything to complain about. I thought, especially after having seen the movie Pay It Forward some time ago, that it would be a good idea to be a miracle to someone and have them do the same to a few others. I hope it works out well.

Help along the way
If you have experienced any form of random act of kindness, whether you give or receive it, please to tell your storyI would love to know more about how to get started and recognize the opportunity when it presents itself, and do what I can to make someone else’s day better simply because I was there.

Other things to ponder
Lidiya- 10 Small Acts Of Kindness That Will Make A Big Difference
Tim- Blank Fridays: Helping Hands
Sokane- Strength Of Kindness
Michelle Mangold- One Simple Act
Kibilds- Day 73: The Gift Of Given Gitfs

Denying God Through Self-Glorification

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For a long time I have wondered what the passage in Proverbs 6 meant. Here it is:

Proverbs 6:17

These six things the Lord hates, yea, seven are an abomination to Him. A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Self-glorification first of all is a very serious matter. With me included, many Christians have been sucked and deceived into thinking that the ultimate desire or purpose on earth is to excel above everyone else in any given field. That is what the world conforms to. We are not to do that (Romans 12:2). This world’s ways are fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. This is the case especially with regards to ethical and moral issues which heavily impact existential and philosophical lessons passed onto younger generations. Their understanding of life, the meaning of life, finding themselves and their purpose will be heavily thwarted.

In essence being better than everyone is the final goal of every human existence as far as the worldly standard is concerned. You are born to be great in a sophisticated and praised field in the world. This is what Christians have been taught to believe as well. It is not about being the best you can be and improving on that to the point where you’re maintaining excellence, but about being the best in general and overall. What is the point of the best? It is so that not only can prominent colleges seek you out, but companies and various highly respected individuals as well which results in putting you on a pedestal. Everyone praises you. Then what happens? Your parents, perhaps teachers and friends brag about you in front of their peers, whether that’s direct or indirect.

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A Possible Second Battle

In the Bible there is only one thing that serves as the number one contender against God: Mammon. It is wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. It is the only other thing that Jesus acknowledged as master in this world besides God. Hence why He said:

No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24

Now self-glorification is probably another master that the world gets mastered by. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best. One need not aim to excel above everyone else, but only to excel above one’s own capacity to succeed. If in the process that allows you to rise above everyone else, great, as long as it is not the motive. There are a number of problems that come with self-glorification:

  1. You do not seek to glorify God first.
  2. It can possibly create an identity crisis. You do not know who you are in Christ (and maybe not fully, if you do) and therefore seek validation of yourself from others.
  3. It creates narcissism. Self-obsession can be really bad.

 

This all started in the Garden of Eden. After God created everything and pronounced it good, that included Adam and Eve. Now the Perfect World in which they lived was one that ensured that everything they did was good because it was the only thing they knew. When Eve was deceived self-glorification was born because she was led to believe that not only was she deprived of high status (because she was to be like God) but now good was not the only thing she knew anymore. This time being good came at the struggle of not allowing evil to creep in. In another case, listen to what God told the Israelites:

Deut 8:12-14, 17

Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them,

13 And when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all you have is multiplied,

14 Then your [minds and] hearts be lifted up and you forget the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,

 17 And beware lest you say in your [mind and] heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.

Hezekiah, who wrote Proverbs 25-30, talked about the importance of having just enough which is the sufficient amount of all necessities. Nothing more and nothing less.

Proverbs 30:7-9

Two things have I asked of You [O Lord]; deny them not to me before I die:

Remove far from me falsehood and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,

Lest I be full and deny You and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor and steal, and so profane the name of my God.

One of the key things a commentary said about Agur is that he so wisely prayed for a middle state, that he might be kept at a distance from temptations.

Jesus rebuked a man who trusted his security in his riches and predicted a life of luxury (only) for himself:

Luke 12:19-21

And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many good things laid up, [enough] for many years. Take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself merrily.

20 But God said to him, You fool! This very night they [the messengers of God] will demand your soul of you; and all the things that you have prepared, whose will they be?

21 So it is with the one who continues to lay up and hoard possessions for himself and is not rich [in his relation] to God [this is how he fares].

I put a lot of thought into this. It reminds me of what Solomon said concerning the pointlessness of working so hard to build your empire, only to find that one with less wisdom than you would take over and not properly manage all that you have worked so hard to build (Ecc 2:18-21)

What about Cain?

God wanted Cain to be successful just as much as Abel. He did not ask if Cain was to be more successful than his brother, He only asked that if he did well then he was to be accepted:

Gen 4:6-7

And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected?

7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.

Conclusion
I believe God would love for us to be good husbands/wives and parents to our children. Excelling above someone else is not really, at the end of the day, a goal worthy of pursuing. Rather being the best person you were created to be and can be (and if that in turn allows you to be much better than someone else-well done) so that His glory may manifest in all that you do, along with benefiting and improving other people’s lives.

 

Hear Instruction, Heed Correction

If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
– Marcus Aurelius

In this month in the past weeks, I have been following the Proverbs each day and found out one particular theme that jumps out at me as if it were the only thing written in the book: How the wise deal with rebuke as opposed to the fool.

In the Proverbs the fool comes in two parts, firstly as the person who is a rebel, any act against God, His laws or even those that the general public follow but are established by God; secondly as someone that is genuinely void of any wisdom, knowledge or understanding. Now depending on the context the word (fool) is used, it is either the one or the other.

During moments every now and then spent with my dad, arguments about trivial things came up. Sadly it would all break into, in my opinion, a very unnecessary lecture. Why was it unnecessary? It may contain nuggets of true, precious and valuable wisdom but the thing is, I pay more attention to body language than statements. I would make my choice to heed his counsel or not depending on what (I felt) his motive was. If he spoke in love, I could easily sense that in the tone of voice and the look in his eyes, however, most times neither would indicate so, hence, the more likelihood of me forgetting what he said.

The other reason of course is the number of times he repeated himself after making his point. As I said in my earlier post, being lectured (or corrected/rebuked) is something I experienced a lot last year. Extremely little information was of great value to me because it was not spoken in love. Even sincere and intense anger fuelled out of concern and love is something easy to sense as well. I realize how effective using body language passively is, that is, paying more attention to how someone communicates than what they actually communicate. Is there unity between words and facial expression?

Proverbs 19:20

Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.

I remember in primary school I often got reproved on the right to treat women, how to behave around the White guys, how to address those in authority as far as my culture is concerned and the list goes on. Reading all that one would think that I basically did everything wrong. All my life it felt that way. I have to the harsh whip of constant correction by different people from different places. Up to a certain point in life I realized that I am not only too easily misunderstood, to which I am still to find the reason why, but I basically am in position where the best thing to do is to not only conclude that some, not all, people have a general hesitant disliking towards me, but also fight my way through any misconceptions anyone may have about me. Some times I do think about the accusations, no matter how small, but most times I disregard them.

Proverbs 9:9

Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser; teach a righteous man (one upright and in right standing with God) and he will increase in learning.

Matter Of Choice

Someone said something that is quite interesting: It’s easier to advise than be advised. Now I will be the first to admit that I have been on the other side of the coin on this (the giving advice). There have been successful results with the recipients giving positive feedback and still remembering the advice! Quality does not come better than that. I have been, however, stuck with the giving-at-the-expense-of-following habit. Some characters in movies and TV shows portray this (Francis Underwood- House of Cards). Slowly but surely I am beginning to take note of the whole practice what you preach thing. Thanks to that I keep it mind when I am being given advice too. Now I realize that the choice to take the advice makes all the difference. Just like general information, advice is simply information given to you from someone else’s perspective of your situation. This means I can decide which part of the advice to follow and also see whether or not someone else agrees with what the previous person said without prior info on what they said, although that applies more to me seeking advice. More often than not I split up auto-advice simply because I am deprived the opportunity to choose the necessity of receiving the advice. In the end I believe becoming wiser when you are rebuked and corrected is a matter of choice. Choice made from an intellectual perspective rather than emotional.

The  Counter-Intuitive Aspects Of Life

Reorganizing the paradoxical and oxymoronic

I have been going through the most awkward of experiences in the recent years. They are not so easy to describe. They also come as often as the moon does to the earth and as the cumulonimbus cloud makes its appearance amongst the others. In the recent weeks such experiences have caused me to bring to mind things in life that appear to be normal and common sense calculable but, in essence, turn out to be contrary to what one would perceive to be believable and yet makes itself true in every sense. Cryptic at this point may be a word you are inclined to connect with concerning what I have said thus far.

In case that is so, part of the experiences have to do with the regularly unnecessary lectures my dad and a few of my workmates and friends would give me on philosophical and existential matters. Some are sound and others are to me, as loud as an empty room. Either way their very presence makes me less obligated to follow through with them because I feel they are motivated by frustration rather than love.

One example is when I am asked to do something for someone, I do it even when I really do not want to or feel like it. That’s something I have a huge problem with, however slowly but surely, I am developing the courage and self-respect to not do things at my expense if I see that it is not worth it. When I do the deed, at later times, when I ask the same person to do something for me, they refuse, give an excuse, justify themselves with a logical explanation or insult my abilities to act on my request. The thing that is exasperating is that Acts of Service is my love language so it does feel like an arrow pierced deep inside when I have to face an argument or denial.

Even when I successfully fulfil the task it still feels like a failure because I would not have wanted to do it in the first place. It’s counterproductive because I do what does not make me feel loved and indirectly accept refusal for what does! That is an example of the negative sides of the counter- intuitive parts of life. I then get lectured on working together with others and teamwork-based pieces of advice.

Thoughts on things that seem upside down but should be or are downside up

a) someone who does you a favour after you hurt them emotionally, physically or occupationally.

b) putting on a vest/spaghetti-top with shorts and slippers on a cold, windy overcast day.

c) receiving a “yes” when you expected a “no”

d) teaching youth to obey authority even when they (authority figures-principally) don’t do what they are asking of you.

e) making an offensive statement (intentionally) about religion, race, politics, equality, sex or any other (seemingly taboo) topic, and not being heard or being misunderstood when you qualify yourself (justify why you made the statement).

f) when you comment and most of your assertion is rearranged to mean either something other than what you (actually) intended by it or opposes it altogether.

g) when an unbeliever fulfils the fruit of the Spirit better than a Christian

h) when an employee still works as hard as they can for their boss despite being ill-treated, shamed, embarrassed and possibly exploited.

i) when a wife still chooses to accept and love her husband regardless of the disrespect and dishonour being dealt to both her and the children.

j) figuring out whether accepting that someone else is right is the same as admitting that you are wrong.

k) when you give without expecting anything in return

l) when you choose to love even when it hurts and sometimes to the point it hurts

m) when you take a risk knowing that under normal circumstances it is the last thing you will do

n) when someone’s life has taken an unexpected turn and that has heavily impacted your life when you only (and initially) thought it would affect them.

0) when something doesn’t make sense but makes a perfect sense of everything else around you, especially when someone does it.

Conclusion

Think about the things you go through in your day-to-day life and see whether or not some of the things I’ve mentioned, or other things that come to mind, happen either to you or someone else.  Everything I have listed is there as food for thought. If you have any more things to add to the list, please feel free.

Saving: A Lesson In Frugality

I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.” John Stuart Mill

He who does not economize will have to agonize.” 
Confucius

Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.” 
Samuel Johnson

Proverbs 13:7

One man considers himself rich, yet has nothing [to keep permanently]: another man considers himself poor, yet has great [and indestructible] riches.

Ever since that day 7 years ago (it is 2014 at the time of this writing) when I read Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad 3: What The Rich Invest In That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not,” that I started to think incessantly and considerably about the concept of saving. I looked at so many articles on About.com on the matter and watched plenty of Youtube videos as well. I tried to learn as much as I could. 

I found out how saving coincided with investing. That was an interesting and irritating discovery. Interesting because both have to do with the discipline of waiting in order to grow, and suppressing the desire to consume the money in any way. Irritating because it meant understanding as much as possible about investing (which feels like studying for a one-and-a-half to two-year college degree), and finding out which avenue I am most intrigued with and most likely to be skilled at.That would mean learning through trial and error and finding the balance  between the amount to be saved, the amount to be invested and thus leaving me with the amount to be spent. All this obviously cannot take place without the most crucial part: budgeting

My 5 stage process

The discipline required to follow through with this is very heavy. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted. For one to claim they can, or at the least, have the means and/or ability to apply them, must surely be put to the test. It is something I am doing my best to apply as well and I admit that sacrifices have been made in the process but are necessary for further financial development so as to reduce the amount of sacrifices in the future. 

Stage 1: Tithe

My ultimate tithing goal is to get from 10% of my income to 90% of my income. Essentially the first thing I do is to set aside 10% and tithe that only as often as I receive the pay check. In other words if you receive it weekly then you tithe weekly. If you receive it monthly then you do it monthly too. I currently do a single tithe (10%). I want to get to a point where I give double tithe, then triple, four-fold, 50% all the way up to 90%.. Giving that much to me is the greatest evidence of financial success. Yes there are a lot of people talking about financial freedom which is awesome, and if that is to be obtained, then I believe in addition to doing homework as to how and deciding how badly you want it and how hard you’re willing to work for it, you go at it with all your heart and give just as you have received.

Stage 2: Budgeting

NB: A budget is telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it went.

The main rule for this is Every dollar/rand (your currency) has a name. What does that mean?  I love the session on Wealth, Wisdom and the World that Dave Ramsey gave. He basically talked about how important it is to literally name the assignment every penny has. Spendthrifts have a good attitude in this department. They are constantly thinking about what assignment their next wage, salary, pocket money and allowance is going to get. The only problem is their application of it. They plan this mentally but not practically. In other words, it is not written down. I know motivational speakers on goal-setting talk about how the writing down is half the goal being fulfilled. I have sections (in my budget) for why the money is being used in that area not just where.

Stage 3: Saving

After finding out where and why the money goes to where it goes, I decide how much of the remainder will be saved. This is where the sacrifice comes to play. It is in the making absolute certain that there is always something to be saved. That would mean telling someone that you do not have cash (to spare) for them at that point in time. You would be reducing the number of people and times you say that the bigger your savings gets. Another sacrifice is shortening the Personal category in the budget list. Eating out, going to arcades/theme parks, spas, concerts and so on may need to be done fewer times in the month, just to start off. As time goes by you will find that you will be able to do all those things more often and still save money. How awesome is that!

I tax myself the amount that should be saved from every purchase. I begin with 5% then as my budget for anything and/or everything increases, so does my tax for saving. It helps a lot.

Why Save?

A few reasons:

  1. It’s for a rainy day. Emergencies (which you should have a separate account for); helping family members or friends out of a real pinch; unexpected pregnancy. I don’t even know how that makes sense. A job lay off.
  2. Spending with cash. I hate credit cards unless I have absolutely no other choice. There is nothing like “buy now and pay later” unless you have a plan for reconciling the debt you incur on that purchase. It is so much work finding out how you’re going to get out of debt knowing that you will get into it, when it can be avoided altogether.
  3. For a long term investment so that you can retire with dignity and you can send your kids to college.

Stage 4: Investing

After setting aside the amount to be saved for the month, I find out how much from the savings is to be invested. If I see that I can save $500 then I decide that $250 is to be invested then that is what I go for. Of course there may be months where the investing plans work out in such a way that you will have to take all the savings (from the budget you form not the savings account) and invest that. When faced with such a decision I then plan how much of the R.O.I (returns on investment) will be saved. Basically the roles are reversed. The best thing with this strategy is that you have money growing for you while you earn some too.

Stage 5: Spending

This is where stage 2 comes in handy. Everything in the budget takes priority. That may sound like a common sense statement but the term, “Spendthrifts,” would not exist if it was. Tick off everything that you have chosen to spend cash on and then the remainder is essentially Pocket Money. You can either have a separate account just for pocket money or you have two parts for your savings account: General and Pocket Money. However you do it, make sure you know that it is your pocket money at the end of the day and not confuse it with anything else. The fun part comes when you get to include the items in the Personal part of the budget. It is a whole different feeling when you spend money on something you like after having planned on paper/screen for it. 

Conclusion

I don’t know why but I love being frugal, even the idea of being frugal is exciting. Some people would be like, “What? What does that even mean?” I believe it is the lesson in these passages:

Better is he who is lightly esteemed but works for his own support than he who assumes honour for himself and lacks bread. Proverbs 12:9

It is all about taking it one step at a time:

Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches]. Proverbs 13:11

Work as hard as you can, as much as you can:

He who tills his land shall be satisfied with bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits is lacking in sense and is without understanding. Proverbs 12:11

Plan your recovery from disaster i.e debt

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender Proverbs 22:7

Save what you can, then save more than you can:

There are precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it Proverbs 21:20

Remember to budget well and include a reconciliation plan in case you spend more than you budgeted for:

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. Proverbs 16:9

Know your investments and be skilled in your vehicle of choice ([a]stocks, which includes bonds, mutual funds, ETF’s [exchange trade fund], shares etc, [b] real estate which includes, houses, apartments, flats etc, [c], businesses which includes clothing stores, shopping centres, food courts, jewellery stores, hardware stores, computer stores etc, [d] commodities like crops and other items):

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6.

Heaping Coals Of Fire

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I recently read this passage on how to make amends with your enemy and thought it was quite interesting. It actually has a lot to do with the counterintuitive aspects of life. I will talk more about that in a later post. I believe this scripture is so easy to misunderstand because of taking it literally as it is. Let’s check it out:

Proverbs 25:21-22
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Paul referenced this passage when encouraging the Romans to live a life that exemplifies peace and godliness. Starting from verse 17 we read:

Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone.

18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.

20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his headRomans 12:17-20

Breaking Down Verse 20
God wanted His saints’ minds to be so far from revengeful thinking that He lays down one prior condition: Vengeance is Mine. This means that at the actual moment we harbour the thought of paying back the enemy for what they have done, we are first of all to remember that revenge is not our place. Revenge implies that we think of ourselves as more important than our enemies, I would go as far as including those who hurt us but are not necessarily (regarded by us as) our enemies. This is because the principle applies in that situation as well. The reason I say that revenge suggests we think of ourselves as more valuable is because we believe in that moment that being right (meaning justified) is more significant than maintaining our relationship, but Paul said, “I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance].” Romans 12:3

Chapter 12 of Romans begins with Paul asking us to give our bodies to the Lord as a living (and holy) sacrifice, and then goes on to discourage us from patterning ourselves after the ways of the world; an attitude that begins in and with the mind. Therefore in order to preserve the holiness of our bodies we are not to entertain any thoughts that desecrate that holiness, particularly to the extent of multiplying the damage dealt to us. That is what revenge is all about. You slap me, and I will crush you with a bat.

This word of encouragement from Paul, as well as Hezekiah (he wrote chapters 25 through 30 of Proverbs), may be difficult to apply but bears enormous importance. It is almost as if everything that happens to us and “our enemy” hinges on that split-second choice on whether or not to deal eye-for-an-eye, which has huge ramifications.

Taking this word of exhortation literally, means as you do good to those who do bad to you, the idea in that case is to shame and embarrass your enemy. I know some people think that when God says, “Vengeance is Mine, ” He is to bring His wrath all the more fiercely on your enemy so as to justify you (especially if that is the whole purpose behind you acting kindly towards him in the first place). That could not be further from the truth! Here is one extremely substantial reason why:

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. Proverbs 24:17-18

That is a consequence you do not want befalling you. The idea behind doing good to your enemy, even in a literal sense, giving him food when he’s hungry and drink when he’s thirsty (including any other necessity), is so that he feels so ashamed for what he has done that it leads him to repentance, loves the person he once hated and is careful not to both repeat the wrong he has done, and also not do any further wrong in the future.
Think about this statement:

“When he remembers the food and drink thou hast given him, thou shall burn him, as if thou puttest coals upon his head to burn him, and “he will take care of doing thee any ill. This matter will be hard unto him, as if thou heapest coals on his head to burn him, because of the greatness of his shame”, on account of the good that he shall receive from thee, for the evil which he hath rendered to thee.”

How amazing would life be on earth if we understood that so far should the saints be from meditating revenge upon their enemies, that they should do good unto them, as Christ directs, (Matthew 5:44 ) , by feeding them when hungry, and giving drink unto them when thirsty.

NB: The results from such an act of faith can possibly take a long time flourish. Patience is vital before, throughout and after the action has been implemented. It is the consequential process, one that tests the heart to see if diligence in seeking to please God, is the order of the day. Hebrews 11:6

Self-esteem part 3: Connecting The Love Languages

 

Courtesy of urbanbushbabes.com

Speaking The Right Language
Lately I had been thinking about my experience at film school, both when I was a student and a facilitator. I spent a lot of time with as many of the students as possible trying to find out what each person’s love language was. The interesting thing was that those that had physical touch had not really given it that much, compared to those with the other languages. I later found out that it had something to do with comfort.

When it came to speaking the native language, people were generally loose cannons because of the level of comfort they had, especially knowing that someone else who was not a native of the country, in  this case South Africa, was able to speak it too, however, when it came to speaking the love language the level of comfort decreased.  Meaning that they were not sure how everyone would respond to their very eager and excited nature to just touch anytime they felt like it! Of course that is a more than reasonable justification.

My languages are Service and Time. Often times those two can be very difficult because having to get people to do stuff for you can be really hard. When the really cool ones are not there to help willingly, you have to deal with the ones that can be reluctant too regularly. That was the challenge I often had, but I managed to handle it quite well. Discovering leverage was a lot of people’s language, that helped spark an idea for getting people to speak my language.

Give and Receive- Find The Balance
After recognizing your language, which could be done either through taking a test or paying close attention to what excites you or frustrates you when someone does or says something to you; the next thing is to find out how you give and receive love. I used to be taught that you receive the same language that you give, so for a long time, I thought that Service was how I gave love seeing that it was how received it. I later found out that Words and Time were how I gave love. That took a very long time to discover. I realized, mostly during moments when someone was sad that I listened well and was very encouraging. I also learned that I was generally uplifting anyways.

Time is a strange one because I seldom do the talking unless it is about the film industry, movies, TV Shows and related things, mainly with someone who is also from or in the industry. However, the way I understand it is that being understanding and listening are key components when it comes to Time. Since I give it (and receive it), that means I listen quite easily, depending on my mood. In essence choosing the right time to go out for coffee, even as a casual thing, matters too.

Living The Languages
On a practical note, is it necessary to go to everyone asking them what their love language is? From what I have seen, I am not so sure that most people even know what their love language is. It is actually one of those questions that need to be really thought about if the person does not know. For me, I say that spending time with the person and just being yourself around them, helps with finding out how they feel loved. Being observant is the whole idea. You do not have to plan girls night out to find out if your friend appreciates your company, or buy them something randomly,  just think carefully at the moments you have received heartfelt gratitude and the events that led to them.

Courtesy of pastorblog.cumcdebary.org

Words of affirmation- can be a very difficult language to give. How so? You will have to ask yourself where to draw the line. How far is too far? How often do you express complimentary terms before it appears as though something else is happening, such as ulterior motives? How does a man give words to another man without seeming too forward? I think the same can go for woman to man and man to woman. If “words” was  my language then I would focus heavily on body language. The tone of voice. The look on the face. Whether or not they look me in the eye or are at least facing me the whole time as they speak. All that plays a huge role and safeguards against any suspicious and uncomfortable behaviour.

Gift receiving- can be fairly evaluated. It obviously helps if you are the kind of person who loves giving gifts anyway. If you are not then spend time with someone who is or ask them how they know what to get the person. The straightforward alternative is to ask the person the kind of gifts they normally like receiving. The hardest way to discover this language is by being complained at about not getting things for them. Every now and then a small card with a note wrapped in an envelope on top of box of chocolates will do the trick. If it is a woman, all that next to some appropriately selected flowers will do too. They say It’s the thought that counts. Let it be well planned and well timed.

Acts of Service- is a tough one because in my experience it depends on the level of relationship you have with the person. With me there are some people I would not mind making tea or coffee for, help put the office in order and fulfilling some of their tasks if I can. Those people essentially do stuff for me as well. At times I cringe at the thought of getting some people something. The worst is when I absolutely have to. It is torture at its highest degree! One of the best is when someone does something out of thoughtfulness and care, especially when it concerns an errand that you needed to get done later.
It is amazing when a person offers to help you with something you need help with so badly and all the people you were certain were able to assist, are not in a position to do so, but the right person, with the right thing, the right contacts, comes at just the right time!

Physical Touch- in some ways can be complicated. The setting in which you communicate this language matters. One cannot put arms around another’s shoulder during a meeting! From what I have learned, there are few different kinds of touch:

a) Social Touch: this is simply the touch that is socially acceptable. No one will give you a second look or regard you as guilty of anything if you shake hands, gently rub the upper back (something I personally love doing) or pat it, pat the forehead, high fives (and lows and side-fives), fist pumps, and cheek-hugs.

b) Friendly Touch: this is the kind of touch that only a friend can give. Normal hugs, arms around shoulders during walks, stroking of hair and my favourite, back massage. I really love giving those.

c) Romantic Touch: this one goes deep. Prolonged stroking of hair, holding hands, body strokes, cheeks being slowly massaged, hands on thighs, kissing, love bites and sitting and/or lying on the other person.

Again, depending on the depth of the relationship, the necessary type of touch is to be implemented. I will make a very important point: Everyone Is Different. That means that some people, usually extroverts, are comfortable with prolonged stroking of hair and sitting on the other person’s lap, especially during movies when the relationship goes no further than deep platonic friendship. What all that generally means is that as long as you understand the person’s language and how they like being communicated, you can do so anyway you like. I must say that the last point is subject to a few things:
Mood, Timing, Personality (are they short-tempered? Do they easily have mood-swings?) and Environment.

Quality Time-is a very nice language, particularly when spent with the right person. I remember meeting a girl for the first time at outreach. I believe the total time we spent in the first two days was 30 minutes. On the third day I decided to do something crazy. I asked her to take a walk with me and have a very deep and intense conversation. Now I just wanted to see how she was going to respond, and it turns out, that she was very cooperative. Looking back at it, it was the first time I ever did such a thing and it feels great! The one aspect that made it worthwhile was being at the right place, with the right person, saying the right things, all at the right time. That is the key.

Speak Wisely
I think the smartest thing to do is to see how well you can mix up the languages. If you give Words to someone who gives you Time, that makes for a meaningful conversation. Think about giving Gifts to someone who gives you Service, as far as actions speaking louder than words is concerned, it does not get better than that! Time and Touch can happen more regularly than any of the other combinations, even more so with close relationships. Words and Gifts work very well too as long as there is good understanding when they are communicated, as does Time and Service.

The Right Language At The Right Time
The more difficult combinations are Touch and Gifts. If you receive touch and your best friend receives gifts, it can be hard to naturally weave those two together unless you plan it well. This leads me to the next part:

Secondary Langage
The primary language must always be the main focus no matter what because it is easy to make the mistake of thinking that the primary has changed to the secondary one. The other mistake is forgetting, neglecting or intentionally diverting from the primary one which is the obvious consequence from the first point I made.
Even if you know the first two languages, it is still important to make the most of the first one, but if it does prove to be difficult, then yes move on to the second one. If you do not know what it is then just assume that it is Words then Time. If any of those are first then use the other as the second. If you discover that it is neither then Touch is the next best bet. The reason I chose those is because they are the three “easiest” languages to communicate in terms of effort. It is much harder to give Service and Gifts since they require the most amount of effort to execute, at least compared to the others.

Conclusion
When it is all said and done understanding how a person feels loved is really important for all aspects of life, but mostly, work and family. Do your best to come up with clever strategies for fulfilling the other person’s love language and see if you can include creating an environment where yours can be fulfilled at the same time. That is all it comes down to. Think about your best or closest friend. How is it that you two operate so well together, aside from experiences growing up if you are childhood friends? What about the coworker you are closest to? Why is that the case?

I firmly believe that understanding each other’s love language can be a key component in conflict resolution.