Posts Tagged ‘human trafficking’

Mark 7:14–23 – “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.’ After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. ‘Are you so dull?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.’”

Jesus’ explanation reveals how boundaries help us define who we are and are not. Through them we can take ownership of all of who we are, both good and bad. It is only by taking full ownership of what is on our property and within our own boundaries that we can grow.

Mark¬ 7:14-¬23 is a great description of some of the “not so good” stuff that hangs out in our hearts. All property needs to be cleaned up every once in a while, and our hearts are no different. Jesus tells us that our hearts are in need of this kind of responsible “cleaning up.”

Every kind of growth system that works, from counseling to spiritual direction to recovery, involves looking past our outer behavior to the root causes that lie within our hearts. Sometimes, pain and hurt are to blame and sometimes, as this passage indicates, sinful attitudes and desires are the root causes. Whatever the case, God has forgiven us and that forgiveness gives us the freedom to take a real, hard look at what lies within our hearts. The reward for doing this is that we get healthy and life gets better.

That’s why we like to say that boundaries make life better!

This devotional is drawn from Boundaries, by John Townsend and Henry Cloud.

Enough with Intimacy Already! I am really getting weary of practicing intimacy. I suck at it. However, I keep getting more opportunities to practice.



Proverbs 16:24 – ““Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.””

“People who want to improve a relationship often talk about talking. That is, they bring up what happened, what went wrong in their experience, and come up with solutions. Here are some examples:

  • Remember when I said I needed space and listening, not solutions and homework assignments? It happened again; let’s fix this.
  • I don’t want to sound childish, but I’ve been trying to be more open about the job problem, and it still feels as if you want just good news from me about work. I really need you to hang in there with me.
  • It feels as if you’re impatient with me when I go to a deeper level now, as if I ought to have my act together. That’s hard for me; are you really feeling that way?
  • When I brought up the problems I have with my dad, you lost eye contact and started talking about something else. This is really important for me; are you okay with all this? Is there a way I can do this differently, or do you not want me to talk about this with you?

If you want a better relationship, be a team player with the other person. In responding, you must have no hint of judgment or a critical spirit. You are forging a way to connect, and never forget that the “we” comes first. You want to recruit the person to vulnerable language, to help solve the glitch and move on.

Acknowledge that maybe you aren’t being clear or that this is new for both of you. Vulnerability works both ways. If the other person feels a lot of performance pressure to “get it right,” she won’t be able to speak from her heart. And you are after a heart-to-heart attachment; that’s the whole idea.

I have coached many husbands on how to be empathic. Lots of them don’t naturally know the right things to say, so I give them some examples that I hope trigger and resonate with what they really feel toward their wives. Statements like these are good examples:

  • That must have been hard.
  • Tell me more.
  • How did that make you feel?
  • That’s tough; anything I can do to help?

These are simple things to say that convey understanding and support. Guys being guys, they often say, “Great idea,” and write them down so they can remember them. The problem comes when they run through the list and recite them!

Most wives catch on in about three seconds, and then there is a talk about the talk about the talk. So let the person know, “You don’t have to do this right; I certainly don’t myself. I just need to know you feel something positive toward me when I am feeling negative.” And that covers many errors.

This devotional is drawn from Beyond Boundaries, by Dr. John Townsend.

Intimacy means more than I imagine. All of the definitions are difficult to achieve!

I love meetings. I hear stuff that I just don’t believe at first. Ok, I know this is a goofy path for a journal entry but hang with me. I believe and the Bible is clear that God reveals Himself to us in many ways including reading His word, prayer, being still and shutting up and listening, worship, and even yes even other people. That includes recovery meetings. See, God LOVES revealing himself to me in recovery meetings. Only, I am too thick to see Him coming most of the time.

So I am going to shamelessly steal this incredible share that a friend of mine used recently in the Thursday night group. Yes, you know who you are. He announced very proudly that tonight his topic would be on shame. I seriously felt the air leave the room. If it was a larger group, you would have audibly heard the collective “ughhhhhh.” Sorry my friend, maybe it was just me but I think we all felt it.

I seriously considered just mentally checking out. I steadied myself for another reminder that shame meant I thought “I am bad” and guilt meant I healthily thought “I did bad things.” So moral of the story, feel guilt not shame. Blah blah blah, right? Only my friend is way smarter than me so of course that isn’t what he said at all.

His opening statement was that shame is an emotion from God but can be completely self centered and hinder recovery. What did he just say? Ok, I am awake now. He said that allowing ourselves to wallow (his words, not mine!) in our shame was another form of justification for our actions. Ok, so that is a bit harsh, don’t you think? I mean, come on. I thought we are supposed to feel sorry for guys stuck in shame because they are wrongly focused on thinking they are a bad person, not in the right area of guilt where they remember God’s salvation and redemption and that they have done bad things. Only…that isn’t what he was saying. He was saying that staying in shame is a cop-out, basically.

Ok, I am really paying attention now. Keep going. So my friend said there are three ways of recognizing that we are stuck in shame in our own lives. Three warning signs that we are in shame and that staying there is selfish.

  1. We are acting out of fear because we are afraid to expose our true self and need to hide. Yikes, that hurt. Definitely a cop out I take
  2. We are blaming and refusing to admit the truth. Basically, I let myself off the hook by setting such a low standard. Obviously, I suck so therefore I can’t expect to be much better. Yep, definitely a technique I have used.
  3. We disconnect and don’t feel or experience our emotions. This robs us from feeling compassion for those we have hurt. Yeah, emotional avoidance. I rock at that.

So shame is selfish. Yeah, I guess it is. So what do I do about it? Community. Community is the key. Being able to walk into my groups, share my garbage, and still be loved. Wow, what an antidote for shame. I love the quote he closed the share with and dropped the mic, so I will steal it (again, sorry my friend!): “As long as I am conditionally known, I will be conditionally loved.”