Building People. Spreading Hope.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Living Free of Offenses

Have you ever  been offended?  No matter how perfect we live, we all are faced with offenses.  Maybe someone ignores  you in the church.  Maybe someone cheats you out of a promotion. Maybe your spouse doesn’t understand how hard you work to pay the bills or you feel overwhelmed not getting any help on the home front.  No matter what, offenses will come. How we deal with offenses will determine the quality of our lives.
Offense comes from a Greek word meaning, --"bait."  It was used in the context of luring animals into a trap.  I remember in the early years of my traveling ministry how I used to get offended at the smallest gesture of questioning by airport and immigration officers.  Traveling on an Indian passport wasn't easy back in those days.  I had to fight through incredible opposition to obtain a visa or an airline ticket to fly.  I felt discriminated against.  So, when an airline employee or an immigration officer questioned me, I would interpret that as a personal insult.  Now, I realize that it really wasn't their fault. It was my own insecurity working as a bait to lure me into an offense.  Since then I learned, anytime I see more negative in people than positive, I'm the one who needs to change!
If you struggle dealing with offenses as I used to, one of the best things you can do is to forgive quickly Understand that the real enemy is working behind the scene trying to lure you into the trap.  Have you ever read the directions on a stain remover? The directions will tell you to get to the stain as quickly as possible, preferably while it is still fresh.  Why?  Because the longer you let that stain sit the harder it gets to remove it. It's the same with the "stains" of our minds and hearts.  The longer we allow the offense to sit, the more we replay that offense in our mind the harder it becomes to forgive which eventually turns into a root of bitterness.
Recently I heard a story about Joe who was bitten by a dog.  He was rushed to the doctor and told that he tested positive for rabies.  Joe immediately began to write down a list.  The doctor said, "Oh no sir, you're not going to die.  We've got vaccine for it.  You don't have to write out your will."  Joe replied, "No sir, this is not my will, these are all the people I'm going to bite!" Don't try to pay people back.  Just let it go!
Practical Steps You Can Take:
1.  Check your own heart. When you hear an offensive remark, check  your own heart.  Could there be something with you? The Bible says if we judge ourselves, we will not be judged. (Matt. 7:1).
2. Learn to forgive quickly. Give people the benefit of the doubt.  Remember, God treats your trespasses in the same manner you treat others.  (Matt. 18:35).
3.  Stop pressing the Replay button. When we're offended we tend to play the offense in our mind over and over.  Resist the temptation to relive it, instead press the delete button.  Do the same with cell phone messages , emails or letters that have of- fended you.  Refuse to go back to them, and stop contemplating how you can get your revenge.  (Phil. 4:8).
4.  Be slow to respond. You’ll be amazed how your feelings will change if  you allow 23 hours to respond.  James 1:19.
5.  Show mercy. People have deep wounds, bad days and multiple problems.  If you had any idea what the person was going through behind the scenes, you'd never have taken offense in the first place.  When you show mercy, it lets them know there's a God who cares, even in their imperfection.  (Eph. 5:1-2).
Friend, anybody can lash out. Anybody can make a sarcastic remark. You can either lower yourself down to their level or lift the standard for them to come up higher.  Instead of calling a friend and ask their take on it, forgive, show mercy and pray for the offender, remembering, you too need forgiveness.

For more Life Lessons and to join Sandy transform lives, check out:
Stay inspired on Facebook:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Speaking Blessing Over Your Child

Recently, I watched a movie (Taare Zameen Par) about an eight-year-boy, Ishaan, who had dyslexia. His parents were not very understanding toward him and they punished him for not working hard at school.

One day, a new art teacher bursts onto the scene and infects the students with joy and optimism. He breaks all the rules of "how things are done" by asking the students to think, dream and imagine. All the children respond with enthusiasm, all except Ishaan.
With time, patience and care, the teacher discovers that not a word of affirmation, encouragement or faith has been spoken over this child by his parents. He meets with Ishaan's parents and tells them a story. He tells them of the natives in the Solomon Islands. When they need land for farming, they gather around a tree and curse it by speaking bad, demeaning words to it. Eventually, the tree dies and falls over.

True or not, it is a powerful allegory. Whether you're a parent, grand parent, teacher or in a position of authority, you can speak LIFE into the people God brings in your path.
Parents need wisdom to raise their children in a healthy, wholesome atmosphere in their home. I, as a parent (who has made many mistakes), want to share five practical tips to help you.

1. Speak blessing over your child. Fathers, this applies especially to you. Even God voiced His approval before His Son began His public service (Mark 1:11). Every time you speak blessing, approval and encouragement to your child, you instill self-esteem, confidence and courage into them. Overlook flaws and instead praise your child when he does something right. Remember, your child has your DNA; good or bad, it originates from you!

2. Train your child. King Solomon, in his wisdom, wrote, "Train up a child and they shall not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:8) The best thing you can do for your children is to deposit the Word of God in them. Put the Word of God (and His principles) in them when they do not need it, and it will come out of them when they do need it. Children cannot figure out what you expect of them. Instruct, drill and demonstrate until it becomes a part of them. Remember, whatever training your children receive from you in the first twelve years, is most likely how they will behave the rest of their lives.

3. Discipline your child. Children need boundaries. Whether you believe in corporal or capital punishment, make sure to enforce it. Charles Manson, a notorious criminal who murdered scores of people, was sentenced for crime at the age of thirteen. Left to himself at a young age, Manson had no boundaries. Remember, an occasional hand of blessing applied to the seat of your child will not kill him, but it will most certainly bring correction and direction for his life. Unlike pop culture, which lauds a spirit of entitlement, remind your children that when they do not obey, they are exercising their right to be disciplined!

4. Smile! You are on candid camera! In life, more is caught than taught. You can tell children about obedience, respect and discipline, but unless you display the same character in your everyday life, it will be of no effect. Whether you realize it or not, your children are like walking cameras, mentally recording everything they see you do. If you do not treat your spouse with love, honor what is noble, and show respect for authorities, you can expect the same from your children toward their siblings, classmates, teachers and society.

5. Talk to God. Mothers, the most powerful weapon in your arsenal is prayer. You can worry or you can pray. Prayer is more effective.

Here is a sample prayer I pray over my children: "Father, I bless (name your children). They have the mind of Christ. They can do anything that comes their way today. My children are good-looking, intelligent, and full of excellence and favor. People just want to be good to them. They will be leaders and not followers. Thank you, Father, that they have your creativity and positive attitude. They are a blessing to our family and to everybody they meet. They are blessed and no evil shall come near them."
Parents, show your children how much you love them. Talk to your child, touch and hug them often, and spend time with them. Remember, you can only expect from them what you put in them.

God bless you and your family!

Sandy Anderson is the President of Build International Ministries. He is a writer, speaker, and minister. He has traveled to over 40 countries around the world.

Sandy's life aspiration is to empower others to become all that God created them to be. His Life Lessons Radio broadcast reaches millions in Asia.

Sandy is based in Grand Prairie, Texas, U.S.A.

For more Life Lessons and to join Sandy transform lives, check out:
Stay inspired on Facebook: