BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for September, 1996

Wednesday, September 25, 1996

HARSHNESS or GENTLENESS

Good Morning!

Recently I had lunch with a businessman at a downtown cafe. At the next table sat a family with three pre-schoolers.

Carrying on a conversation was next to impossible as the children screamed, whined, and spilled their food.One of the boys I noticed, struggled to keep from vomiting up his food. The mother, obviously irritated over the situation, took her middle finger and thumped him on the cheek, followed by verbal abuse and harsh looks. The boy’s lip quivered as he choked back the tears.

Amidst  this cacophony of confusion, the businessman told  of his sense of exhaustion. As his church’s senior elder, he receives scant recognition or appreciation from his spiritual leaders, coupled with a regular flow of letters of criticism from the congregation. 

It was apparent that this man’s borderline burnout came not from overwork, but from the lack of affirmation.

As the family  finished their meal, the parents  sauntered  on ahead toward the exit, seemingly impervious to the children, who tagged behind with out-stretched arms, tearfully seeking their parents’  affirmation and embrace.

As I headed for my car I could not help but muse, “A lot of similarities here between this deeply hurt businessman, and these anguished  little children.”

Surely we must ask ourselves the question, “How are we treating the weaker among us…those who  fail to meet our expectations or standards of excellence?  With censoring HARSHNESS, or with compassionate GENTLENESS?

Perhaps we should keep in mind Paul’s instructions,

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Rom. 15:1,2)

We know how Jesus treated  little children and how He responded to the less than perfect disciples: With GENTLENESS and COMPASSION

And it should  be our way as well.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 18, 1996

WHAT KIND OF A HERITAGE ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR CHILDREN?

Good Morning!

Recently I received an e-mail letter from Jeanna, my 24 year old daughter-in-law, who had just watched a video of a hard-hitting talk I had given entitled, Men Without Chests”. Responding to the video, Jeanna sent me the following communiqué:

“Dear Dad, (I love it when my kids-in-law call me “Dad”!)

“I just finished watching your “Men Without Chests” video with Wes tonight and had to write you a note. I was overwhelmed by several thoughts and emotions as I watched and listened to you. 

“First, I guess, was THANK YOU!  Thank you for bringing your sorely needed message to men in today’s culture…As I watched, I felt inspired to be the kind of woman that merited a man such as the one you exhorted the men to become. 

“Then I began to realize that you are the father (i.e., primary example, teacher, model, source of advice) of the man I am married to!  It brought me to tears to know that when the going gets rough for us that this is the kind of leadership Wes will be looking for to pull through.

“I also realized that the qualities I treasure most in Wes are so deeply related to how he was raised to treat his wife and for that I owe you so much.

“Then, lastly, I began to think about our children–about boys who will be taught about sexual purity and eternal values and about girls who would grow up knowing what it is to be treasured, cherished and loved in the true sense by a man.

“You have begun a legacy which I pray will be passed down through the generations.  I feel so privileged to be part of Wes, of you and your family. 

“I love you. Talk to you soon,

“Jeanna”

QUESTION: What is the heritage you are leaving for your children and their offspring?  The patterns you are setting in your family today will determine the answer to that question. Will it be a heritage that brings glory to God, and joy to your heart in your senior years? 

 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 Jn. 4)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 11, 1996

ON CREATING ONE’S OWN IDEOLOGY…RE-WRITING ONE’S OWN VALUES:

Good Morning!

Decades ago, C. S. Lewis penned this somber warning,

THE DISEASE  THAT WILL CERTAINLY END OUR SPECIES…IF IT IS NOT CRUSHED, (IS) THE FATAL SUPERSTITION THAT MEN CAN CREATE VALUES; THAT A COMMUNITY CAN CHOOSE ITS ‘IDEOLOGY’ AS MEN CHOOSE THEIR CLOTHES.”+

We as a Nation have done exactly what C. S. Lewis warned against. Reminiscent, is it not of Israel’s condition in her depravation:

“In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judg. 17:6)

And as a result, America today is facing a crisis of values of monumental proportions. Some observers are terming it a “Civil War” of values.

Tragically, this deterioration of values  has profoundly impacted your lost associates: Most of them  sense that there is something terribly wrong in the Land. But because they are generally lacking in a Biblical perspective, they have scant idea how we as a People  got to this point, much less how they can personally escape from it.

LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION:  “As a believer in Christ, are you also writing and  embracing  your own brand of “Christian” values…your own ideology,  that conveniently  accommodates  your quest for personal freedom?”

If the answer is “yes”, then your lost friends are being deprived of observing in you two important realities that a life of obedience to Christ would have revealed:

(1)  The magnitude of their lostness, and

(2)  The fact that  there is a way out of their life of bondage.

In this age of disintegrating values, may I urge you to respond to Paul’s passionate challenge:

“…That you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe  as you hold out the word of life…”  (Phil. 2:15b-16a)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 4, 1996

Jesus said, “YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH”+

Good Morning!

SALT” is a noun describing a chemical substance that acts upon its environment to change it.

INERT”, by contrast, is an adjective describing any sluggish substance devoid of active properties.  In other words, an “inert” object just sits there.

If we are in fact “THE SALT OF THE EARTH , how are we to be characterized:

#1.  Salt is small. Unimpressive. Unnoticed.

During a dining experience, food is the focus of the meal, rather than the salt. While salt enhances the food’s flavor, it goes quite unnoticed.  Similarly, the true disciple of Christ usually receives little recognition in a world whose values lie in the opposite direction.

#2  Salt can have a powerful influence on changing its environment.

Salt, when rightly applied to food can transform it from unappealing blandness into a delectable gourmet experience. Thus, Christians, by virtue of their presence, can and should permanently change their world.

#3.  Salt is associated with purity

A product of the sun and sea, salt’s glistening whiteness suggests the quality of purity. Thus believers, if they are to be the “salt of the earth”, must exemplify a standard of absolute purity in  thought, conduct and speech.

#4.  Salt is a preservative.

In the days before refrigeration, salt was used as a preservative on meat to delay decay.  So today, the process of putrefaction in society can at least be slowed  by the presence of Christ’s followers.

#5.  Salt has the potential of loosing its flavor or usefulness.

When diluted, Christians, like salt, are of little consequence, except ”…to be thrown out and trampled by men.”++

QUESTION:  “How do your lost acquaintances view you:  As the ‘SALT’ of the earth,  or as an ‘INERT’ object?”

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!