Respond or Not?

As a Christian, we are reminded that our goal is to become more like Jesus with our words and actions but there are certain things that make it difficult to do that.

I believe that Satan knows our “buttons” so he creates a situation where we are more likely to react “in the flesh.” That situation, though, is also a “test” to see how we will react. I have failed the test many times, and afterwards I ask God to forgive me and to help me in not reacting in a negative way in the future.

I’ve come to realize that there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to react. On one hand, we are told: “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are” (Proverbs 26:4, NLT); but on the other hand, the advice is: “Answer a fool according to his foolishness or he’ll become wise in his own eyes” (Proverbs 26:5, CSB). So how are we supposed to respond?

If we pray to God for guidance, then He will give it to us. If it is to respond, then He will give us the right words to say and we will have peace within. If our desire is to “get back at them,” then don’t respond.

Copyright © 2018 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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Conflict

I have seen how others handled conflict– sometimes they walk away to “clear their heads,” intending to discuss it later but they never do; while others ignore that the conflict exists.

Conflict can be difficult to handle and sometimes it might be better to not do anything about it, but if the conflict never goes away or if it gets bigger then it must be addressed and resolved. This is so true in marriages.

I think there are more opportunities for conflict in a marriage because it is a closer relationship. We also tend to see our spouses when we are tired, like after working all day, etc.

Going to the Bible and praying first is a great way to start the process of resolving the conflict. We must ask for God’s discernment to know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.

Unresolved conflict can cause a barrier that gets wider over time. Conflict doesn’t have to be resolved “overnight,” but it should be resolved– it cannot linger. Then there must be reconciliation– where the two can move forward together.

Colossians 3:13-15 says, “…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love… Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace…” (NIV).

To truly resolve a conflict there must be forgiveness from both parties– to forgive and to forget. Forget it as if it never happened– that’s hard, but remember that all things are possible with God!

Copyright © 2018 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Sanctuary

“The Walking Dead” is a show on AMC that has become very popular over the past few seasons. I’m not sure what the appeal of it is for everyone, but I think for some, it makes them think about how they would survive if “life as we know it” suddenly changed and people had to constantly look for shelter and food to stay alive.

The show has its share of excitement and plot twists. Throughout the series viewers are left with a feeling of uneasiness. The main characters often meet “bad people” who want to rob or kill them, or they have to fight off “walkers” that try to attack them. In this season the home they had was destroyed, and in their haste to leave, the group was scattered and separated.

In the latest episode (season 4, episode 14) the splinter group of two adults, two children, and a baby find a house in the “middle of nowhere.” There’s food, water, and gas for cooking. The group was contemplating living there, but then something tragic happens (the ending took viewers by surprise). The splinter group decides to leave in order to find a sanctuary known as “Terminus.”

It would be terrible to live in a world where there is no justice and people have no real peace. The truth is, our circumstances are very similar in “real life.” We live in a world where tragic things happen all the time. Sometimes people do cruel and terrible things to others and there seems to be no justice. Some people live in fear and have no peace. People want to find “sanctuary.”

In the midst of all these horrible things, God is the refuge for all. In Him people can find peace, justice, strength, and life. God is like that house in the middle of “nowhere” but His shelter is permanent—a fortified fortress, an everlasting sanctuary.

If you want to “survive” and truly live, then turn to God. “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to Him and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10, NLT).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Words…

I came across a handout from Roberts University entitled, “Behind the Strengths Are Potential Weaknesses.”  

Each strength had a “potential weakness;” for instance, the strength, “Trusting,” had “Gullible” as the potential weakness. For “Persevering,” the weakness was “Stubborn.” “Smothering” was the potential weakness for “Caring.” The list had numerous words and pairings.

The list made me think about how some people can take our well-meaning words and turn them into something terrible. This happened to me a couple of years ago. Someone had taken my email out of context and accused me of demeaning her.

The incident made me realize that I had to read my words from the receiver’s perspective, but I also had to not take things out of context when I see people’s email or hear things that they might have said about me. I have to trust that what was written or said was not done out of spite.

This is how arguments are started—one person thinks the other said something hurtful, but instead of getting clarification, the person retaliates.

We are supposed to think of others as being “better than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3) so this means that we need to think the best about them—we can’t assume that they would intentionally hurt us, especially if they are a loved one or a close friend.

Before we started to communicate better, my husband and I would get in an argument because we took words and actions in the wrong way. For example, my husband would have a bad day and say something “snappy” and instead of me reacting in a positive way, I would snap back because I would take his words personally. This only escalated things.

Now when he has a bad day and says something “snappy,” I would ask him in a soft tone of voice, “What’s wrong? Is everything ok?” The Amplified Bible explains it this way, “Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone” (Colossians 4:6).

The point is, we need to believe that our loved one is “for us” instead of “against us”—we need to think of our loved ones in a positive way instead of a negative way. We have to believe that even when they “snap” at us, that they are not intending to hurt us, but that they are saying these things because they are hurt.

Romans 12:10, 17-18 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other… Never pay back evil with more evil… Do all that you can to live in peace” (NLT).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Just keeping it simple…

We’ve been camping a lot lately—partly because we have a camper now, but mostly because camping allows me to experience “simple living.” Everything we have with us meets our basic needs—nothing is elaborate.

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The last time we camped, we waited for the stars to come out. The sun slowly faded in the distance then the dark crept in.

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Even though we waited several hours, we did not see any stars but it was still a good experience.

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I need days like these—setting aside my hectic schedule to enjoy a little bit of nature—God’s creation.

“Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen!” (Psalm 72:19).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Heaven or hell?

Today would have been my father-in-law’s 72nd birthday. Although he is greatly missed by his wife and family, we have the comfort of knowing that he is with God.

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I realize that the idea of a Heaven or Hell may sound like a fairytale for some and even though I may try my best to convince them that these places exist, they will not believe.

It used to bother me, but then I realized that I can’t change a person’s heart. I can’t awaken their minds or make them see the truth— “For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand” (Matt 13:13).

The saddest situation is when people who have referred to themselves as “Christians” renounce God and turn away: “…Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God…  For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ” (Heb 3:12-14).

I know where my father-in-law is, and I know that one day I will see him again. Whether or not you believe that there is a Heaven or Hell is irrelevant— you will be in one place or the other. Find out how you can go to Heaven! (http://www.billygraham.org/assets/media/specialsections/touchonelife/Printer-FriendlyStepstoPeacewithGod.pdf)

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti