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

Run with a purpose

For a while now I have known about my first half marathon run in January but I did not train for it like I should have. After getting back from my vacation in late October, it was difficult for me to get back into a routine.

I should have taken my training more seriously months ago—even training during my vacation, but I kept thinking that January was so far away and that I had a lot of time to prepare for it. Now we are nearing the end of November, which means that I only have a month and a half to train.

I thought about the Scripture verses that referenced running and training:

1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “All athletes are disciplined in their training… So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”

Hebrews 12:1, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Many times I do not take my spiritual training very seriously. I am lax in my Bible reading and prayer because I get busy with other things.

I am pressured to push myself and run now even when I don’t feel like running because I know when my race will take place, but I think I am not as serious in my spiritual training because there is no set day when Jesus will return:

“…be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him… Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:44, 42).

I think I have to change my mindset—I’m not just training for Christ’s return, I am currently in the race—I am being timed and I need to  finish strong.

Every waking moment is time on the spiritual track and I can’t stop or quit—I have to keep running. I now have a different understanding of Isaiah 40:28-31,

“The Lord is the everlasting God… He will not grow tired or weary… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… they will run and not grow weary.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Spiritual Muscle

Yesterday, my husband and I ran a 5K. I did not do a lot of running ahead of time to prepare for it. The last few times that I ran, I really struggled so it is no surprise that I struggled on the day of the run.

My legs felt like they were made of lead— it were so difficult to lift them. I was out of breath—my lungs felt like they were burning. My arms were uncomfortably tight and sore.

I think I struggled because my body is still out of shape. I have no abdominal muscles and I still have extra weight that I am “lugging around.” I know that if I continue to work out, though, my weak muscles will get stronger.

I thought about 1 Corinthians 12:12, 22-26,

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ… some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.

And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care… So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity.

This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad…” (NLT)

I used to wonder why going to church was so important, now I realize that those who are new in their faith (or “weak”) will grow stronger because they will be around Christians that have been “working out” their faith.  The stronger Christians will help the “weaker” Christians become strong—“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Prov 17:17, NIV).

I am hopeful that my ab muscles will become stronger as I continue to work out. My ab muscles can’t get strong on its own, it needs my other muscles to help strengthen it. In the same way, we need other Christians to strengthen us.

I hope you had an opportunity to be strengthened this Sunday; if not, then please find a place to work out your spiritual muscle starting next Sunday.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti