Posted in Achievement, Free Will, God, Success, Taking Responsibility

What if there were no mistakes?

When I review my life, I see many colors. Colors which represent the good and the bad. All the good things about my life are the very bright colors – things like the success stories I have, fears I have conquered or the birth of my three children. And then there are the dark colors – things that I regret doing, saying, and falling for. The dark colors represent the times when I was a sucker. They are blemishes that prove I’m not perfect.

I had a thought while I did this review: What if everything that has happened to me was not an accident or a mistake? What if the things that happened to me were my destiny and that a higher power had purposed and set some things in motion to bring me to a certain point? What if the words “accident” and “mistake” were all part of a big conspiracy to make us believe that we had a level of control we don’t really have?

I heard an atheist say once that God, the creator of the universe, was no more than an imaginary friend who we created because we were scared of death and the unknown. He said that everything that has happened was going to happen anyway and because of fear, we invented religion. Religion then gives us something to do when we’re scared.

I believe that there is some truth to what my atheist friend has said.

The truth is that I believe, we have been allowed to believe, that there are accidents and mistakes so as to point blame when something happens. This is not to be confused with things that we cause to happen that were not accidents. For example, another friend of mine lost his job. He started off telling me that his racist boss finally got rid of him. I asked what happened and he said that they made him take a random drug test and the marijuana he smoked last weekend was still in his system. Trying to keep from laughing I said, “So how does this make your boss racist?”

You can probably figure out the rest of the conversation. My friend lost his job because he was careless with it. Smoking illegal substances is a quick way to get fired from most jobs – especially in our economy. Not that it is impossible for his boss to be a racist – it’s still a challenge we face in the 21st century. But even with this scenario, there was a deeper reason – other than stupidity – for him losing his job. When we lose things, there is a lesson in that. For my friend, the lesson was responsibility. More than anything else, he needs to be more responsible. He needs to take responsibility for his actions and stop blaming others. Blaming others is a diversion from learning the personal lessons.

What I want you to see is the beauty of trials and tribulations. I want you to understand the other side of a mistake. The point is that if we take away the concept of a mistake, then we would be clear to see the true destiny in the trial and we could “count it all joy.”

Remember the old record players that required a needle to play the vinyl records? If you are old enough to remember them, you will also remember that sometimes the needle would skip. A CD player will sometimes skip too. And in both cases we would know that either the player or the record or CD needs cleaning. Could I say that the CD or record player made a mistake? Think about it before you answer. Was there a mistake made or is the “skip” just a by-product of usage?

We don’t call it a mistake because we accept that things won’t work properly sometimes and we move on. Why can we not do this with our own mistakes?

I remember years ago when I left one research company to work for another one. The one I was going to was paying me 15K more to leave. I felt unappreciated at the current place, so I left. I worked for this new company for 19 months. I signed off on the construction of the building, I purchased all of the furniture and hired all 44 employees and set this research company up to run like a well-oiled machine. Once that was done, they let me go and hired another person with very little management experience. I have to say, looking back on the experience, that when they let me go it was one of the best things that happened to me. At the time, I thought I made a mistake leaving the other company. I shudder to think that I could still be at that other company, complacent, underpaid and miserable.

It would have been great if I could have taken the word “mistake” out of my vocabulary and automatically thought about the scripture in Romans 8:28.

Posted in Accountability, God, Jesus Christ, Taking Responsibility, Truth

The Man in the Mirror

Have you ever looked in the mirror and forget what you looked like? Seems strange, doesn’t it?

I mean we see ourselves all the time and you would think there would be something wrong with a person who can’t remember what they look like, especially after just looking in the mirror.

Well, the Bible tells of this condition where a person beholds himself in a mirror and immediately forgets what manner of man he is (James 1:23, 24). The Bible is comparing this mirror-looker to a person who hears God’s word and forgets about it.

It’s interesting how God would make the spoken word so powerful. Someone who you give your trust to could give you a compliment and literally change a bad day into a good one. Unfortunately, the fence swings both ways so that a negative comment would have the converse effect.

God never wanted us to be forgetful hearers.

The truth is that we are. His Word was designed to spiritually turn us into the image of His son – if we would remember the things we heard from His Word.

The Bible is full of folks who were forgetful hearers. Remember Cain and Abel? It was by faith that Abel offered a better sacrifice. It was because Cain was a forgetful hearer that God wouldn’t accept his offering. Two sons who grew up in the same household, with the same parents only to respond differently to what they heard is shocking, but not uncommon.

Remember Jacob and Esau? That birthright really didn’t mean much to Esau who clearly lived his life in the moment. Jacob, on the other hand, paid close attention to such things and well, you know what happened: Jacob got the blessing and the birthright.

Abraham and Lot also come to mind. I’m particularly thinking about when Abraham wanted to keep peace between Lot’s men and his own so he sought out territory for them to split in order to keep peace. He let Lot pick which area he would live and he chose Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s like choosing Las Vegas, NV over St. George, Utah. Nevertheless, Lot’s choice tore up his home and eventually ruined his life. Why did Lot choose Sodom? Was he just trying to make a fast buck or did he just forget what he heard?

How many other people do you know who must have forgotten what they heard? You think Tiger Woods forgot? How about Lawrence Taylor? Or what about Jesse James (Sandra Bullock’s Ex), Chris Brown, George Bush, Allen Iverson or Congressmen Joe Wilson, do you think they forgot?

Let’s get even more personal. What about me and you? It’s seems as though we are running out of excuses. We need to be the change we want to see, as Gandhi said. That will not happen until we began to take a long look at the man or woman in the mirror or as the Bible says spend a long time studying God’s Word. Until then, we just have no right to point fingers and complain. We need to get busy.

Posted in Taking Responsibility, The Family

Who’s really to blame?

It seems as though our laws and legal system are missing the grade as each relates to being a deterrent to crime. We make laws and those laws are broken. We set up a court system and it gets overcrowded and has more repeat offenders than a Cedar Point ride.

Is there a way that we could set up a system that would really work: Be a deterrent to crime and not overcrowd our court system and jails?

I’ve taken a therapeutic approach to this solution.

What if everyone had to have a family tree? And with the family tree — that would always go back two generations – all the members of the family would be responsible and accountable for their own family.

This would mean that if my son went to jail, not only would my dad and I get fined because of it, but our family would have to pay to have him housed in jail or prison until he gets out. So if he was there for 30 days, it would be our collective family’s responsibility to make sure he gets three hots and a cot or reimburse the jail or prison system for providing it. If he was in prison for 10 years, then we would have to provide the same.

I wonder if this was the law, would people do better at raising their children? It seems like my system would work in a number of areas. What if my son had children out of wedlock and didn’t (or couldn’t) take care of them? Then my dad and I would have to fit the bill for that. What if my kid was cited for bullying kids at school more than three times? What if the fines doubled with each offense with the starting offense being $100? That would mean with the third citation we would owe $400 (in addition to the $300 we paid for the previous two). Is that enough to make parents raise their children properly?

I believe that because of the great depression, subsequent parents afterward were frightened into making sure that food, clothing and shelter were priorities. This meant that our physical needs in most cases would be taken care of. Television shows from the 50s and 60s bear witness to the classic family model of a stay at home mother and a father that was the “bread winner”. The parents’ roles were designed to meet the physical needs, but what about emotional, mental, spiritual needs?

Today, simply providing for the physical needs of your children is the same thing we do for pets. Something has to thrust us into the lives of our children. Kids today are missing the unconditional love that comes from BOTH parents.

A boy needs to know what it’s like for a man to love him and be intimate with him without shame. A daughter needs to know and feel the security that comes from having the first man she ever loved tell her that she is beautiful, intelligent and can do anything she puts her mind to. Both children need to see their dad love their mom and sacrifice for the whole family. On that same line, the children need to know and feel a mother’s nurturing and love, unconditionally. A boy needs to have respect for his mother and sisters and see other females the same way he sees them. This is the governor of his hormones for there would definitely be something wrong if a boy tried to put a move on his mother or sister.

The whole point of this is that we need to get back to the things that are most important – the family. And it just seems that in America the only way to get people to understand the magnitude of this problem is to hold them financially responsible for the actions of their offspring.