Breaking the Cycle of Blame and Vengeance

Thinking-Man

If you listen to news or read Facebook posts regularly, you hear someone, somewhere complaining about something or blaming someone else for their problems or the woes of our nation. I certainly want to hear people out but honestly if you let it, it’s enough to drive you to raging anger or simply throw up your hands and “tune it all out.” Or even worse, you start thinking like they do and become the very “bad press” that you dislike in others.

The reality is that most of us at some point and time have been wrongfully judged, accused, bullied or mistreated. Wrongful attitudes and actions are no respecter of persons. Even the most perfect being that walked the face of the earth was mistreated and victimized by others… “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

What a beautiful example of the fact that just because we are wronged by others, we don’t have to be like many around us who slip into the “blaming, victim” cycle that seems to dominate the  thinking and behavior of many around us. We can choose to respond and think differently.

I recall one occasion while I was in my teens that a group of church members were falsely accusing my dad who was a pastor of wrong doing.  Upon hearing this I became extremely angry and began verbally listing things that I knew they had done wrong and how I was going to let everyone know about it. My dad looked at me and said: “Son, don’t let the vengeful spirit of others lead you to become a person you are not.  We will not become one of them. We are cycle breakers. We are better than that.”  Almost immediately the “fire” driving my anger quickly subsided. My vengeful plans went away. Dad was right. And I have honestly tried to live my life the way Jesus lived his, and the way my dad taught me. Sometimes I failed, failed miserably. But, Jesus’s example and my dad’s words continue to influence me to choose to be different, to be a cycle breaker.

Are you tempted to carry on the unhealthy attitudes, behaviors, cycles of others? Stop, think and decide to be a cycle breaker in all areas of your life. Teach your kids to do the same.

“My mom and dad divorced when I was ten. My friends are all divorced”….Be a cycle breaker.

“My wife hurt me deeply. I have every right to hurt her back.” … Be a cycle breaker.

“My dad spoke down to my mom, treated her like a child.”… Be a cycle breaker.

“A guy at work is constantly trying to get me fired by saying things about me that simply are not true”…Be a cycle breaker.

“My closest friend betrayed me and hurt me deeply.”…Be a cycle breaker.

 

Mitch Temple is the Executive Director of the Fatherhood CoMission. For more on Mitch and his ministry, please visit www.mitchtempleonline.com.

A Divorced Dad: Is He a Parent or a Paycheck?

black-father-and-son

I recently Googled the question, “What is a father’s worth?” It was interesting the various websites and feedback that came to that inquiry.

That said, I want to highlight and honor the value of a divorced father. Even if he is not in the home 24/7, he has value that goes far beyond the paycheck or the child support he provides. A dad defines so many things for children; he is a role model and a mentor, a foundation and a fan. His words go beyond the surface and penetrate a child’s heart, leaving a lifelong definition engraved upon the soul. When dad is tuned in and paying attention he gives a child value and courage to believe he/she can be anything they ever dreamed. When dad is not paying attention it can leave an empty hole in the soul that nothing ever truly replaces. His words are powerful and important to his children. His smile cannot be replaced by anyone else in the world. His hugs create safety and stability, his laughter brings life to his children and the enjoyable memories are far more valuable to the health of his children than anything that can be bought with mere money.

For the divorced moms that read this article I want to ask you to consider allowing your child’s father to have more time and more connection with your children. Even if you are still angry at their dad, they desperately need to know he loves them and they need to be FREE to love him back! Sometimes a man may be disappointing as a spouse but he still shows up as a father. If you are one of the divorced moms out there with an active ex who wants to be involved in their child’s life, please let him. Please don’t hinder his time or make it hard on him to invest in your children. One of the most priceless gifts you can give your kids is the freedom to love you BOTH, the freedom to celebrate you both and to know that it is OK with you that they love their father.

To the divorced dad I want to say, “Don’t give up! You matter! Your children need you in their lives and they need to hear your words of affirmation, to see your smile in the stands as you cheer them on, and they need to know you will always be there for them no matter what mistakes they make along the way.” Your marriage may have ended, but the role you have in the lives of your children is irreplaceable and critical to your kids! Your phone calls may go unanswered sometimes, but call anyway! The text messages may not get a reply, but text them anyway. Keep pursuing the heart of your child because they need you in a way they cannot express or validate to you but I know, as an adult child of divorce myself, it always matters when dad shows up!!! That never stops mattering to a child, no matter what age they are.

Here’s to every dad, and especially to the divorced dad. Stay in the game and play all the way til the end. Your children will ask themselves, “Does my dad see me? Am I important to my dad?” May your children always resound with “Yes, I matter! My Dad would go to the end of the earth for me. I know my Dad loves me and he will always show up for me!” My hat goes off to the divorced dad, not just on Father’s Day, but every day – dads matter 365 days a year!

 

TAMMY DAUGHTRY | Masters, Marriage and Family Therapy

Tammy is the founder of Co-Parenting International, an organization launched in 2003 to help divorced parents raise healthy kids. She is a national author of Co-parenting Works! Helping Your Children Thrive After Divorce (HarperCollins 2011). For counseling, free downloads, local seminars and resources see www.CoparentingInternational.com.

GIFU

Optimized-Victory-is-possible

An acronym is an abbreviation often formed from the first letters in a phrase. Some of the more popular ones are ASAP, FYI, LOL, and BTW. As Soon As Possible, For Your Information, Laugh Out Loud, and By The Way. Acronyms are more popular than ever, due to the increase in texting and messaging. I am proposing we create a new one today. GIFU. I have found this expression in scripture and believe it to be one of the predominant themes in the bible, and one of the most contested.

 

Elisha understood GIFU

“When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15-17)

 

Jesus never doubted that GIFU

“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53)

 

David the worshiping, warrior, king knew GIFU

“He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalms 91:11) “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalms 139:17)

 

Paul was absolutely convinced GIFU

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Have you figured out what phrase is represented by this abbreviation? The words are found in this passage. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34)

 

John knew GIFU

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) GIFU, GOD IS FOR US. God is on our team. He loves us to pieces. He has our back, and our front. Nothing can separate us from His love. Amen.

 

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)

 

Have a wonderful day marinating in the eternal truth that God is for us and God is for YOU!  -Steve

Steve Demme is a husband and father. He is the founder of Building Faith Families.

http://www.buildingfaithfamilies.org

25 Things To ALWAYS, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE Say To Your Daughter

Hispanic father (20s) holding daughter (2 years) outdoors.  Shallow DOF, focus on father.

Last week may have felt a bit brutal with me giving you 25 things to never, ever, under any circumstances say to your daughter.

I couldn’t leave you hanging without a guide to lead you back to center court. So, in a similar fashion that uses as few words as possible, is straight forward and to the point, here are 25 things to always, under all circumstances, and as much as possible say to your daughter if you want to be a dailed-in dad.

Here’s a list of what TO say to your daughter:

  • What did I ever do to deserve such an incredible daughter like you?!
  • Do you know how grateful I am to be your dad?!
  • You look so beautiful today
  • You get prettier with each passing year
  • You’re right, I don’t understand you right now but I want to understand.Can you help me understand?
  • I’ll be here for you no matter what. Any time, day or night, I will do my best to be available. You can text or call me when I’m at work or out of town and I’ll figure out a way to respond as soon as I can
  • I want you to know that I enjoy you
  • You are going to make a great wife and mother some day (if you choose that)
  • I’ve seen so much growth in you (list specifics)
  • Tell me what you’re learning in school (or work)…I’d love to hear
  • What was good about your day today?
  • What was hard about your day today?
  • God broke the mold when He made you! You are one of a kind!
  • You are completely unique and gifted (list specifics)
  • I love you just the way you are
  • You could never disappointment me no matter what you do or don’t do because I love you unconditionally
  • What a treasure you are. Any guy who gets to date you (or eventually marry you) is a very lucky man
  • In my eyes, you are the best of the best
  • I am so proud of you
  • I like who you are
  • I love you
  • You are amazing!
  • I look forward to our dates where we get to spend time together, you and me
  • I’m sorry…will you forgive me?
  • I want you to know that no matter what, I will always be your main man.

In order to really dial in to your daughter’s heart space it’s going to require hard work and intention. And we all know that nothing worthwhile and valuable is ever easy. Hard work is required in business and this is all about bringing your best work ethic home.

Remember that your view of her, the one that is commuincated from your mouth to her ears, will be paramount to the view she carries about herself througout her life.

I encourage you today to carry this list in your pocket or on your phone and then choose to say one of these things daily to your daughter over the course of the next month.

Watch what happens in her as a result. Write and tell me about what takes place in her…and in you.

 

(You can reach me at michelle@theabbaproject.com)