July 21, 2014

Singles Uncut: Candid talk on singleness and self control


By Tatianah Green

Recently I’ve had the privilege of attending a singles event at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church (Fellowship Chicago) in which they were discussing topics in dating that often don’t get addressed in a series called "Singles Uncut."

With the perspectives and experiences of four panel members, the audience had an opportunity to speak and hear Godly wisdom on topics such as singleness, dating, marriage, and sex. No topic was off limits, the only issue unfortunately was not having enough time. I’ll share a few of the notes taken from this event below and a word on self-control:

Why are the majority of people at singles events and conferences women? One of the panelists shared that according to men, there are not as many steps to get into a relationship as women perceive. I can see where they were coming from because women are the receivers and like to communicate. We have our lists in mind of whom we want in a mate along with perhaps some idealized timeline of how the dating, courting, and engagement process is supposed to go.

What was brought up at the event was that men are not asking about soul mates as they don’t have that added pressure from society. The dating to marriage process seems so simplified in the average man’s mind: guys pick a lady they like, ask her out, and if things go well then maybe they will get married. That may be a generalization, but it’s important to live the life that God tells you to live and in the midst of living you could very well meet someone special along the way. “We have to use common sense and do what our spirit lines up with.”

Sexuality and sex are often seen dirty or taboo to some. We are sexual creatures, we were hardwired that way by God. Sexuality is a part of our human nature. What was stated at the event was that there’s a difference between thinking about sex and being fixated on sex. Sex is not dirty, it’s only wrong when it’s out of the context of God has set it up for. “Not that it’s wrong, but what do I do about those thoughts? You can’t get mad when you are tempted by the very things you put up.” 

Panelist Pastor Alisha Jones also mentioned that while it’s okay to have a thought about sex, if you’re getting tripped up about it and lost in sexual thoughts then you should check your eye and ear gates. For instance, posting those Man Crush Monday or Woman Crush Wednesday photos on your social media can be a source of temptation if you participate in that. From movies to music and other forms that you entertain, question are they feeding your desire to have sex in your mind?

So about this masturbation thing…A brave single asked about masturbation and if it was okay even if they just needed "an energy release." Reverend Christopher Harris broke it down in a practical and relatable way for all when he shared this:

“It’s impossible to engage in a certain activity without impure thoughts. We must ask what does the Bible say? Is it really helpful? Is it enslaving or could develop a habit? What’s my real motive for doing this?” I think that last question is powerful because it takes your sobered mind to think about why you’d want to pleasure yourself, no matter the reasoning behind it. “It becomes an issue of self control. We have to be willing to make whatever sacrifices or adjustments to please God. Love God with your all; it’s hard to do that when your heart is determined to submit to unnatural desires.”

Marriage is promoted as the Promised Land when it’s really work. Singles are often feel that they are in the desert going to the promised land which is married life. Society makes it out to be like that but that’s not necessarily the case. We as singles have to get to a place where we are completely content with being single and embracing the numerous benefits of that. 

Marriage is not a destination; it’s a new chapter that prayerfully you will get to experience. But in this current chapter, what stories are you telling? What’s your life saying right now? Is it a comedy, romance, adventure, mystery, thriller? Let’s be grateful for the present state that we are in and ask God to prepare us for the work that will come with marriage such as killing your selfish desires daily for the sake of the marriage and serving God together as a couple.

If you want to know more about Fellowship Chicago and their young adult ministry, visit their Facebook page. If you are in the Chicago area the weekend of July 25th, they are hosting a relationship weekend for singles and couples!

About Self Control

Self-control is an important factor to consider within yourself and the person whom you want to be in a relationship with. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, but is it something we tend to look for in others? Galatians 5:22-25 give the fruits of the Spirit and instructs all “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”

Observing the characteristics of self control can be spotted in simple observation. When on dates, communicating, etc. with this person of interest, you may notice little things as to how they approach food (gluttony), if they drink anything other than water (sugary drinks is as addictive as alcohol), their approach to spending and saving money for just a few examples. Then there’s the biggie when it comes to physical touch and intimacy. Do they respect your boundaries or do they push your buttons to get you to give in or compromise?

Also consider your own behaviors. If you have any issue of self control that is unhealthy to you in your single state, consider how much it will affect your spouse who you will share your life with. It’s important to take care of that issue now instead of bringing it into your marriage relationship. This is only to help you hold yourself accountable to the everyday things in life. As believers we can break free from the things that try to control us. Your appetite for _________ does not control you! Take back the reigns and ask God to keep you and provide you the ways to escape that pit or cycle of destructive habits that can keep you from fulfilling your purpose and destiny. 

July 11, 2014

Situationship is not a word: more dating terms that don't make sense


By Tatianah Green


Kevin Hart is not pleased, and neither am I
In our last post I discussed three dating terms that I didn’t think made sense yet we tend to use them in modern day dating and relationships. The next set of terms I’d like to bring up can all relate to each other, especially if you watch trash TV and their constant promotion of broken love cycles. Before I veer off onto another tangent, let’s get into these terms.

Situationship

What in the world is a situationship? Again this word has a number of definitions but the overall theme is this: you’re more than friends but not enough to be in a committed relationship. 2014’s glorified way of “hooking up” or “friends with benefits.” This is what many people would say has been the new dating and form of relationships. Soon Facebook will catch on in which folks will claim “In a situationship” with someone on their profile. “A situationship is kinda like a relationship but more of a situation.” I’m sorry, what? #facepalm. All I'm saying is, if this term makes it into the dictionary, I'll be sitting on the roof waiting for Jesus cuz He's coming soon. 

In a recent Huffington Post article by Zondra Hughes, there are apparently insider laws and rules out here to help people succeed at being the other person. Hughes’ article was satire, but those rules seem to be what many in situationships would abide by. We can see this in numerous TV shows, news stories, books, etc. about people sneaking off to have an affair and they become bound to the rush of a secret “love” which is really based on lust and selfishness.

Author D. Danyelle speaks to this issue in her book Closed Legs Do Get Fed: “Who you are is greater than what you have to offer sexually. Women do not have to settle for casual sex when we really want monogamous relationships. We do not have to settle for a half-hearted emotional commitment when we want the whole heart.” I gotta agree because it’s time to not focus anymore on what we can get from people, but what we can give to others, you know like, real love?

Reflecting on my past experiences with the opposite sex, I want you to know that you’re worth more than your body. You have a mind, gifts, talents, intelligence and more that’s worth sharing and building up one another. Situationships cheapen your value at the end of the day. No pleasure, attention or warm body next to you at night is worth that. Knowingly hooking up with or laying down with someone who you’re not in a committed relationship with opens up a new position for you to play: the side piece.

Main and Side Lovers

No. No. H-E-Double Hockey sticks NO!
I’m so sick and tired of hearing about main chicks/dudes and side chicks/dudes. This balanced breakfast of nonsense has launched tons of memes and spreading that spirit of infidelity around like polygamy is the new black or something. Who settled and who’s to blame? 

I have to ask: why cheat instead of breakup? For some it’s not that easy because some couples do live together and/or have children. Some have had relationships that have dwindled down to situationships. It’s easy to say all of this foolishness from the outside, but emotional and sexual soul ties are strong forces that keep people blind and in bondage to that toxic situation.

Listen, you’re not obligated to stay with a cheater to prove that you’re the main person or the number one.  Guess what—you’re not number one, your so called partner is. They are their own main love. Only selfish people choose to cheat and seek multiple partners while in a monogamous relationship because they disregard their partner to search for something else in another. This is opposite of the qualities of what love is according to 1 Corinthians 13

Now the meme (above, excuse the language) that inspired this is this foolery right here. Somebody come look at this! “I rather be a side chick to a loyal [dude] than be a main chick to a cheater.” I don’t think you know how love is supposed to work, honey. But this is the mentality of some people these days. It's not cute and it's a horrible trend that continues to spread all over the Internet. It's influencing many impressionable and vulnerable people of all ages to believe that there are literally no options left out here than to be in a relationship with someone who has someone else. I refuse to believe that. Stop sharing your self with people who don’t want all of you and give you all of them. There shouldn't be no other people in your relationship. It’s as if relationships are doomed from the start to fall into this predicament because the parties don’t fully communicate their needs and standards while in the dating stage.

If you want an exclusive, monogamous relationship, lay that out on the table in the beginning if that’s what you desire. Don’t causally date someone and get emotionally involved under the illusion that you both are being exclusive. Not everyone is going to a) want that or b) know if that’s even what you want. Speak up and seek to be with those who take relationships seriously and don’t want to play games with your time and emotions.

Catching Feelings

What is feelings nowadays, a disease? In modern day dating it is treated as such. It's defined as "To fall in love with someone at an inappropriate time or mistake a repeated hookup for a serious relationship."

Now if you happen to be a side lover or in a situationship with someone who’s not exclusively dating you, then yes, catching feelings could pose a problem for you. Emotions get added to bitter cocktail of a love triangle. It’s not just a lovey dovey feeling, but also one that desires closeness and connection, greed, envy, sadness, anger and other feelings. You have to be careful who you attach yourself to, so take your time and guard your heart. 

I remember watching a romantic comedy in which one character explained some dating rules to his friend, saying that whoever says “I love you” first in the couple loses power in the dating game. It was in reference to dating relationships, but I believe the character getting schooled was in a situationship. Really? You lose power because you choose to be brave and express your feelings? First of all, body language can show how someone feels and thinks before they even speak it. Communication style also shows the level of interest, priority, apprehension, etc. that someone can feel. We humans are not that slick; some people pick up your signals without telling you they even know (mhmmm). Know when the time is right to express how you feel; don't wait until it's too late.

"Some of the things I've said may not apply to you. Some of the things I've said may have offended you. But no matter who you are, you must remember this one thing:" we're all human beings who deserve love and respect. Don't tread lightly around in these modern day dating terms to only slip into the very issues that you gripe about online. Ask God to deliver you from the things that attract these types of people and situations. You deserve so much more in life so don't settle anymore. Be yourself, be honest, keep God first, and you'll avoid these modern day dating dilemmas. 

July 2, 2014

Modern dating terms that make no sense


By Tatianah Green


The English language is an interesting thing to practice. Often we find ourselves using slang words and colloquialisms that reflect the times and culture we’re in. Then there are terms that just don’t make sense but we use them anyway, especially over social media and the Internet. 

Have you been guilty of using one or more of the following terms and not really knew what they meant? I had some help from Internet research to go into these dating terms that we use today or yester-year that have made their way back into 2014. 

Fall back

I’ve seen several definitions for this phrase and action. Let’s say you’re dating someone and for some reason you may not be getting the mutual interest, energy, or effort from the one you’re giving all of that to. On that note, you may fall back, or slow down on your efforts to protect yourself from looking foolish or played. 

You know why this doesn’t make sense? Because while you’re slowing down your effort, the other person doesn’t necessarily get this message clearly 100% of the time. We can’t read your minds and you can’t read someone else’s. Instead of doing all of that texting and calling less, giving one word answers, etc., why not opening your mouth and say what you need to say?

Men and women in dating and relationships tend to be afraid to be open and vulnerable. I've addressed the issues of maturity in males before and the issue of being vulnerable for both sexes. If we want a date to go well, or are interested in pursuing something serious with someone, saying and following through with your actions are your best bet. Be yourself and put the effort in. Don’t be a half-effort dater and not give it your best try; at least if it doesn't work out, you’ll know it wasn't you!

 In regards to relationships, either you’re with someone or you’re not. Falling back is just another form of settling, especially if you don’t address the issues in the relationship with that person you're falling back from. You're wasting time being emotionally miserable when you could say what's bothering you and attempt to get the problem solved.  Even in a marriage relationship you can’t expect your future spouse to just get you all of the time. Consider them, their mindset, and communicate with them in their language so that they understand your concerns and issues that you want to bring to their attention.

Then there’s those who are not in a relationship or dating the person at all, but telepathically are sending I like you vibes from across the room at a party or gathering. Just stop the nonsense. As the meme suggests, you’re falling back, but who told you to lean in? Snap out of the fantasy and take a chance to strike up a conversation with the person. If it goes well, then great! If it doesn’t, well you have a legitimate reason to fall back and try again with someone who’s worth your time and attention.

BAE

Bae has been around for a while, but gained popularity again over social media in the past couple of years. It had several uses and spellings, but did you know that BAE also is an acronym, standing for “Before anyone/anything else?” I didn’t know that ‘til about a week ago. Like the meme suggests, I thought bae was the chopped down version of babe, because, Black slang tends to do dat. The title of bae may be a term of endearment but we should think about the purpose of the word and who qualifies for that distinction first.

Since dating traditionally is hard to come by, the term bae is given to the one that gives you the most attention, the person you’re feeling at the moment, etc. Bae could also be your child if you have one. In a practical sense, a bae should be a temporary title like that of a girlfriend or boyfriend. If I’m before anyone else, I’m taking it that marriage should be discussed because why would you give that role to someone who’s just temporary? Why not upgrade your bae to wife and husband status if they are who you say they are? That’s one reason why the term makes no sense to me. The more we throw out these names and give them heavy-yet-conditional meanings, the less we could take marriage seriously, or avoid it altogether because it's too serious.

I get that it’s cute to have someone as a before anyone else, but should there be someone else before the bae? That’s right, Father God is jealous and I’m sure those who take this whole bae thing seriously are not considering Christ first. Technically, Jesus should be our bae, for the Word says that God “exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name,” according to Philippians 2:9.  Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the BAE of baes. It’s good to acknowledge people and thank God for them, but there’s a certain order that should be recognized as well within respect to our Lord.

Ride or Die

There are several definitions for this term as well, but the whole ride or die thing never really settled with me. I understand stand by your mate, then there are the marriage vows of ‘til death do us part, but ride or die? The term implies that one is willing to “ride it out” or “die trying,”  “down for whatever, even if it kills you.” Whet? Again I’m all down for being with a person through the times of abundance and lack, to be loyal to someone, but not everyone is going to get those ride or die privileges, so choose wisely. It takes a serious commitment, and should not be entered into lightly, especially if you're just dating.

You can’t be riding and or dying for and with just anyone. And you shouldn't use the term loosely especially if you know you're not going to follow through and be there for that person in their time of need. I mean, even Jesus went through this with Peter. Some bros ain't loyal. That’s why it’s so important to use discernment in your relationships with friends and dates. Know those you labor amongst and choose to be with. 

There’s a time when you can’t ride with folks on everything that they do, because that very thing may lead you to sin or kill you! Relationship expert Stephan Labossiere wrote a piece on this topic a while back as well. 

There are cases when ride or die is stupid because you're playing the fool or in many cases, the victim. Abusive relationships of any kind, toxic or jealous people, basically anyone that you’re involved with that’s not adding to your life and spiritual walk are not legitimate reasons to stay in a relationship "thick or thin." Why be down for whatever with someone who’s not going to better you, pray for you or lead you to Christ? They can get love, but from a distance if you really want them in your life. Make room for those who want the best for you, not what you can do for them.

That’s just three dating terms, I want to cover a few more in the next post, including the term “situationship.” Lord I am rolling my eyes already, lol. What do you think of these terms and do you use them?

June 26, 2014

5 ways to stay saved on vacation


By Tatianah Green


Happy Summer everyone! It’s exciting to finally enter the season of sun and fun. This season leaves the door open to the opportunity to go out of town, either for a weekend staycation or an extended vacation in the destination you’ve been waiting for. In light of this special time of year and the new number one film in the country, Think Like a Man Too, I’d like to share a post on staying saved while on vacation.

The guys of Think Like a Man Too
If you have seen the summer film already, you’ll notice that the character Michael, played by Terrence J, is the do-good groom, momma’s boy, and “Christian” of the group as it was mentioned a couple of times. In the film we notice that he just wanted a simple bonding experience with his friends and groomsmen before his anticipated wedding to Candace, but his unofficial official man of honor Cedric, played by Kevin Hart, swoops in and changes plans up in a big and crazy way. While many of us may not have the same experiences that they’ve had in the film, it sure reminded me of vacations and how we can be influenced to lose our inhibitions once we’re on foreign territory.

Christians can have a good time wherever we go because we carry within us something that cannot fit into a suitcase—our relationship with God. It depends on your personal convictions, but what’s defined as a “good time” by the world does not always line up with a child of God. Read Ephesians 5:1-10 for a little more on this.

Don’t get me confused with someone holier than thou; admittedly I’ve clubbed and partied, but I’ve also just chilled and enjoyed the company of the people around me with nothing but positivity. You can definitely have a sober minded yet FUN vacation without pressure to have worldly fun and the consequences that come with that. So without delaying this, here are several tips to help you have a fun vacation and “stay saved” as folks say:

Prepare yourself before you go out

With your bags all packed, and your ticket confirmations printed out, and you’re ready to go on your vacation! Don’t forget to take the Holy Spirit with you. Say a pregame prayer before your trip, which is something my friends and I do on our trips and especially road trips. It not only puts things in perspective, it calms down any nerves you may have and it helps set the tone for a great trip. Invite the Lord on your vacation with a simple yet sincere prayer. You can also pray before you go out for the day or evening, as initiated by my sister in Christ while we were in Vegas. We found favor when we did pray too! God rewards obedience and loves when we show Him respect and include Him in our day.

Don’t conform to the norm of the environment

On the last cruise I was on I went to the karaoke night and this young woman sang the Tasha Cobbs rendition of “Break Every Chain.” Although it was not expected at a karaoke night on a cruise ship, she seemed to be sincere about her praise and worship in that moment. You don’t have to play as the Romans play when in Rome, play your role as a Christian. We are not of this world, meaning we don’t have to submit to any rules that compromise our faith. This doesn’t mean only sing gospel at karaoke night or things like that, it means don’t be afraid not to. We are the light in this dark world, so shine brightly in your actions, speech and thoughts.

The environment can vary, so be mindful of your surroundings and stand out by being yourself, not what you're expected to be in these places. A couple of my friends have shared before that they were spiritually led to fast before going on vacation to popular destinations; both of them not realizing why exactly until after they had the trip experiences. They were thankful that they were prayed up and prepared spiritually to deal with the temptations of vacation. Depending on the destination, but temptation can even be in your own hotel room, so be careful and do your very best to not slip up.

Take the time to pray and spend time with God

Me in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Vacation time is great for relaxing and being away from obligations at home. This is also a good opportunity to seek the Lord in a new environment. I have found peace in many moments looking at the ocean or the sea when I’d go on vacation. Visuals like that can take your mind to a place of worship. God made the oceans, the beaches, the mountains, the sky, etc. Take it all in and pray to Him from that place and moment. That meditation is great. Also take your Bible, an inspirational book or music with you to zone out in the spirit. Even if it’s for 30 minutes early in the morning away from the crew or another time in the day, seek God on your trip; it feels really good to do so.  

Ask God to reveal things about yourself

While in your prayer time with the Father, ask Him to reveal things about yourself on this vacation. I always found out new things about myself and the people I’ve traveled with; don’t get me started on road trips! Travelling and vacationing will teach you more about the people you spend your time with. Get to know their likes and dislikes all over again. Their dares, fears, what makes them excited, etc. You may even surprise yourself. Be patient and encouraging. 

Had so much fun at the STL zoo with my friends
Know and avoid sin triggers

This one can be hard if you have company or friends who don’t have the same struggles in the flesh as you have had. For example, you may want to have a good time at night, but not necessarily go to a club because you don’t want to be in that environment. You’re friend likes dancing too, but you can both come to a healthy compromise by finding a dance class or event that’s not in the club environment. Trust me, they are everywhere!

Don’t become so heavily enticed by the fact that you’re on vacation that you end up backsliding. We all have something we've been delivered from, and God as your Father will prepare you for these tests on your trip. Plus, all the worldly fun that's out there is the same every time. Eventually you will grow tired of that. Try something more creative, new or challenging for you and your crew to try out; sites like Groupon & Living Social have deals in vacation spots for activities all of the time.

We have choices to make when we go on vacation. We choose where to travel, what excursions to take, what activities (day and night) to engage in, etc. You have a choice! What will your options be? Does it depend on your company or do you set the tone for your experience? Whatever you choose, have fun and enjoy your time, and don’t forget to give God the glory in it.


June 16, 2014

Why aren't my friends married yet?


By Tatianah Green



June is the most popular month for weddings and I have to admit that I’ve been bit by the bug. It’s not an issue of me getting married per se, it’s more of my desire to attend the wedding of someone who I call friend or heck family at this point.


I haven’t been to a wedding since this time in 2013 and unlike some of my peers on Facebook, I don’t have the opportunity to take selfies at the reception, meet the bride and groom’s families, be called to be part of a bridal party. Some may have the issue of wearing 27 bridesmaid dresses, but I have not worn one yet.

I’m not crazy, for I’ve been interested in weddings since I was a little girl. My mom could tell you that I cried watching my parent’s wedding video because “I wasn’t there!!” lol; I wasn’t even alive in June, 1985. I don’t want to go through these emotions, it’s hard out here for a girly girl who likes wedding shows, planning events, and watching God’s promise of love manifest in a beautiful ceremony.

So the more that I ponder on this fact that I and a good portion of the people I call friends are not married or even engaged, I had to ask God, well, when are they going to get married? I wanna see some weddings! I want to be at their weddings and witness the beginning of their marriages and thus their ministries as couples. Marriages are hard to come by these days, and they are hard to keep together from what we can all see.

I think one of the reasons why my friends and I are not married right now is that we are all exactly where we need to be right now. Not getting stuck in comparing one to another, not growing more selfish or self absorbed, not feeling insecure in our place in life to end up settling in the long run. This is the time now to work on those things that God doesn’t want us to bring into our marriages because we are trusting Him to give us marriages that will lastAs I always say "You can't rush greatness." I'll have to just calm down, actively wait, and encourage my friends to do the same.

That means developing as a single now for what’s to come in the future, no matter how long it will take. This also means that you have to trust in the God that brought you through all of that you’ve endured in your life to prepare you to be an example for those around you and are meant to touch with your testimony and relationship. That’s a marriage ministry, and it takes God to get you there.

I don’t want to just see weddings, I want to see marriages thrive and fulfill their purpose as God deemed so from the beginning of time. It’s up to you and me to not go insane in the process of development. Make a mistake, try a different way. Try something else and find out that you’re wrong again, try it God’s way this time and go ‘til you reach your goal.

I want to see my people win; I truly want to see them reach this milestone in their lives. The wedding is not the end all be all in life, but it marks a symbolic moment in your life’s history. As I get older, I’m maturing and getting wiser, asking the Lord to remove the old parts of me that will mean no good to my destiny. As a believer, it’s my duty and privilege to intercede on behalf of those in my life in these same areas more so than for myself. Until that wonderful moment when I get the call of some great news about my best friends' weddings, I'll just be patient and encourage my friends in prayer. I'm looking forward to celebrating what God has for us!

I want to see our readers win too. If you want to share your announcement of engagement or a wedding feel free to contact me.


“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal/enthusiasm, but keep your spiritual passion, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:9-12


June 11, 2014

How to correct someone without judging them


By Tatianah Green


To continue from the last post on the receiving correction vs. judgment, here are several tips to consider when you’re going to correct someone and to prevent judging them:

Pray on it. Is it up to you to correct them? Don’t take on tasks that God didn't give you, so be sure to pray for confirmation and direction first.

Take immediate emotions out of it. Correcting someone in the heat of in an argument can heighten the chances that the person you’re trying to help is only going to take it as an attack and get on the defensive. Make a separate and appropriate time to bring the issue up when emotions are not as high. 

Back it up with scripture. Paul tells Timothy and all of us that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Have a scripture to support your stance to usher in God’s presence into the conversation and to give the person a perspective outside of a human experience. 

Know where the person is coming from. Life Coach Tony Gaskins calls this “understand to be understood.” You can’t make it about you getting the point across, it’s about strategically helping the person you’re helping get what they need and for them to be understood in the process. We are our brothers' and sisters’ keepers, but in order for us to be that close, we have to know one another. 

Do you know this person’s character offline or in person? Do you know their spirit, heart and intentions? If you don’t know the person well, meaning you don’t even have their phone number to text or call them personally, then maybe correction is not the route to go. Perhaps you should just pray for them—it works!

Have patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2 tells us that we, like Timothy, may have the authority to correct and rebuke, we are to also encourage with “great patience and careful instruction.” This means being patience with the person’s process of growth and development. Don’t judge them in your impatience; if they are making an effort or not, encourage them patiently.

Careful instruction is important as to keep God in the center of your helping and lead them in the way that is righteous. Iron sharpens iron, so we have to be prepared to work and help those who we want to see get better. If you can make a difference, don’t think your action, no matter the effort, can make a difference in someone’s life. 

Let the Holy Spirit do His job. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will “guide you into all truth.” After your part is done, let God have His way. No need to be Captain-Save-a-Friend if that’s not your position or assignment in that moment. 

That’s it, I think, lol. We've covered a lot and my prayer is that you will search the word for yourself regarding correction, judgment and God’s will and get an understanding, there is much more than what was covered in this and the last post. This summer is about challenging yourself to do better, to do things differently, and to live purposefully. This starts when we renew our minds daily on how to receive correction, discern judgment, and be a help to those around us who need our help.

Let's Stop Judging and Start Helping




By Tatianah Green

A trending topic in the Interwebs as of late has been about judging. We have too many examples to go off on this one. From Pastor Jamal Bryant’s 14 second clip of his reference to a Chris Brown single, to the young woman who purposely attached her newborn baby to the bottom of her wedding gown’s train, to this week's state of Blue Ivy’s hair. These flavors of the week bring the online communities to the debate lines as to whether or not the community is judging them or not. 

It may seem like a fine line to walk between judging someone’s situation or decision and having the intention of correcting them, but often times than not, people are technically judging one another, especially online. I’m guilty of this too, but in some reading in the word and feeling spiritually convicted about it, I want to share with you what I understood about the very clear differences and how we can all apply it to be better individuals on and offline.

First, let’s cover the definition of this post’s key words:

·        Judge: make a decision, form a conclusion or opinion
·        Correct (verb): put right, amend, rectify, repair
·        Convicted: guilt, find guilty, condemned
·        Rebuke: express sharp disapproval because of someone’s actions
·        Encourage: help or stimulate to develop

No one wants to be corrected anymore?

Has someone ever told you something that you’ve done is "wrong" and you’ve felt judged? This is a sensitive situation because a few factors play in what happened. It could have been that how the person wakened you to your wrongdoing was wrong, or it was you who are truly wrong and felt uncomfortable about the confrontation. We see a lot of posts online or people saying on TV that “Only God can judge me,” “I never said I was perfect or a role model” and other sayings like that. Those who say this may have a point but they may also be doing something dangerous. When you close off yourself to people who mean well by you and misinterpret it as judgment, you run the risk of missing an opportunity to hear from God through His Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit is a corrector; you can ignore people all you want, but God is going to get your attention some kind of way because He wants you. He wants your heart, and quite frankly, He wants all of us to not make some of the bad choices we make at times. God loves you enough to correct and discipline His children--He gives us free will but He also gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us towards living a holy/righteous life. That’s what you want right? Well, this includes knowing the difference between taking correction from well-meaning people sometimes, brothers and sisters, and discerning their rebuke. The Bible says if we are to judge or make decisions, we should make righteous ones. Judging vs. Discerning Pt. 1 and Part 2

Disobedience to God’s will is sin. If your brother or sister (natural, spiritual) points out your sin to you and you feel convicted, take that conviction up to God and don't create an emotional thing out of it. I, like many people, don’t like to be wrong! But God has been humbling me and allowing me to have a peace about letting people say what they need to say without me feeling like I’m being singled out or picked on. We have to ask God to help us to not get so defensive when it comes to taking correction, rebuke, or even constructive criticism regarding the choices that we make. There’s more work for the corrector that needs to be done in order for them to qualify as a corrector, but I’ve covered that in another post

Imagine a world in which we lived by the premise that we are not to “judge” anyone or bring light to someone’s wrong with the means of correcting them. If no one was to be corrected for doing wrong, who would know to do better than what they are doing? It would leave us in a state of anarchy, which is a “state of disorder due to nonrecognition or authority (power).” If no one is willing to take on the correction of the Holy Spirit through people, then how can we do better or become our very best? The best may fall several times, but they get back up. Correction is not out to hurt it's out to help. Our egos have to be put to the side, accept that we should reconsider our current way of doing things, and make efforts to do better than our past. It's all a part of growing wiser and more mature.

Surely not everyone is out to get you. Yes, there are people who don’t truly care about you that will try to throw you off by giving unsolicited judgments and opinions. That gets in the way of us hearing the truth about ourselves that we really need to hear. There are others who want to better you but may not know how to communicate that correction to you. That’s also why it’s important for singles and couples to discover their communication styles and their individual Love Languages so that they can send and receive the correct messages to/from each other and thus get better. 

“I stand corrected” involves standing

2 Timothy 3:1-5 mentions the last days and how people would be lovers of themselves and not lovers of good, proud, abusive, etc. In this day and time we are surrounded by reports in the news of people with those same characteristics and spirits. Taking correction does not make you weak, it shows your strength in humility to recognize your error and humbly accept it. You’re not defeated; you’re winning because now you have the chance to make right and better decisions. You’re not lesser than because you’ve been corrected, you’re set free and could have saved your life (Ezekiel 3:18-21). 

2 Timothy 4 also lets us know about people who don’t take correction well. “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine…they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). This is relevant to Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but kisses from an enemy are deceitful.” For example, your friend tried to correct a wrong about you and you got defensive, ignored their correction, you bared the consequences of your decision, and later you come back to the friend humbled in the “I told you so” moment. If your friends don’t like the person you’re dating, it may be for a reason other than perceived hateration or judgment. You could very well be falling into a trap you can’t see but your friends can because they are on the outside looking in with discerning eyes. Do you have real friends or yes men?

We've covered much about receiving the judgment or correction, but what about giving it? Take a look at the differences between judge and correct. Judge simply makes a decision and that’s it, no further response or action is needed. That’s easy to do online when we make comments, tweets, posts, statuses, share memes, etc. When you correct, however, you’re not just bringing light to the person’s wrong, but you are also getting involved in the repairing of that person to get to doing the right thing. In other words: if you’re not willing to help them, don’t talk about them!

Giving correction is beneficial when you do it right. It’s like when someone gets a bad grade on a test and the teacher follows up with them on the exam to cover what they may not have understood the first time to help them get better to be ready for the next test. Anyone who not only rebukes you, but offers help and encouragement for you to do better is a corrector and someone you can rely on. The level of help that we offer people is not the same every time with everyone. For instance a friend or family member may not be there every step of the way of your doing better, they may simply be the messenger and someone else may be the person to impart wisdom into you by the working of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever been corrected by a friend or loved one? How did it feel?