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Allow Jesus to Transform Your Heart Instead of Satan

Reasons to love your enemies:


God commands us to love.


Here are some key Scriptures (Bible verses) on loving your enemies:


A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).


But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).


Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14).


We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it (1 Corinthians 4:12).


Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).


Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble (1 John 2:9-10).

 

Our highest calling is to spread the Gospel and help others grow in Christ.

We should be passionately concerned about introducing people to Jesus. Along the same lines, we should be passionately concerned about other believers’ spiritual welfare.


Study “dissensions” in Galatians 5:19-21 and Romans 13:13.


By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35).


But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice (Philippians 1:18).

Jesus loved His enemies. Make Him your example.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Luke 13:34).


Hints to help you love your enemies


Realize that you may have misinterpreted the other person’s words.
He or she may be distracted.
He or she may be busy.
He or she may be going through a personal crisis.
He or she may be sick or exhausted.
Realize that you may be right: The other person may be your enemy.
However, if someone insults you or dislikes you, respond in a Christ-like manner. Don’t take things personally or give in to hurt feelings and let your emotions control you. Instead, see the other person as someone with a problem who needs God’s help and your prayers.

Determine what part you played in the problem.

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).

See problems as opportunities to grow in Christ.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4).


Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds (James 1:2).


That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Forgive . . . even if your enemy does not apologize.

Follow Jesus’ example: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).
Follow Stephen’s example: Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep (Acts 7:60).

Pray for your enemies.

When you feel irritated about someone:
Pray for the other person’s needs.
Pray that God will help you forgive.
Pray that God will help you love him or her.
Evaluate your love for your enemies


How well do you practice the following verses?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).


Score yourself from 0-10 on each of the following.
“0” means, “I need a lot of improvement.”
“10” means, “I’m great at this.”


____ I am patient.
____ I am kind.
____ I do not envy.
____ I do not boast.
____ I am not proud.
____ I am not rude.
____ I am not self-seeking.
____ I am not easily angered.
____ I keep no record of wrongs.
____ I do not delight in evil.
____ I rejoice with the truth.
____ I always protect.
____ I always trust.
____ I always hope.
____ I always persevere.
____ My love never fails.

Did you get a passing score?  If not, ask God in the name of His son Jesus Christ to help you make some well needed changes in your actions toward others

Add a comment November 19, 2010

Get Rid of That Unforgiving Spirit!

In the book, An Invitation to Healing (Chosen Books, 2001), author Lynda Elliott writes, When I was in my twenties I was badly hurt by a neighbor. For months, I replayed the hurtful scene in my mind, talking about it often with a friend. As I expressed my feelings over and over, my pain became deeper and more invasive. It was becoming a part of me.

One day as Lynda relived the scene again, her friend asked, do you know we become like the people we think about most? Lynda says the Lord used that question as a wake up call. She says, I had a choice to make. If I choose to behold Jesus, to focus on Him, I could be transformed into His image. Likewise, if I continued to behold the image of my neighbor, I could be transformed into her image. In fact, that was already happening. Lynda’s choice involved forgiving her neighbor. She reminds us that forgiving those who hurt us does not mean they go unpunished. It means that we step aside and allow the Lord to deal with punishment. If we are going to leave the matter in Gods hands, we must decide to trust Him. God does not take the hurts of his children lightly. If He says He will repay, He will repay.

 The recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. offer Americans this same choice. We can choose to focus on the men who planned and executed the awful attacks, or we can offer forgiveness, and allow our Lord to handle the punishment. While we seek justice, let us be careful to maintain a proper focus, least we become like the evil men who inflicted this hurt on our nation.

What was your response the last time someone hurt you? Perhaps you felt the urge to retaliate. Maybe you took no action, but instead harbored bitterness in your heart. If so, you failed to realize that you do great damage to yourself when you have an unforgiving spirit. Failure to forgive is a devastating form of self-punishment—a destructive landmine in the path of the believer. In Ephesians 4:32, the apostle Paul writes, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” It sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it?

Yet, you and I know the truth that, though it’s simple, it’s not necessarily easy. When someone commits a terrible offense against you—no matter whether the hurt came by way of words or deeds—forgiveness can be terribly difficult. The enemy will entice you to be so angry that you take revenge. As a mature believer, however, you must avoid the enemy’s landmine and choose the peace of forgiveness as Christ has shown you.

Ephesians 4:26–32 Scriptural Principles:

1. The definition of Unforgiveness. If you want to understand Unforgiveness, you must first know what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is the willingness to give up your resentment toward someone who has wronged you, regardless of how serious or painful that wrong might have been. In other words, you renounce any desire to get even. We can identify three elements to forgiveness: to give up resentment about the wrong; to give up resentment toward the wrongdoer; and to give up plans for retaliation. Forgiveness is more than just saying some words; it must come from the heart. Unforgiveness, on the other hand, is a deliberate mindset to do the opposite—to resent the wrong and the wrongdoer, and to seek revenge. In Ephesians 4:31, Paul associates Unforgiveness with bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. It is hard to understand why anyone would choose those painful attitudes over tenderness, gentleness, and a forgiving spirit. However, many people today are physically ill because they do just that. They live day by day, year by year, with the cancer of an unforgiving heart.

2. The description of Unforgiveness. The unforgiving heart clings to the past, refusing to extend to others what our heavenly Father has extended to us. In Ephesians 4:32, the apostle insists upon our “forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” As a result of a resentful attitude, there will be certain negative consequences in the life of an unforgiving person. One of the most significant repercussions is that bitterness takes root in the heart, and then it spreads its poison to choke out every godly trait there. The truth is that people choose to be unforgiving—it is a deliberate decision and a self-inflicted pain. We carry the illusion that other people have caused our misery, but in reality, we have elected to take on a form of self-imposed bondage. It is a spiritual “acid” that eats through the spirit within us. Few people realize the terrible effects of Unforgiveness.

3. The disobedience of Unforgiveness. This root of bitterness will keep you from being the person God wants you to be, and prevent you from carrying out His will for your life. The refusal to forgive is an act of pride and rebellion—deliberate disobedience to the Word of God. When He taught His disciples to pray, Jesus added, “If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:9-15). This does not mean the believer loses his salvation, but it does indicate God will hold him accountable—there will be discipline. We are never given the right to harbor an unforgiving spirit. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus teaches us that we must forgive “seventy times seven,” which means we must always forgive. Paul, too, writes that we should bear with one another and forgive one another because, in the same way, God has forgiven us. All of these passages from God’s Word make it very clear that Unforgiveness is never an option for the committed believer.

4. The destruction of Unforgiveness. Mark 11:25-26 What are the consequences of an unforgiving spirit? Jesus teaches us that God wants to answer our prayers, but that we must first forgive others. If we don’t, it will make us bitter and will affect our prayer life. Likewise, our worship will be affected. Jesus teaches us that when we are in conflict, we are to stop—even in the middle of our worship—and go to set matters right. Our witnessing, our giving, and our overall spiritual growth are terribly weakened by a heart that carries bitterness. Every other aspect of life is affected as well. When we are loaded down with stress, anxiety, and resentment, physical illness may result. Finally, because others don’t enjoy being around bitter people, our relationships are poisoned.

5. Dealing with Unforgiveness. To confront an unforgiving spirit, the first requirement is to take it seriously and assume full responsibility for our own decisions and actions. We acknowledge Unforgiveness as a sin and confess it honestly to God. The next step is to lay our anger down—strip it away—because then we can ask God’s forgiveness. After that, we should begin praying for the other person. If that person has been aware of our bitterness, we should go to them and ask their forgiveness. We can live out God’s grace by asking Him to show us something we can do on that person’s behalf—serving them instead of resenting them. Finally, we prevent the devil from trapping us again by refusing to rehash the same old issue or allowing the bitterness to seep back in. This debt must be forgiven and canceled in the same way our sins are.

6. Demonstrating forgiveness. Some Christians believe they have forgiven the person that’s wronged them, but the roots of bitterness are still deep in their hearts. So how can you know you have truly forgiven someone? There are two indications that you have been obedient to Christ in this area. First, you know you have forgiven when your feelings toward the other person have changed. When you see him or her, you will be aware that the resentment is gone. Second, you know your forgiveness is genuine when you feel concern for the other person—you care about his or her spiritual welfare and you want what is best for him or her.

Forgiveness, after all, is the real issue isn’t it? Actions of yesterday, last week, or even decades ago that are a cause for retaliation today, and, likely, tomorrow and who knows how much longer. Maybe forever. The hurt, the anger, the resentment, the hatred run so deep. Will they ever get past it?

Ah, but then how many of us have also been hurt and have found it hard to forgive? Divorce, abuse, humiliation, being robbed, getting fired, being taken advantage of or stabbed in the back. People have hurt us. It seems so hard to forgive. People tell us, “This is going to consume you. Come on, get past it. Forgive. Forget.”And we reply, “I would like to, but I can’t.” Why is that?

Why do we find it so hard to forgive?

When people wrong us it is like a debt that they now owe us. You could say they have robbed us. Love, joy, dignity, respect, and self-worth are things that people “steal” from us. They do this through abuse, gossip, taking advantage of, backstabbing, ridiculing, neglecting, cheating, leading us on, rejecting us and so on.

One theologian, Timothy Keller, suggests that our ability to forgive depends on the amount of emotional wealth we have. In other words, if I have a vast reservoir of self-worth or dignity or joy, someone might gossip about me, verbally assault me or walk out on me and I can say, “That’s okay. I forgive him. There is plenty more where that came from.”

Thus our lack of forgiveness is not a matter of stubbornness but of emotional poverty. This then forces the question: Why am I so emotionally impoverished that I cannot forgive? What would it take for me to become a forgiving person?

As far as I can see it is simple: Experiencing forgiveness.

1. Showing kindness to an aged person.

2. Destroying a letter written in anger.

3. Offering an apology that will save a friendship.

4. Stopping a scandal that was ruining a reputation.

5. Helping a boy or girl find themselves.

6. Taking time to show consideration to parents, friends, brothers and sisters.

7. Refraining from gossip when others around you like it.

8. Refusing to do a thing which is wrong, although others do it.

9. Living according to your convictions.

10. Accepting the judgment of God on any question.

I have discovered how God blesses us when we choose to forgive others. He removes all the baggage of resentment, malice, and wrath that weighs us down. Then, all the goodness of His righteousness can come flooding into our spirits and our lives can be as joyful and fulfilling as He created them to be. What about the person who wronged you? Let God sort that out. He is righteous, sovereign, and just. In time, even the one who wronged you will stand before God in judgment. Your responsibility is simply to let go of all resentment—owing no one anything except the ongoing debt of love. Unforgiveness may explode slowly, but it destroys us just the same. Through the power and grace of the Lord Jesus, however, we can be free from its terrible devastation—free from old grudges to walk in peace, joy, and victory.

Add a comment November 17, 2010

Silent Treatment is Plain Ignorant! Forgive!

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-18:35

This week I heard about a man who really loved dogs. He devoted his life to them ¬ he read about them, studied them, and even gave talks about them to other dog lovers. One day he decided to pour a new sidewalk in front of his house. His neighbor watched from his window as he smoothed out the last square foot of cement.

Just then, a large dog appeared and walked through the fresh cement, leaving paw prints behind. The man muttered something under his breath and smoothed out the damage.

He then went inside to get some twine so he could put up a fence around the sidewalk. But, when he got back outside, he discovered some more dog tracks in his fresh cement. He smoothed out the cement and put up the fence.

He then went into the house. Five minutes later he looked outside and saw some more paw prints. He was really mad now. He got out his trowel and smoothed the cement one more time. As he got back to his porch, the dog reappeared and sat right in the middle of the sidewalk.

He went inside, grabbed his gun and shot the dog dead. The neighbor rushed over and said, “Why did you do that? I thought you loved dogs.” The man thought for a minute and said, “I do, I do like dogs. But that’s in the abstract. I hate dogs in the concrete.”

That’s how many of us feel about our theme for this morning. We love to hear about forgiveness in the abstract, but when it hits close to home, we hate it in the concrete.

Relational viruses attack every relationship.

Tensions arise.
Wrongs are done.
Lies are told.
Trust is broken.

Relationships are built not on a standard of perfection, but on our ability to ask for forgiveness, and on our willingness to extend forgiveness.

If you and I want to have relationships that last for the long haul, then we must be willing to extend forgiveness to others. Here’s another way to say it: “In every relationship you have, you will constantly be called on to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.”

Forgiveness is costly — it’s not easy to ask for forgiveness and it’s certainly not easy to extend forgiveness to those who’ve wronged us.

Forgiveness is the virtue we most enjoy and least employ. There are at least two reasons why we struggle with forgiveness:

Forgiveness is not natural. That’s why it’s so hard to do.

Forgiveness is not fair. Our sense of justice wants to be vindicated.

Of all the people in the Bible, Peter stands out as the most mathematical of the disciples. He was a stickler for detail, always trying to pin down the precise meaning of everything Jesus said. Do you remember when Jesus engineered a miraculous catch of fish? It was Peter who sat down and counted each squirming one to find out that they caught 153. If you were to take your Bible and count the number of times that Peter messed up, you’d discover that he needed forgiveness on at least 7 different occasions.

Being a numbers-guy, one day Peter came up to Jesus and asked him a question in Matthew 18:21, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?

Here is Peter trying to figure out a mathematical formula for forgiveness.

We all sometimes allow barriers to keep us from practicing forgiveness. There are at least three things I can think of that can prevent us from forgiving others:

Revenge – “I’m going to get even!”
Resentment – “I’m going to stay angry!”
Remembering – “I’ll never forget!”

Before Jesus could answer, Peter responded to his own question by suggesting that seven times would be a good limit. That’s not a bad answer. The rabbis back then taught that you had to forgive someone three times and then you could retaliate. The fourth time you could do whatever you liked. In fact, they mistakenly taught that God only forgives three times. Peter doubled that and added one for good measure. I think he thought his answer would impress Jesus.

As Jesus often does, his answer to Peter was unexpected and disarming. Take a look at verse 22: “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” The crash you hear is Peter hitting the ground in a dead faint. He couldn’t believe his ears! Seventy seven times? (The KJV says that Jesus said seventy times seven that would equal 490 times!)

What Jesus is saying is there is no limit. He just plays off of Peter’s words. I think if Peter would have said eight times, He would have said eighty-eight times as a response.

I. When We Need Forgiveness

Since the truth of forgiveness without limits is hard for us to grasp, Jesus told a story to help illustrate what He meant. In the first half of the story, Jesus deals with those of us who need forgiveness. Here he gives us some practical help for those times when we’ve wronged someone and stand in need of his or her forgiveness.

In the second half, He targets those of us who need to forgive others. We’ll find some practical help for those times when someone has wronged us — when they’re in need of our forgiveness.

Let’s start with verses 23-24: “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him 10,000 talents was brought to him.”

Here’s the picture. The king in the land decided to call in all his debts. He sent out his collection agents and they came back with a man who owed the king a considerable chunk of change. His CPA’s figure that he owed the equivalent of about $25 million ¬ that’s like the entire yearly income for the whole kingdom. We’re not sure exactly how he ran up this kind of debt but it’s clear that he would never be able to repay the king.

Since he couldn’t pay the debt, verse 25 says that, “the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.” The king knew he could never recoup all his losses — he just wanted to get back whatever he could.

At this point, the servant did what most of us would have done. He fell on his knees and said, “Be patient with me, and I will pay back everything.” Even though he could never pay it back, he’s now desperate. He can’t stand the thought of his family being sold because of the debt he ran up.

The king was moved. The Bible says that he was filled with compassion. And, he does something the man doesn’t even ask for. The king not only releases him, he also forgives the debt. This is at great personal cost to the king. By assuming the debt, he allowed it to go unpaid and thus impoverished his treasury. He wipes the slate clean, erases the books, and cancels the debt. Now the man owes him nothing.

This is exactly what forgiveness is all about. To forgive is to cancel the debt. When we’ve wronged someone, and they choose to forgive us, they are in essence saying, “I cancel the debt. The slate has been wiped clean. You don’t owe me anything — I release you from ever having to pay me back.”

I want you to notice that the servant did not deserve this forgiveness; it was purely an act of grace and mercy on the part of the king.

Let me give you three action steps if you’re in need of forgiveness.

1 – Face Your Friend. The first step you need to take if you’re the guilty party is to meet with your friend or foe face-to-face. In Matthew 5:24, Jesus put it this way, “If your brother has something against you…go and be reconciled to your brother.” Is there someone you need to “go” to this week? Anyone you need to call? Do you need to stop over to someone’s house or office?

2 – Own The Wrong. The second step, after you’ve faced your friend, is to own the wrong that has been done. There’s a phrase I hear on the basketball court that I think is applicable here. When someone loses the ball out of bounds or misses a shot, They will often say, “My bad.” It’s their way of saying that it’s no one else’s fault. I messed up. When we mess up in our relationships, Jesus wants us to own the wrong, to say, “My bad.” It’s not enough to just acknowledge a mistake — we need to own it.

Jim Gray, a reporter for NBC sports, took some hits a few years ago after his bombastic interview with Pete Rose. To say the least, he was not very gracious with Mr. Rose. After receiving a lot of phone calls and emails, Jim Gray attempted an apology that really fell far short. This is what he said, “If the fans felt the interview went on too long…then I’m sorry for that.” Did you catch the disclaimers? “If” the fans felt…then I’m sorry. Interestingly, he never apologized to Pete Rose himself. It would have been so refreshing to hear him say, “You know what, I blew it the other night. I was wrong and I ask forgiveness from Mr. Rose and from all the fans. It was my mistake it won’t happen again.”

3 – Ask For Release. After facing your friend and owning the wrong, the next step is to ask for release. I suggest that you actually say the words, “Please forgive me.” If your friend says something like, “It’s no big deal, don’t worry about it,” you might want to say, “I appreciate that, but I need to have your forgiveness. Do you forgive me?” It’s really important to be released from the debt.

Who do you need to face this week? What wrong do you need to own? Do you have the courage to ask for release from the debt?

2. When We Need To Forgive Others

Now, let’s talk about those times when we need to forgive others. Let’s go back to the story. As this humbled man walked away with this wonderful gift of forgiveness, he ran into a friend who owed him some money. It wasn’t a lot of money. In comparison to the $25 million that he had owed the king, it was about 10 bucks. Instead of canceling his friend’s debt, verse 28 says that he grabbed him and began to choke him saying, “Pay back what you owe me!”

We’re a lot like that, aren’t we? When someone does something wrong, we want to see them punished, we want them to pay for the damage they’ve done to us.

Jesus continues by telling us that the forgiven man’s friend fell to his knees and asked for some time. In fact, his plea was almost identical to the other man’s when he was before the king: “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.” But, there’s one big difference. Instead of forgiving the wrong out of gratitude for the forgiveness he had received, verse 30 says, “he went off and had the man thrown in prison until he could pay the debt.”

Let me pause here in the story to make an practical application. We’re a lot like this man when we don’t forgive others. We enjoy putting people in prison if they’ve wronged us. We want them to suffer, to hurt as bad as they hurt us.

We put people in prison in various ways:

We might use the silent treatment
We may simply avoid them
Or, we may launch a volley of verbal assaults.

Are you holding someone hostage right now? Are you trying to make them feel miserable? Are you determined to punish a friend or family member for something that he or she said to you? If that describes you, let’s pick up the story again to see what happens.

This man made a critical mistake. He threw his friend in prison in broad daylight. Someone saw it happen and reported it to the king. Word got around and soon everyone was talking about it. It wasn’t the fact that the man would not forgive his friend that shocked them. It was that he was so unforgiving after having found such mercy and grace himself.

The king is really ticked off now. He sends his soldiers to bring the man before him. Notice verses 32-34: “You wicked servant. I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master turned him over to the torturers until he paid back all he owed.” This guy had a $25 million debt forgiven. Shouldn’t he have done the same for someone who owed him 10 lousy bucks?

Let me say this strongly. What happened to that man will happen to each one of us unless we learn to forgive and forgive and forgive. The torturers will come and take us away if we don’t extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us.

What torturers, you ask? The hidden torturers of anger and bitterness that eat at your soul. The torturers of frustration and malice that give you ulcers, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and lower back pain. The hidden torturers that make you lie awake at night stewing over every wrong that someone has done to you. The torturers of an unforgiving heart who stalk you day and night, who never leave your side, who suck every bit of joy out of your life. Why? Because you will not forgive from your heart.

While we often try to punish and imprison those who hurt us, the reverse actually happens. When we don’t forgive we end up being tortured. Do you know where the worst prison is in the entire world? It’s the prison of an unforgiving heart. If we nurture feelings of bitterness we are little better than inmates of an internal concentration camp.

Many of us lock ourselves in a lonely isolation chamber, where we are tortured incessantly, walled in by bitterness and our own refusal to forgive. When we chose to not forgive, we are imprisoned in the past and locked out of all potential for change. Have you ever noticed that some of the most miserable people in the world are those who are unwilling to forgive others?

Did you hear about the two men who were in a nursing home and had been quarreling for years? One of the guys thought he was on his deathbed so he called his foe over to his bed and said, “John, I forgive you for what you have said and done against me over the years, and I want you to do the same for me.”

The other man, with tears in his eyes, agreed that he too would like to forgive and be forgiven. Then the man in the bed said, “But if I get better, this doesn’t count!”

Don’t put off forgiveness. Don’t allow the root of bitterness to grow into a tree of hatred and resentment. Hebrews 12:15 challenges us to not miss the grace of God so that “…no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

If we don’t forgive, we remain bound to the people we cannot forgive, held in their vise grip. And yet, many of us persist in demanding that others act in a way that we ourselves can never achieve. Lewis Smedes has said, “When I genuinely forgive, I set a prisoner free and then discover that the prisoner I set free was me.”

The Bible says that when we wrong someone, we are to go and meet face-to-face. Not surprisingly, the Bible is also clear on what to do when someone has wronged us. Earlier in this same chapter, Jesus put it this way in verse 15: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” If someone has wronged you, you have the responsibility to go to him or her and work it out.

When You Need to Forgive:

      A. Meet face-to-face
      B. Point out the wrong
      C. Release him or her

Jimmy Carter ran for president of the United States against Ronald Reagan in 1980. According to David Wallis in the New York Times Magazine, prior to a televised debate between the two candidates, columnist George Will came upon Carter’s debate notes and sneaked them to the Reagan camp. Many pundits felt that Reagan won that debate, and he went on to win the election. Carter did not forget what George Will had done to him. In a 1997 interview with Wallis, Carter said:

I was teaching on forgiveness one day at church, and I tried to go through my memory about people for whom I had resentment. Goerge Will was one of those people, so I wrote him a note. I asked myself, what do we have in common, and I had known that he had written a book about baseball, which I refused to read. I went to a bookstore and found a remaindered copy. Paid a dollar for it. So I wrote him a note and told him the facts’ that I had a feeling of resentment toward him, that I had found his book delightful and I hoped that we would be permanently reconciled.

He wrote me back a nice, humorous note. He said his only regret was that I didn’t pay full price for his book. Anyone can hold a grudge. It takes character to initiate reconciliation.

You’re covered either way. If you’ve messed up and hurt someone, Jesus says to you, “Go, and face your friend, own the wrong, and ask for release.” If someone has wronged you, instead of making him or her pay, or throwing him or her in prison, Jesus says to you, “Go and face your friend, point out the wrong, and then release him or her from it.”

To forgive is a process of giving up. That’s exactly what the word forgiveness means — it means, “to give” to someone by releasing them from debt. It’s like saying, “You did something that really hurt me. But I care enough about you to meet face-to-face. And now, I release you from all obligation to ever pay me back. I forgive you completely.” When we cancel the debt, we give up demands for perfect behavior, perfect justice, and perfect retribution. When we extend forgiveness, we begin to experience the truth that all of us are fallible humans in need of being forgiven ¬ and in desperate need of grace.

I really like this one sentence definition that I heard recently: Forgiveness is like meeting someone for the first time. That means there’s no baggage. No history. No grudges. No hidden resentments. To forgive means to start over by giving people a fresh start. In short, to forgive is to give grace to another ¬ and freedom to ourselves.

When you and I forgive someone, we slice away the wrong from the person who did it. We disengage the person from his hurtful act. We can then think of him not as the person who hurt us, but a person who needs us. We recreate our past by recreating the person whose wrong made our past painful.

Colossians 3:13 says: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” We can tolerate those who irritate us, and forgive our friends and family members when they wrong us, precisely because Jesus has forgiven us. Since those of us who have received Christ as our Savior have been forgiven for so much, then, out of gratitude, we should practice unlimited forgiveness in all our relationships.

3 Reasons to Forgive

Because we’ve received grace and forgiveness

An unforgiving spirit inflicts torment

Forgiveness frees people – including ourselves

Application: Where are you today? Do you need to ask someone for forgiveness? Have you wronged a friend or family member? If so, determine to face your friend, own the wrong, and ask for release.

Do you need to give someone the gift of forgiveness? Are you tired of living with the venom of an unforgiving spirit? Are your grudges structuring your total outlook on life? If so, cancel that debt today. Restore that friendship by being a grace-giver.

Do you need God’s forgiveness? Have you ever come face to face with God, owned your sin, and then asked Him for release? You need to do it, if you haven’t already done so — forgiveness is our deepest need and God’s highest achievement. Once you experience God’s forgiveness, you’ll be better equipped to forgive others.

C.S. Lewis has said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

Ernest Hemingway loved to write about the country of Spain. In his short story, The Capital of the World, Hemingway tells of a father and son who had stopped talking to one another. Things got so bad that the son left home. After several years, the father wanted to mend the relationship and so he looked everywhere for his son. When he came to the capital city of Madrid, he decided to go to the newspaper office and take out a big ad in the newspaper that said this: “Paco, please meet me at 12 noon tomorrow in front of the newspaper office — all is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.”

The next day at 12 noon, there were 800 men named Paco standing in front of the building! I suspect we have some Paco’s reading this in need of forgiveness. We also have some who need to give the gift of forgiveness to others.

Forgiveness Inventory

Let’s take some time to do a Forgiveness Inventory. Don’t finish reading this without making a decision that can radically change your life — and the quality of your friendships.

Do you need to ask forgiveness from someone? Can you think of a person right now? Is there someone you’ve wronged and you haven’t owned up for it? Are you ready to make the decision to go to that person and make things right? If so, would you please raise your hand?

Do you need to extend forgiveness to someone? Have you been nursing a grudge? Are you giving someone the silent treatment? Are you ready to forgive the debt? If so, would you please raise your hand?

Do you need to admit your sins to a holy God and receive His forgiveness? If you haven’t done so, now is the right time. The cost of our sins is more than we can pay. The gift of our God is more than we can imagine. If you are ready to receive the gift of divine forgiveness this morning, bow your head and tell God so he can begin blessing your life.

Add a comment November 15, 2010

Always Give the World Your Best

Give the world the best you have … it may never be enough … but give the best you have anyway!

Life is an amazing journey and as you embark on this journey of your life – make a choice. Choose to give the world the best you have. It won’t always be easy; but do it anyway.

Life, your life, is an incredible gift and as an individual you have so much to offer the world and yourself. Don’t be caged by your fears – either real or perceived; don’t be limited by other people’s expectations of you and most importantly – don’t merely endure this amazing gift of life.

Throughout the journey of your life, you will encounter hopes, dreams, challenges, set backs, new beginnings and the inevitable goodbyes. Yet despite all of this, you must choose to give yourself and the world the best you have.

Give the world the best you have by putting yourself out there and living life. Don’t merely be a spectator. Sure, it may be safer, but nothing compares to living life, rather than merely watching it. Yes, it takes guts and daring and a willingness to take risks – but it’ll be so worth it – despite the bumps and scratches and bruises that you are sure to receive along the way.

Cherish the amazing relationships in your life and worry less about who may or may not like you. Listen … really listen to others; have empathy and compassion – strive to always build people up, rather than break them down.

Stop sweating the small stuff – dirty footprints on a polished floor, grubby hands marking a crisp linen shirt as they encircle your waist in a hug, bad hair days, less than perfect make-up, expression lines deepening as your face starts to reflect life’s experiences … the relentless pursuit of wealth and the accumulation of stuff!

Instead – laugh more, love more, forgive often, smile irrepressibly, be spontaneous and at times even impetuous, cry when your heart is breaking and reach out when your heart is overflowing.

For it is this that will define your life! It is these qualities that will allow you to give the world the best you have!

The people who will make the most difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards and recognition. They are the ones who care.

So, care enough to give the world the best you have and you will be giving the world a tiny miracle – small … yet hugely significant.

Add a comment August 25, 2010

Tidbits of Love for your Business

Love practices for your business?

Yes!

Love is the most powerful of emotions… we also know it as joy, passion, inspiration, connection, flow, beauty, creativity, and leadership.

We are literally yearning for more love in our businesses. We are tired of the same old sales letters and boring products that lack creative fire and beauty.

Love in your business makes your day feel full of joy. You are engaged and alive. You feel like you just resuscitated lives by helping make someone’s life better through your product or service. Love is that spontaneous flow of inspiration and ideas that you don’t know where it’s coming from, but you trust it for how awake and engaged you feel and the impact you can see you have on others.

Here are 5 ways you can consciously practice infusing love in your business:

1. Love Your Creativity – Freedom to creatively express yourself in your business is one of the highest values for most passionate entrepreneurs. If you find yourself nodding in agreement, then you want to make sure you schedule time for your creativity. As your business grows, it’s easy to lose touch with your creativity if you aren’t consciously giving it attention and time. Schedule creative retreat time each week to get out of your office. Spend some time journaling and mind mapping and reviewing what’s working in your business and where it needs to go. Then use some of that scheduled time to create the program, project or article ideas. Put your attention on what you want to grow!

2. Love Your Marketing – Let go of old stereotypes about marketing and what it means to market your business. These old-style limiting beliefs will just hold you back. Today’s marketing is all about creating relationships with your clients, potential clients, and potential collaborators. The more creative, fun and authentic you are, the better you’ll connect with your clients and grow your business. Successful marketing is also about having a generous mindset to help each other increase visibility and success. So… love your clients, love your colleagues… and focus on loving them in success. While you do, you’ll find you’ll be more successful too.

3. Love Your Money – Money loves being paid attention to. That means learning about money strategies, keeping your Quickbooks™ up-to-date, and knowing how much money you’ve spent and created. If you ignore money, then don’t be surprised if you aren’t making very much! Spend time nurturing your money and its flow in your business. Welcome sales into your business as a sign that you are getting your purpose (your love) into the world!

4. Love Your Life and Relationships – If you are like me, you started your business to have more freedom and flexibility in your life. So make sure that you build a business around your life, not the other way around. You want to love your life – your family, friends, hobbies, travel – whatever you love. Your personal joy is to make room and time in your life and let your business support your life.

5. Love Yourself – As your business grows, you’ll keep running up against your upper limits of success. Those beliefs that will limit how much joy you’ll allow into your business as far as money, success, recognition, great clients and enjoyment. Be aware that everyone hits upper limits of how much success they’ll allow into their businesses (think lottery winners who lose all their winnings within two years). You have to love yourself enough to allow the success in.

Where in your business can do you need to make room for the love? Which area do you need to start with first?

Add a comment July 17, 2010

Is it time for a Money Mindset Shift?

With all the news and media talking about how the sky is falling over and over again, it’s vital that you protect your energy. Keeping your spirits up is a simple way of calling you forth to notice your beliefs that you think about over and over. This one area alone will impact the actions you take – or don’t take in your business.

Don’t fall victim to being unconscious about your runaway thoughts and go into constricted scarcity thinking about what’s not possible. Now it’s imperative that you surround yourself with possiblity thinkers and notice where you get stuck in your money mindset beliefs.

Here are 7 money mindset shifts that will support your success. Notice which one is true for you. Step in and ask for the shift.

Money Mindset Shift #1
Everything is a Spiritual Exchange

This can be a huge powerful shift for you and your business. I know as a joyful business owner you already have a business based on your core values of what’s important to you. This takes this belief and resulting action to a deeper place. Look at everything as a spiritual exchange of energy. In this article, there is energy coming through the words and my intention, and the energy with which it was written. This is true for you everywhere…with each client communication, each business card you receive, each teleclass or keynote program you give – you are giving out energy and it is being received whether the receipient is aware of the energy exchange consciously or just underneath. How many times have you met someone who seemed pleasant and yet you picked up a “weird vibe?” We are always communicating with our thoughts, intentions, actions, words and invisible vibration.

One of my most important practices is to align my energy before I write. I imagine the faces of those who will read this article. I tap into what my intuition tells me is in their heart and only once I feel aligned do I start writing. I often get feedback where readers will say…that is exactly what I am experiencing. You can do this too as you realize that each marketing touch is a spiritual exchange of energy.

Money Mindset Shift #2
Money is a sign that you are impacting the world

Receiving money is a signal that you are being of service to the world. Receiving more money is a signal that you are being of more service! Whether you are reaching more people or charging more for your services, receiving money is another type of energetic exchange demonstrating that you are sharing your gifts in the world. Any mindset that has you believe that receiving money is wrong, bad or you are being too big…only holds you small and has you keep your gifts to yourself. Open up and allow in the flow!

Money Mindset Shift #3
Know Your Money Why

Why do you want financial success? It isn’t so you can roll around in hundred dollar bills. (although that might be fun!) It’s about what you can exchange the money for. Getting clear about your “money why” will help you commit to making more money and being financially successful. Some examples of “money whys”: ensuring that your children can go to any college they choose, providing fun travel experiences for your family, waking up at 3am and knowing you are independent and worry-free, and giving generously to your favorite charity to help people who have gone through an experience you have gone through too. You have to dig a little deeper here..it’s not about those “nice to have” things – those don’t always inspire you to commit, but those deeper reasons that really touch your heart and open it wide in pain or passion.

Money Mindset Shift #4
Increase Your Awareness As to What Is Possible

Look for opportunities to attend workshops, mastermind with successful mentors, and find stories about successful entrepreneurs. Expand your awareness about what is possible in the world. I recently went to a workshop where at the end of the great quality workshop the presentor offered us a package to coach with her for $100,000! That opened my eyes and my mind to that idea. It has me thinking…what if I could do that? What would need to shift or change? Who would I have to step?

Money Mindset Shift #5
Love Your Money

I’m not encouraging you to become narcisstic here about money, but I am encouraging you to step into absolute love and appreciation for money that is flowing into your life and business AND the money that flows out. Gratitude is a very high vibrational energy. Being in appreciation means you have no resistance – you are allowing it in fully and are aligned with what is happening. Have gratitude each time a client pays you. Express a blessing when someone performs a service for you that you enjoy and benefit from. The other day I received an email receipt for the gifted woman who helps me with my sales copy. I replied to her email receipt and sent HER a quick thanks for working together and how much I appreciated her. I think she was shocked. She said she had never received a thanks for billing before. This will help you line up your energy with the circulation of money – feeling good about how comes into your life and the joy it brings you to pay for services you use. This is a big shift from the typical constricted and confused energy of money you may tend to be in alignment with.

Money Mindset #6
Talk about Your Money

Were you always taught to not mention money? It’s taboo for most of us. We don’t talk about how much we make, we hide purchases, we even lie to ourselves about how much money we’ve spent. Many of us go into what I call “fuzzy brain” around money. I have clients who can’t tell me how much they have made this year or how much they have spent. They don’t want to look. Funny thing is – the clearer you get about your money – no matter what the picture is – the more empowered you will feel. Start talking about your money to yourself and trusted members of a mastermind group. It will take the charge out of the money conversation and free you up to have real conversations. You will be able to make decisions with clarity and conviction.

Money Mindset #7
Trust and Let Go of the Hows for More Money to Flow

When you feel your heart opening and your inspiration spouting forward pay attention. It’s your spirit speaking. It’s telling you that you are in alignment with the idea you are considering. Your mind may be telling you another story…”how could I do this? I don’t know how or I don’t have enough money.” The thing is we can’t see the “how” until we say YES! Once you trust yourself and the universe enough to let out a resounding YES…then the next inspired step appears in front of you. As you take that step…the next inspired step appears. Every time I have made a big leap of faith – in working with a higher priced mentor, falling in love with a man across the big pond, or wanting a special vacation by the ocean – every time I commit the means, ways and hows always show up! Trust.

Add a comment June 17, 2010

Driverless Cars Are No Longer a Thing of the Future

Driverless cars are coming. We know. We’ve heard this kind of stuff before and there’s still no flying car in the driveway.

But the technology for full driverless cars — computers, radar and laser sensors, GPS devices — is all in place. Lexus already offers a car that will parallel-park itself. In 2007, Carnegie Mellon University won a $2 million Pentagon contest with a car that changed lanes, merged, parked and negotiated busy intersections on its own.

By the mid-90s, “hands off” cars had driven across the United States and Europe, over 98 percent of the time requiring no interference from the driver.

The innovations may come gradually, beginning with a government requirement that, beginning with the 2012 model year, all new cars have automatic stability controls to help prevent rollovers. And more companies will offer sensor-activated braking systems that will stop the car if the driver fails to.

And General Motors is apparently still on track to begin offering driverless cars by 2020.

The appeal of a driverless system is that it will allow motorists to do all the things they do now — text, talk on the cell, fool with a laptop, eat, watch videos — free from the distraction of driving the car.

One appeal of a driverless system is safety. Last year, the U.S. had 37,000 traffic deaths, more than 90 percent of them attributed to driver error. For traffic planners, there’s the appeal of a system to fight traffic congestion by automatically feeding information to car computers.

There are issues of government regulation, liability and privacy still to be worked out. But the success of the E-ZPass toll-collection system suggests that motorists don’t care whether the government knows where they’re going.

The real hurdle may be psychological. Will Americans cede control of their cars to a black box? Will they have the confidence to do so? After all, if we can remotely perform delicate operations more than a mile below the sea surface with flawless precision…. Never mind.

Add a comment June 11, 2010

Planning Tools For The Successful, Creative Entrepreneur

It’s time for a fresh, modern twist on business planning. The new entrepreneur builds a business based on passion, creative expression and meaningful work. Her business supports a lifestyle that enhances her well-being and those prized relationships around her. All this passion and creative energy gives a lot of fuel for ideas but how do you actually get organized and get things done? This type of business owner needs innovative new tools to turn her ideas into action. Here are seven modern business planning tools for the successful creative entrepreneur that support a new way of being in business:

1. Start with Your Vision
Use your creativity to create a vivid vision story of your business and your lifestyle. Let yourself dream and tap into your desires for the type of business success you really want – your way – supporting a lifestyle you love. Make it juicy and filled with details about what your average week is like three years from now. Then when you are faced with big decisions about the direction of your business, check in with your vision story and see if you are in alignment with where you want to go. This keeps you from reacting to every idea that comes your way, and into taking actions that move you toward what you really want while supporting a life you love.

2. Create A Vision Board For Your Ideal Client
Develop a vision board to get really clear about your ideal clients. Collect photos, words and pictures that depict qualities of your ideal client. Make her come to life! Include pictures of her in action, her different moods, and her lifestyle. Add photos of real potential clients too. This will help you get clear when you are creating products and services for her and when you are marketing. Imagine writing to the women on your vision board as you write articles!

3. Capture Your Ideas for Peace of Mind
One of the reasons creative business owners are so successful is because you have a lot of terrific ideas and yet the downside is that you sometimes feel overwhelmed because you have so many. Making a simple list can feel overwhelming because creative people don’t think in a linear process. Use a mind map (either hand drawn or through a software company such as MindJet) to quickly brainstorm ideas and projects, thoughts and random ideas in no particular order. You’ll be able to breathe easier knowing you’ve captured them and have a “container”. Then you can start to sort and decide which ones to start with now.

4. Map Out Your Ideas on a FlowLine
Do you tend to resist goals and deadlines? Use a Sticky Note Flowline™ instead. Use big pieces of flip chart paper or a large white board. Draw a line across the middle of the paper and create hash marks to indicate the next twelve months across the line. Using different colors and styles of sticky notes to chart out your vision story for the next year makes it fun, creative and practical. Yellow stars for collaborations throughout the year, arrow notes for consistent marketing strategies, and green notes for sales potentials. By charting out the flow of the next year you can quickly see what’s missing, where your growth points are, or even how the idea of launching that big promotion when you are also spending the month in Tuscany isn’t the right time. No worries just move the notes around to the right timing. This method allows you to p-l-a-n (often a 4 letter word) without feeling rigid, and instead to commit while working with the natural flow.

5. Schedule Focus and Reflection Time Every Day
It’s so easy for creative types to charge into their ideas first thing in the morning, finding themselves getting lots of little things done and never getting to the important bigger impact ideas. The surprising secret to getting the right things done is to slow down. Try it for a week. Block out one hour at the start of your day each day to get grounded, inspired and focused. Read something inspirational, journal and feed your creative flame in a way that also grounds you. You may have to block this time out with a black permanent marker at first so that you don’t start giving this time away. Look at it as “business time” not fluff time. Notice how your day flows with more intention and creative progress in the areas you want to grow.

6. Create Daily Giggle Goals™
The yellow legal pad to-do list is famous. Famous for being overwhelming and making you feel less than productive because you never get it all done. (And honestly, you never will do all the ideas you think up!). Use your vision story and your own energy as a guide to create your daily to-do list. Select three things – only three- that are bite-sized steps that will get you closer to your vision. These three things are ones that will have you giggling with delight at the end of the day when they are done. When you use your joy energy you are more likely to get them done, especially when they are small steps. For example, outlining your bio page instead of saying you are going to redo your whole website, would be a bite-sized do-able step. You’ll be amazed at how this little shift in how you manage your day will give you big leaps in joy-filled action. The momentum usually will lead to more things getting done – or you can take the rest of the day off and enjoy feeling so productive on what matters!

7. Work with a Mentor or Coach for Accountability
Save time, money and frustration by working with an expert who has already walked the path you want to take. It’s a powerful relationship when you have a dedicated champion who you can turn to for resources, support, clear thinking, and busting those limiting beliefs that hold you back.

Add a comment May 22, 2010

Let’s Talk About: Seniors and Mental Health

May has two important emphases. They are senior citizens and mental health.

May is considered a time to address the needs of seniors. I do that frequently, so I’d like to talk about mental health now.

I’m not a psychologist, but I do have training in crisis management, crititcal incident stress debriefing and a number of continuing education hours of training in counseling. Years ago, I used to be a member of the regional state advisory committee on mental health and aging.

Not all dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors have made great progress in identifying Alzheimer’s, but there’s no definitive way doctors can diagnose the disease early on, even though there are a number of early symptoms that lead up to it.

The major problem for many of us is that the disease has been co-defined with dementia. Dementia can be the result of low vitamin B12 and other diseases that the public tends to dismiss, such as depression. According to a white paper published by the editors of Focus on Healthy Aging titled “Alzheimer’s Disease,” these and other symptoms of dementia can sometimes have cognitive impairment corrected. This means we can’t rush to a layman’s declaration of Alzheimer’s.

It has been convenient for many of us who aren’t aware of a friend’s problems to simply use the terms interchangeably. This makes it possible to abandon one who truly needs the socialization of friends even though the recognition may be gone for a while.

This seems to be the case with most mental illness. We decide that nothing can be done, and therefore we do nothing at all. We avoid the necessary personal contact, and yet, as far as I’m concerned, this is the area where our mere presence can be of great help.

Friends and even relatives sometimes are reluctant to continue relating to a person who is mentally ill.

“Mary is difficult to be with.”

“John gets very angry over the slightest thing.”

So, we won’t have anything to do with Mary or John, even though we may recognize the fact that they’re both ill. Yet, simply going out of our way to say “How are you?” directly into a person’s ears can help more than a “How is Mary doing?” asked of the caregiver. The caregiver may find the details of repeatedly answering that question a troubling recitation.

The most important thing we can do for a mentally ill person is to seek out their company, and this, I’ve found, bothers some professionals who tend to be overprotective of a person’s privacy.

There are rules for home visits, as well as hospital visits. If your friend is at home, by all means call first. Say that you’d like to visit Mary or John and ask what time would be convenient.

Remember to share briefly whatever good news you may have about yourself even if you think it won’t be appreciated. Or, simply listen, knowing you’re telling the person that you care just by being there. Put warmth into your goodbye.

Do leave the diagnosis to the professionals. Just don’t assume the mentally ill don’t need you. You, as a friend, play the irreplaceable role as affirmer, one who cares.
This is your responsibility. Don’t try to “understand” it. Don’t make up your own definitions and above all, don’t abandon a friend because you think nothing can be done.

Keep in touch.

Add a comment May 19, 2010

Elena Kagan

U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan will face two major stumbling blocks as a Supreme Court nominee – her anti-military views and her ties to Goldman Sachs, a conservative group says.  “Conservatives know Kagan as the Harvard Law School Dean who tried to bar the military from college campuses, an issue she fought all the way to the Supreme Court,” the Family Research Council said on Friday in an email to supporters.

“At the time, even Ruth Bader Ginsberg, one of the court’s most liberal justices, couldn’t find a way to justify Kagan’s position.” The FRC described Kagan’s “incredibly hostile view of the military” as “well outside the American mainstream.” The group also criticized Kagan’s strong support for “hate crimes” laws. And it notes that she has no judicial experience, never having litigated a case to verdict or trial.

Kagan served on a Goldman Sachs advisory council several years ago, receiving a $10,000 stipend for her work. President Obama announced Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court on last Monday morning.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said he voted against Elena Kagan’s nomination as solicitor general because she “sidestepped” some of the questions she was asked, but he said he would keep an open mind on her current nomination.

“She will clearly get a very fair, open hearing,” Barrosso told Fox News last week. “Fundamentally, we need somebody who is going to apply the law, not write the law; someone who is going to apply the law, and not apply their own feelings,” the senator said. Barrosso said he is particularly interested to hear Kagan’s thoughts on state’s rights and the Tenth Amendment, in light of the recently passed health care law. Given that 20 states are suing the federal government over the law’s mandate requiring all Americans to buy health insurance, the case is likely to come before the Supreme Court eventually, Barrosso said.

“I think it’s reasonable to ask the nominee, ‘Tell us about your view of 10th amendment, tell us about your view of our 2nd Amendment rights, the right to own and bear arms.’” Barrosso said Attorney General Eric Holder “does not agree with my interpretation of the 2nd Amendment [and] I want to be sure that this nominee does.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Kagan “a surprising choice from a president who has emphasized the importance of understanding ‘how the world works and how ordinary people live.’” Cornyn noted that Kagan has spent her entire professional career in Harvard Square (as dean of Harvard Law School), Hyde Park (University of Chicago Law School) and inside the Washington, D.C. Beltway.

“These are not places where one learns ‘how ordinary people live,” Cornyn said in a news release on Monday. “Ms. Kagan is likewise a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience. Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court Justice.

Americans United for Life describes Kagan as an “ardent abortion supporter.” “Elena Kagan has strong ties to abortion-advocacy organizations and expressed admiration for activist judges who have worked to advance social policy rather than to impartially interpret the law,” said AUL CEO and President Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

“Americans United for Life will oppose President Obama’s attempt to reshape the Court as an activist, pro-abortion institution through which unelected judges will work to impose an out-of-the-mainstream social agenda upon the American people.” AUL says Kagan has repeatedly criticized federal regulations barring recipients of Title X family planning funds from referring women for abortion.

“A Kagan nomination means more power to the Supreme Court to make and impose personal policy and radical beliefs, robbing Americans of the ability to keep law-making to themselves and their representatives,’ AUL said in a statement.

John Podesta, a former chief of staff in the Clinton White House who now heads the Center for American Progress, is among the liberals hailing President Obama’s choice of Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court. “As my colleague in the White House, Elena Kagan worked tirelessly to expand opportunity for all Americans willing to work hard and play by the rules. She understands that the law imposes obligations on all Americans, and she will have no patience for well-heeled interest groups who believe that their wealth and influence should grant them immunity from the law,” Podesta said. Kagan, former dean of the Harvard Law School, served as a legal adviser on domestic policy in the Clinton White House.

Podesta said Kagan will be a “welcome contrast to the narrow, conservative voices which dominate today’s Supreme Court,” and he described her as a “much-needed progressive voice on a Court dominated by conservatives who believe in one set of laws for the powerful, and another set of laws for ordinary Americans.”

The Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group, said it is confident that Kagan has “a demonstrated understanding and commitment to protecting the liberty and equality of all Americans, including LGBT Americans.”

HRC President Joe Solmonese said it expects a number of issues that are important to the LGBT community to reach the Supreme Court in the next few years, including issues related to “marriage equality”; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the Defense of Marriage Act; and the new federal hate crimes law.

“When issues like these come to the Supreme Court, it is vital that we have fair-minded judges to rule on these cases,” HRC said in a news release. Let’s hope that if nomination is successful, Ms. Kagan is indeed fair minded.

Add a comment May 16, 2010

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