Is it easy, or even enjoyable for you to make sweeping remarks of condemnation toward homosexuals? Have you ever used the tired cliché’, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” yet never taken the time to even get to know a gay person, much less love them? It’s much easier to be indifferent to a faceless, nameless stereotype than it is to actually get to know someone different than you. Jesus was called a “friend of sinners” by the self-righteous religious gatekeepers of his day. How about you?
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
One Small Step: Remember, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Memorize Ephesians 4:2, or write it out and use as your screen saver on your computer.
As a whole, our culture has worked hard to address the issue of prejudice in our world. But even though most of us behave with a fair amount of tolerance and acceptance toward others outwardly, somewhere within the recesses of our hearts, there can still remain deep-seated resentments. For me, this bigotry typically rears its ugly head when I arrogantly choose to treat others as faceless, nameless strangers. It’s only when I humbly take the time to get to know these “strangers” that I begin to love them as my brothers and sisters.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3
One Small Step: Sincerely commit to cultivating a relationship with a neighbor or coworker who has a different cultural or racial background.
Check out this challenge.
Have you ever described a certain relationship with someone as a “love/hate” relationship? Do you have a close friendship that’s unhealthy? Do you tend to relapse into destructive behavior whenever you’re with a certain person or group? Another form of codependency is found in these destructive relationships.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
One Small Step: As painful as this step may be, it is important to distance yourself from these kind of relationships. To truly love yourself and the other person, demands a release from the insanity.
Can you not make a decision without consulting a particular family member? Do you feel the need to tell another person how to run their life? Another way you can be addicted to people is through enmeshed relationships. That’s codependency.
Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:4-5
One Small Step: Read Melody Beattie’s book, “Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself”
Could you be classified as a hoarder? Do you have to rent storage space just to keep all your stuff? Stuff you never use, because it’s in storage? Let that sink in for a moment.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
One Small Step: Clean out a closet and take the stuff you haven’t used or worn in the past year to Goodwill.
In debt from Christmas? How ironic is that; the holiday where we celebrate Christ’s humble birth, we find ourselves captive to the very thing from which He came to set us free? Perhaps, our credit card debt from Christmas is just the tip of the iceberg. Many Americans are buried under mountains of debt. We may think buying something on credit will help meet an important “need” in our life, but ultimately, it only ends up enslaving us, keeping us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.
The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
One Small Step: Check out Dave Ramsey’s website.
Bad temper? Can your anger become uncontrollable in certain situations? Do people have to walk on eggshells around you? It’s okay to experience anger, even Jesus got angry, but when it’s uncontrolled and hurtful to others, then it becomes destructive and sinful.
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26
One Small Step: Write out the Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
“The drugs were actually prescribed to me, but now I can’t stop.” A person can become easily trapped in such a predicament. Level with your doctor and get help.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
One Small Step: Make an appointment with your doctor.
Would people be surprised to know you are addicted to drugs? The fear of being shamed by your community can be a powerful deterrent to ever seeking help. But staying silent, or pretending there’s not a problem will only serve to keep you in your addiction. If you want to get well, you have to tell someone who can help you.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
One Small Step: There’s healing power in confessing to someone you trust. Do it today.
Do you suspect someone close to you is an alcoholic? How would you feel if they stopped drinking? Relieved? Maybe not. Surprisingly, some people have been a part of such a dysfunctional relationship with an alcoholic for so long, the thought of them getting sober can be threatening. Could you possibly be enabling the alcoholic to function in their disease so as not to threaten the status quo? Sometimes in our attempt to help someone who’s fallen, we find ourselves in the pit as well.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1
One Small Step: Find a support group for people codependent with alcoholics. Check out Al-anon or Celebrate Recovery.