Category Archives: Relationship with Authorities

I’d Rather Do it MYSELF











The word AUTHORITY brings a mental and physical response to us all. Face it, none of us likes to be told what to do. We want to steer our own ships. We have rights.

Unfortunately, rights come with responsibilities. And authorities come in all shapes and sizes and have a variety of flavors–some we find savory and some not so much. Throughout life we each have several authorities in our lives. Obviously parents start us on this journey and no doubt we’ve all kicked against them at some time or in some way. You remember: the rolling eyes, the sassy retort, the slammed door…just a little way of saying “No way do I like you telling me what to do.”  Then there are teachers who insist we sit still, do homework, etc. . .and the ever so dreaded principal’s office. Doctors and nurses can do their share of insisting we say “AH” so they can put a stick on our tongue and peer into the abyss of our throat; and heaven forbid they decide to give us a shot. No way did I want that. Surely I have rights and can say no. In these early years, we had to do what we were told–others were bigger than us. But as we aged, we became physically equal and we assumed that made us equals in every other way. Unfortunately responsible decision making is not embedded in our DNA so that it grows as we do.

We are told to submit to authorities whether they be God or His Word, governmental rule, the family authority or work authorities. These rulers are appointed by God as protectors over us. I was taught to think of an authority as an umbrella–a protection from the storm. As long as we stay under that umbrella we are safe. For example. As long as a child stays under his/her father and mother’s authority, they provide for and protect them. God holds the parents accountable for the child and deals with the child through the parents. Once we move out from under their umbrella of protection, we stand before God on our own and He deals directly with our sin. Unfortunately, most of us do not view our authorities as a protector, which means we move ourselves out into the storm unnecessarily.

When one does not understand the role of an authority, rebellion takes place. In simple terms, that means you refuse to do what you are told to do–you think you know better and take the reins of your future into your own hands.

Five evidences of a spirit of rebellion: are bitterness, stubbornness, an unteachable spirit, undisciplined living, and argumentation.

1. Bitterness. Deuteronomy 21:18,“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him. . .” In Hebrew, the word for “rebellious” is “marah” which is translated as “bitter.” Following are some evidences that a root of bitterness may be at play.

  • Difficulty in resolving conflicts
  • Acts of vengeance
  • Withdrawal
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Subtle attacks
  • Condescending communication
  • Criticism
  • Suspicion and distrust
  • Intolerance
  • Impatience
  • Disrespect
  • Misuse of authority
  • Depression

2. Stubbornness. The literal meaning in Hebrew for stubborn is “to turn away.” A stubborn person refuses to open his/her heart because their position will collapse under the light of truth.  Signs of stubbornness are:

  • People would describe you as independent–standing alone against authority.
  • You insist on handling things yourself.
  • You would sacrifice the best to say you did it your way.
  • When confronted with truth you become angry rather than repentant. 

3. An unteachable spirit.  Deuteronomy 21:18 tells us a rebellious son will not listen to teaching from his parents (and no doubt their boss, etc. as they mature).  The word “listen” means “to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc).” If you have a teachable spirit you will be an intelligent listener or one that makes an extra effort to understand what someone is trying to teach you.

Proverbs 15:31-33 says, “The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility. The signs of a teachable spirit are:

  • Hearer
  • Humble
  • Wise
  • Honored

4. Undisciplined lifestyle. “They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” (Deuteronomy. 21:20) Profligate means to be loose morally which is undisciplined activity. Drunkenness, over spending, over eating, no regard for time or appointments, slothfulness, laziness, etc. are just some of the indicators of a lack of self discipline.

5. An argumentative spirit. Proverbs 26:21,“As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.”

Manifestations of rebellion in our lives will place us in a position of bondage or slavery. Sometimes that may be an emotional or financial bondage; other times it may be a physical bondage. But rest assured, an authority will give you wings when you line up under their authority but will take measures to restrict your movement if you are kicking against their umbrella of protection. This is easy to picture when we think of someone breaking a law and having to stand before a judge in chains. Obviously they have rebelled against an authority. While you may be obeying the laws of the land, if you are in rebellion to the other authorities in your life (e.g., a husband, boss, etc. you will feel the pinch of bondage). When this type of rebellion enters in, the relationship begins to crumble. If you have a relationship that is crumbling, look to these five areas in your life and see if there is any correction needed.

I was taught “Foolish children bring grief to their father and bitterness to the one who gave them birth” (Proverbs 17:25 & 10:1). This is a good standard for making decisions. If it would make your parents proud of you–it is the right path. If it causes them grief or bitterness, you are on dangerous ground.

Unfortunately rebellion and its attributes have strong roots that wrap their tentacles around our hearts and minds. They direct our actions in inappropriate ways. We’ve all fallen victim at one time or another. They are tools/weapons that Satan forms against us because He desires we be in emotional, spiritual, mental and physical bondage. Determine before God that you will humble yourself and make amends where you have allowed rebellion into your heart and life (your relationships) and watch the chains fall away. 





F with Border





I want to make it clear that forgiveness does not mean you have to face the other person and that a resolution is reached between you. We are instructed to confront someone when we feel there has been a misunderstanding–when there is a shred of doubt as to intent. We confront to make sure we are seeing things clearly. For example, if someone murders your friend or you are date raped, you don’t need to confront them to forgive them. There may have been extenuating circumstances, but the deed is done and you are wounded–deeply wounded. Forgiveness is not going to absolve guilt. It isn’t going to right the wrong. It isn’t going to make it all go away. It happened. It was horrific. It is done. You have a RIGHT to your hurt and anger. You simply do not have the strength to carry it forward. Forgiveness is truly something you do within yourself and for yourself. It has nothing to do with the other person. Your forgiveness is not dependent on their remorse. It is dependent upon your determination to leave it behind and begin to live again.

Wikipedia: Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. 

So the question is HOW do I change my feelings and attitudes?

* Recognize the need to forgive–you need to do this for you, not them. There’s no need to tell them you forgive them. This is between you and God.

* Face the fact that all the grieving or hard feelings you can pile up are not going to fix it. If it would, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. That pile of emotional trash has taken up valuable space in your heart and life long enough. Time for a trip to the dump.

* Tell God all about it. Know that He cares. He was there and He saw. One of God’s names is The Ancient of Days. This name is significantly important to being able to trust Him with the offenses you have suffered. He is going to sit on the throne one day as the righteous judge. He isn’t going to need to call witnesses. He was there and has been there since before creation and the first morning and evening became the first day. He is our witness. No new judge (who does not know all about it) is going to swoop in to try your case. So give it to Him and let Him carry the load.

* You need to be free. God wants your heart and mind set on Him, not your offenses. Hurt feelings are a trick of Satan to rob you of joy and effectiveness. Deny him dominion over your thoughts and life.

* God commanded us to forgive because it is the only way to freedom and peace. Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.”  Your motivation for forgiveness is obedience to God and a willingness to follow His commands even when it is tough.

* You have been forgiven. Oh, yes. That same righteous judge that will judge others is going to judge you. When you recite the 23rd Psalm you are asking God to forgive you as you forgive those that have trespassed against you. When I stand before Him condemned by my failures and sins, and He looks at the stack of the offenses that I have forgiven, I want Him to have reason to forgive me lavishly. That means I must not be stingy in my forgiveness of others. My spirit of forgiveness must be complete and lavish. Forgiveness is not a random or solitary act, it is about attitude; it is a state of mind. And it takes practice and intention to keep our minds set on forgiveness. Think of forgiveness as your cruise control.

* Begin to pray for your offender. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). So this is where you get to put on the mind of Christ. His will, your will, should be that they come to repentance and a place of forgiveness. Your desire should be that when you enter heaven’s gates, you will find them there. All offenses were left on earth, and a right relationship abounds between you for eternity because of the blood of Christ necessary to cover you and them. I find it impossible to truly pray for someone and hold a grudge.

* How often? How many times? Christ says “70×7.”  That’s a lot–indeed this number was given so we would understand that there should be no limit to our forgiveness. After all, God had to give His own Son so that you might be forgiven. How can you not then freely offer forgiveness to others?

* Does forgiveness mean restoration of relationship? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Throughout our lives offenses and misunderstandings are going to come–face it, even sleek, fast cars on the best of highways seem to run into and dent one another occasionally. If the circumstances suggest that you have piled up a lot of little things to create an attitude wall between you and someone, then most likely you need to confront why those attitudes exist and tear the wall down. Hopefully with a right view, right attitudes, improved relationship skills, etc. the relationship can be restored. Counselors are especially helpful at helping you see where your view and understanding may need tweaking–(remember all the differences we discussed in Part One). A trained, neutral third party can help shed light to the situation you had closed the curtains on. This is especially true of parents and children, coworkers, spouses–people who are traveling close and at high speed alongside each other in the highway of life. Take every opportunity to find forgiveness–rest stops on the highway of life that you may journey together in love and respect.

If, however, someone has intentionally harmed you, there is no requirement that you bring them close again. For example, you might forgive the man who killed your sister, but most likely not set a place for him at your Thanksgiving table. If someone steals from you, there is no expectation that you give them the key to your home. If someone stabs you in the back in a business deal, you might not want to partner with them in the future. Just remember that God is looking at the circumstances and knows whether prudence and good discretion would dictate a separation or whether your imposed separation in the relationship is due to the fact that you are harboring unforgiveness–maybe unwilling to face wrongs that you may have done to the other one. He is the one that will judge motives and before whom the intents of our hearts will be displayed. Nothing will be hidden. Get before Him and let Him try your heart and make it new (Psalm 51:10).

* Take your heartache and pain to the foot of the cross. Leave it there. He will bear it. Get up from your knees and pick up His cross–spreading His love and the story of forgiveness and the good news of the kingdom. He’s got your heavy burdens–He can carry them. His good news is light–it’s a good exchange. Take the deal.

Matthew 11:28-30: Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

I don’t normally post articles this long or even this many articles in a week. So it’s been a heavy week for me and no doubt for your in-box–lots to learn about forgiveness. I have worked hard to get as much before you as possible so you will have the resources you need to take the journey to forgiveness. You may skim over these things today, but no doubt the time will soon come that you need these principles. Bookmark them as you might put a pain reliever in the medicine closet–so you’ll know right where it is when you find you are hurting.



F with Border





You’ve tried overlooking a comment, attitude or action but it haunts you when you lay your head on your pillow. Tears stream down your cheeks and the pain is so real it feels as if your heart may truly burst. You revisit those moments over and over, looking at it from every possible angle. You cannot let it go. Why did they say or do that?

It’s time to do something about it: you must confront the person and the issue. You’ll find this weight to get heavier and heavier until you take steps to lay it down. God tells us that in these circumstances we should go to our brother. Now I have been guilty of saying, “They are the one that is wrong; they know what they did. They should call me.” But truth be known, I’m the one hurt so I own the problem. I must take the initiative (Matthew 2:18). This is not a blank check for offenders. Matthew 5:23 gives specific instructions regarding how we should deal with matters where we have been the offender/the aggressor.

Take some time out to check your heart and motives: Reconciliation, not retaliation, must be your goal.

Step 1: Get out the Template and work through the conversation in your mind. Write it out if it helps you. Focus on the facts; remove the emotion.

Step 2: Set a time to talk–do not just burst in on them expecting to be heard. Choose a mutually agreeable time and a private space. You want to be on an even level for this conversation. So, for example, if it is a conversation with your boss you would not want to have it in their office while they sit behind their desk. Suggest you meet in a conference room or in the cafeteria or for coffee after work. Setting a time to talk signals the other person that something is important to you. What you don’t want to do is signal that this meeting will be a re-enactment of the high noon showdown at the OK Corral. Remember that the goal of this meeting is reconciliation and you want to signal the importance of the other person in your life from this first indication that you need to have a discussion.

Step 3: Meet them. Thank them for coming. Reaffirm the importance of the relationship to you, to your company, your family, etc.

Step 4: Using the I language template in Part 3, tell the person how you FEEL as simply as possible without assigning blame or exhibiting emotion. For example: “Yesterday, I walked away from our conversation feeling unsettled and indeed it bothered me as I lay down last night. So I wanted to just talk with you to make sure I haven’t offended you in some way and to share my feelings. I felt _____________ when you _____________ because__________________.

Step 4: Take a deep breath. Stop. Be quiet. Let what you have said settle in for a minute. Listen if they begin to talk–without interrupting. Let them say everything they want to say. Let them get it all out.

Step 5: Validate their understanding. Ask them if they understand why you might have the feelings you do. Suggest that in the future you would appreciate it if they would ____________________ because it hurts you when they do ___________ (ex. refrain from talking to others about you behind your back, because it ruins your reputation).

Step 6: Set a penalty if it happens again. Hopefully they understand and will apologize for hurting you. Suggest a next step if their actions continue. For example: “I’m glad we had this talk and time to clear the air. Our friendship is important to me. I’m going to assume that we have settled this. But should something come up between us again, would it be ok with you if I hear anything else that I call you and we come back to this table to talk about it? You can understand this is important to me.”

Step 7: If you have to meet a second time and they still deny the issue or show that they are not going to be considerate of your feelings; suggest that if the problem continues you’d like to invite a third party to the conversation.

I would love to think that there are all wonderful people out there who love me and will try to understand me and nurture our relationship. All I can do is put my desire to have a good relationship on the table; I can’t change their heart toward me if they do not love me. So, after this conversation, if they do not show signs of love and concern, then I walk away from the relationship and trust God to change their heart. I cannot change a hardened heart; only God can do that.

I have found that there are some people who utilize “snipper” behavior. They talk behind your back, say and do unkind things, etc. They do so because they are operating undercover. My personality type avoids confrontation at all costs. I want things to be smooth. I want to save the relationship. This means that taking these 7 steps are hard for me so I walk away and hide my feelings–just stuff them. Unfortunately, this behavior gives the snipper power. When they get by with hurting you and you do nothing, they become more aggressive. This is how co-dependent relationships develop. Unfortunately I find I often become the victim and play that role until I explode. How much better it would be to stop the aggressor at each step. I have had to learn to step up and take this posture. It is freeing. Shine a light on a snipper’s activities and they will cease. It will be up to them whether they are willing to change their attitudes and actions to save the relationship. Stuffing my feelings to do so is totally ineffective. Why do you stuff your feelings rather than take the 7 steps?

Hopefully, using these simple 7-steps to guide your conversation will give you confidence that you can have a peaceful but pointed conversation that will enable you to keep your accounts clear as you walk day by day. Ephesians 4:26 exhorts us to take care of any issues within a day’s time.

Do I get this right every time? No–but I’m getting better at it. Friends and family are rare; they are precious. Fight to keep them. Lay down your grievances. Trust God.



F with Border





As I teach the class, I draw a carrot on the board.  This carrot represents the way we handle our emotions. The men in my classes are very good at stuffing their feelings. And, when these feelings become overwhelming, they self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. They aren’t addicts because they like to party; they are addicts because they have been hurt and want to stop thinking/hurting–at least for a little while. When asked what kinds of things they stuff, they can quickly fill up the board with answers like: anger, disappointments, rejection, failure, shame, regrets, remorse.  The interesting thing about a carrot is that there is this big reservoir underground, but yet above ground there is evidence of what is underground: things like bad attitudes, anger, an argumentative spirit, criticism, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, etc. As human beings, we just can’t successfully hide these emotions from others no matter how hard we try.

Where do all of these emotions come from?  What is the root cause of all this pain? The answer: THE HURT FEELING! We need to learn how to face and manage our feelings and emotions. Unfortunately, there are no classes on this important subject. About the best coaching any of us receives along this line is a mom’s insistence that we and our siblings say we are sorry when caught fighting (which, of course, is always done from a humble and contrite heart). It’s no wonder depression and anxiety are wide-spread.

Where did the phrase “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me” come from? WHAT A CROCK! Names hurt. We are such tender-hearted creatures. Oh, some look tough, but let me tell you they aren’t. I have watched the tears flow down the face of the tough guy, gang leaders, etc. Why do we tell little boys they shouldn’t cry–should bottle up their emotions? No wonder these men end up in my class. Our feelings and emotions are about all we can truly own–they are ours. And with no experience or training in handling hurt, we humans find ourselves in rocky water quickly.

There are problems with emotions:

A) Emotions and feelings are linked to our physical and mental well being. Even if it’s as simple as the fact that the baby kept you up all night, you are going to be raw the next day–all day. How many times have my husband and I found we were arguing over nothing–NOTHING–because we were both so tired we could barely go on. (Did I mention we had four children?) But in this exhausted state, things can be said and done that are not easily undone, much less forgiven or forgotten. Do you recall that when Satan came to tempt Christ, he did so after He had been fasting–was in a weakened physical state?

B) Emotions, thoughts and feelings are most likely not facts. We need to talk to the person that hurt us because there is a 99.9% chance that they did not intend to do so. We are all so unique and process events, words, etc. so very differently. Myers Briggs points out there are at least 16 different personality types and they all process experiences differently. Bottom line, we just all see things a little differently. Some other differences include: race, sex, ethnicity, culture, age, education, life experiences, wellness (physically and emotionally), maturity, etc. And we all have different communication styles. Being from the South, I find people from the North to be somewhat abrasive in their directness. No doubt we Southerners test their patience. It’s no wonder that we struggle to understand each other. Jesus taught His disciples in Luke 17:1 that it is impossible but that offenses will come. Get ready, no one gets out unbruised. But a wise man or woman will learn to confront their feelings and validate relationships as they journey through life with their loved ones and friends.

The second part of Luke 17:1 says, “But woe to him through whom they come.” It may be your nature to be critical, judgmental, sarcastic, abrasive, down-right rude or mean to others. If others have suggested that you fall into any of these categories, it may be time to rethink how you approach others if you’re not interested in discovering what God means when He suggests that ‘woe’ would be credited to your account for such actions.

C) What is perception vs. what is reality?  When I was a little girl, my sister was absolutely beautiful (and she still is). Everyone who saw us gasped, “Oh, isn’t Patsy beautiful!” Realizing they had overlooked me, they’d pat me on the head and say something like, “And, Carol is such a smart little girl.” Well, it didn’t take me long to realize that something was not great about the way I looked. As I became a teenager, I remember the boys teasing me about being skinny–having skinny legs. The good news is that as I aged I’ve outgrown skinny and indeed have tried several diets. And while I probably won’t grace the pages of any magazine in the near future, I am not condemned to wearing a bag over my head. But for many years, when I looked in the mirror all I could see was an ugly, skinny girl–no one of worth or value. The interesting thing is that my sister thought she must not be smart enough. We must test what comes into our hearts. My husband tells the story of a bum on the streets who thought he was worthless. A major university did testing on these men and found he had a very high IQ. With a changed outlook, he said he was no longer shaving an idiot (as he’d seen himself from a child), but shaving a genius. He went on to complete several degrees, hold several patents and became president of the Mensa Society. He had not changed, but his perception had changed–and perception makes a world of difference. Proverbs 4:23 teaches us to guard our hearts for out of it are the issues of life. Don’t let garbage come in. Learn to test and try the thoughts and opinions that come your way.

D) Could you have seen things through eyes that did not see the whole picture? Many times this is especially true of children who may see their parents’ divorce as somehow their fault or a lack of love for them, etc. Parents face difficult circumstances that cannot always be explained to or understood by a child. Husbands and wives often need to take a deep breath and put themselves in the shoes of their spouse—after all, we all know that men and women come from different planets. We don’t even speak the same language or have the same emotional needs. Could it be possible that your boss is under pressure that you don’t know anything about and their instructions to you are for your own good–for your protection? A friend recently shared some hurts received as a child. He said he had learned to let those things go because he realized that his parents were barely 20 when he was born. Looking back he could see that they were very young and totally inexperienced at this parenting thing. They did the very best they could. Their parenting skills had been passed down through many generations. Could they have been more effective? Possibly. But why should he harbor hard feelings toward the two people who had loved and sacrificed for him when they did the best they knew how to do? He only wished he’d come to this truth many years ago as he wasted precious years harboring resentment that ate him up inside and hurt his relationship with his parents. Could you be harboring a childhood bitterness toward a sibling that has grown up to become a wonderful person?

E) Is it something that you really should just let go? Can you forget it, overlook it or make an excuse for it? If so, do so. Life is too short to major on the minors. Proverbs 19:11 tells us it is to our honor to overlook an offense. You’ll know you have done so when it never comes to mind again. BUT. . if you lay your head down at night and it comes back to you over and over, you need to confront it. This is Biblical and Jesus tells His disciples how to keep their accounts short. Issues should be dealt with as they happen. I wouldn’t suggest you harbor some hard feeling for years that the other person knows nothing about and then suddenly bring it up. Most likely the other person is going to think you are crazy—won’t even remember the event. And in all truth, if you have been carrying an offense around for years and haven’t dealt with it appropriately, it is no doubt way out of perspective at this point.

F) Can you articulate your feelings? Is your heart’s desire a reconciliation of the relationship vs. an opportunity to voice your opinion or get back at the other person? If so, then you are ready to take the road to understanding and forgiveness. The first stop on this journey is prayer–tell God all about it. God will transform your heart and He will work on the heart of others. When you are prayed up, it is time to take the next step. Many times we feel we need to let off steam or gather advocates for our way of seeing things. In doing so, however, we damage the reputation of others and build a great divide between us and others. Unfortunately, none of these others can bring the resolution and peace that we need. We need to learn to limit our conversations about misunderstandings to God and to the source of our hurt. Only they hold the key to wipe away the hurt. 

Next, in Part 3 of Forgiveness, let’s look at our communication patterns and their role in causing hurt to others.









Does, or has, the word rebellion describe your heart toward any current or past authority in your life? Maybe you’ve been described as ‘stubborn,’ ‘hard-headed’ or ‘strong-willed’. Rebellion is often manifested as anger; its companion is anger.

The Bible tells us that the sin of rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (I Samuel 15:23). We know that witchcraft opens the door to all sorts of demonic attacks on the mind and heart, which will leave you without peace. Since God places rebellion in the same category as witchcraft, we need to take the possible impact of past or present rebellion seriously and deal with it properly. You can try to blame the unrest in your soul on circumstances or others, but until you come clean before God that you have, or have had, a rebellious heart, asking Him to remove it far from you, you will continue to be tormented. Complete healing will come as you confess your rebellion before God and to those you have wronged through your rebellion. This open confession and intentional turning will help you find forgiveness and experience freedom.

If you have a rebellious child, pray for them and carefully teach them. Unfortunately, we each rule our own hearts and the Bible clearly says that even a child is known by his doings (Proverbs 20:11). A rebellious child who does not lay aside his rebellion before God will carry this heart attitude into his or her teen years and on into adulthood. Rebellion can show up in many ways–dress, language, lifestyle. But even if you have successfully masked your inward rebellion from others, you know if it is lodged in your heart. Rebellion makes deep roots, destroys your soul and wounds those around you. It causes conflict and pain to others as much as the inner pain and conflict that it wields on the one who carries the rebellion. It is often the root cause of broken relationships. As you age, an unrepentant, rebellious heart will cause emotional stress, anxiety, and depression–which leads to all sorts of health issues.

If you were a rebellious child, or find as an adult that rebellion toward authority has crept in, get honest before yourself and God. Reject your rebellious heart. Give it no place. Seek forgiveness. Find freedom. Find peace. Find healing.

Proverbs 3:7-8 “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.”