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Giving And Relationships

Giving And Relationships

Giving And Relationships: let’s dive into what the Bible has to say.
As readers can guess from previous Singles Advice pieces here, the Bible isn’t often explicit when it comes to the dating world, as the dating world didn’t really exist during the time of the Old and New Testament. Nevertheless, we can often find universal truths that we can apply to particulars, such as having a guy (or girl) who doesn’t initiate.

What Does the Bible Say about Giving and Relationships?

Many Christians staunchly believe that men should initiate and that women should respond. But for those of us who fall more on the egalitarian side of the dating spectrum, what are some other passages in Scripture that indicate there should, at least, be an equal amount of initiation reciprocation (if not more so from the man)?

Let’s analyze what Scripture has to say about giving and relationships.

Ephesians 5:25-33 says for husbands to love their wives to the point where they give themselves in the same way that Christ gave himself for the church. Obviously, when you start texting someone (or go on a few dates), you’re not marrying them.

But a Christian man who wants to pursue a godly relationship with you should have marriage in mind as an end goal.
How Christ loved the church and gave himself for her sets the bar extremely high. Christ died for the church. If he won’t even send a text back, how much will he contribute in giving to your relationships?

Ergo, if throughout a sparking relationship a man shows no initiative, no responsivity, no reciprocity, he probably does not intend to pursue a godly relationship with you.

One could argue that perhaps he struggles with anxiety. Perhaps text messages or FaceTime calls scare him. He prefers in-person interactions. To those who say this, I would suggest that even if this is the case, if a man wants to pursue a godly relationship with you, he will trust God will help him work through barriers such as texting anxiety.
Although, ladies, this doesn’t leave us off the hook.

This doesn’t mean we expect to sit back and let the men do all the work in a relationship. A dating relationship strives for a marriage, and a marriage reflects Christ’s union with the church. The Bible illustrates marriage as a body (Ephesians 5:22-24). Body parts work together.

I’ve spoken to several Christian men who have expressed frustrations that women in the church also don’t reciprocate. That they don’t message open-ended texts, don’t initiate dates, don’t show any interest in strengthening the relationship through good communication.

What Does the Bible Say about Love Languages?

I have heard many Christians push back against my stance that there should be some hint of initiation from both sides in a dating relationship. “Maybe words of affirmation isn’t their love language, Hope. Perhaps they react better to physical touch or gifts.”

Before we dive into the possible biblical roots of these love languages, I’d like to explore what initiation looks like in lieu of the five love languages. For those unfamiliar, a love language is a way a particular person responds best to a relationship stimuli. Everyone has a different main love language. The five are:

Words of Affirmation: Responding best to words of encouragement
Quality Time: Craving time with another person
Acts of Service: Feeling the most loved when someone does an act of service for them (washing the dishes, etc.)
Physical touch: Responding best to hugs, hand-holding, kisses
Gifts: Feeling the most loved when a significant other presents them with a gift
Now, before we analyze the biblical basis for these, I’d like to argue that one can initiate whilst speaking to the medium of a love language in which a significant other responds best.

Allow me to explain:
One can initiate by sending a gift (gifts). By suggesting you go on a date (quality time), by brushing an elbow (touch), by holding open a door (acts of service). Initiating doesn’t just happen by words.

As for verses, there doesn’t appear to be specific passages that say, “You must give gifts to those who respond best to gifts.” But we can see through Jesus’ acts of love, that he does cater to the five love languages.

He completes many acts of service (John 1:14), brings us love through his word (John 1), gives us the gift of salvation (John 3:16), heals and takes up our burdens (Psalm 55:22) and allows us to see and feel his wounds to know his love for us, and devoted his time to his ministry.

Whether we believe strongly in love languages or not, we know that if a man (or woman) wants to pursue a relationship with us, they will initiate in some capacity. They will attempt to decode how we respond best to romantic gestures and will do so in a godly manner.
Please understand that I write this from a place of understanding and empathy. As a person who has a giving heart, I often will throw one hundred percent of myself into a relationship only to wind up disappointed in the end.

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Some of the best ways to know if someone truly wants to pursue a relationship is to have a conversation with them and ask them about their intentions. Another way is to pray that God helps you to exercise discernment.

If the Lord tells you to stop messaging and allow for him (or her) to start a conversation, listen to his leading. It hurts not to receive texts for weeks or to know that they’ve dropped communication with you, especially after all the time you invested.

But better to let go of a relationship now that doesn’t reciprocate than to end up in a marriage where you have a lukewarm partner.

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Helping Teenagers At Home Fall In Love With The Bible

teenagers

Five Minute Bible Devotions for Teenagers…
One Minute Prayers for Teenagers…
Resources like these flood the Christian market. They accomplish what they intend—to get a quick dose of Scripture and biblical encouragement in front of a busy teen.

But teenagers need so much more.
In a culture of shifting morality, confusing choices, and peer pressure, teens need solid biblical literacy to help them navigate a broken world with clarity and truth. Biblical ignorance equals a shaky foundation, one which can’t weather the storms of cultural pressure, anti-biblical worldviews, and simple questions such as “Why do you believe in God?” and “What is truth?” The Bible holds the answer to those questions. It’s the firm foundation that can withstand those storms.

Yet many teenagers never dig deep into the Word. In my own life, personal Bible study has kept me strong and helped me navigate the questions and confusion that comes with being a teen in a rapidly shifting culture.

Why Do Teenagers Need Bible Literacy?

1. To know who God is—and how to follow Him.

The Bible is a book about God. But so often, we make the Bible a book about us. We handpick verses that seem applicable to our lives and focus on them. As we do so, we miss out on the purpose of the Bible and dilute our understanding of who God is. If we don’t know who God is, we won’t know how to follow Him.

2. To grow in spiritual maturity.

It’s possible to have Biblical literacy without spiritual maturity. Anyone can have head knowledge without growing in heart knowledge. But it’s not possible to grow in spiritual maturity without growing in Biblical literacy. By knowing who God is, we grow in our understanding of who we, as His followers, are called to be. Biblical literacy and spiritual maturity go hand in hand.

3. To navigate our cultural moment.

The Bible enlightens our cultural moment. The words “abortion” and “transgender” may not be found within its pages, but even so, Scripture is relevant to these issues and so many more. The Word of God does not bend and change with the culture; nor is it crammed into the mold of one particular society.

Instead, it sheds light beyond the culture by sharing unwavering truths about who God is, who we are, and how to worship and follow Jesus Christ. These unchanging truths enable us to live beyond our cultural moment and answer our cultural questions by being rooted in the firm foundations of biblical truth.

4. To learn and understand absolute truth.

The Bible is a book of absolute truth. It’s inerrant and infallible, because it contains the very Words of God. Yet teenagers are growing up in a post-truth world—one that may admit the reality of truth, but elevates feelings and personal preference above absolute truth.

Without truth, we don’t know right from wrong. We don’t know how to live. But with Jesus, who is, “the way, the truth, and the life” we have a model. For Christian teens to stand strong, we must know and love the truth. In order to know and love the truth, we must know and love the Bible.

5. To understand the gospel.

The story of salvation is the thread running through all of Scripture. In the Bible we find the holiness of God and the depth of our sin outlined in humanity’s fall. We find the grace and mercy of God in sending Jesus to die for our sins. We anticipate the hope of a new heaven and new earth in the picture of future restoration.

These things have the ability to transform the way we live. A teen who understands and lives the message of the gospel is one who will walk in the power of a life transformed by Christ.

How Can We Teach Teenagers Scripture (and Equip Them to Study it on Their Own)?

It’s not hard to see that teens need Scripture. What’s harder is getting teens to fall in love with studying the Bible. But it’s entirely possible.

1. Lead by example.

If you’re a parent or youth worker, you have the ability to lead by example. Do you love the Bible? Do your teens see you reading and studying it? Can they observe how it’s changed your life and how you live it out? Do you treat the Word of God with reverence and respect? It’s deeply impactful to see an adult regularly applying these practices in ways that are accessible and approachable. As teens see your love for the Bible, you’re taking the first step for them to love it too.

2. Study corporately.

I remember my mom regularly reading the Bible out loud to my sister and me and talking to us about Scripture as we were growing up. Come alongside your teen in studying the Bible. Meet with them every day or once a week to read it together and/or discuss what you’ve been reading.

Learn: How To Cast Out Unhealthy Patterns From Family

Make the Bible an ongoing conversation in your home. For youth leaders, do Bible studies with your youth group that dig deep into Scripture. Instead of thinking teens can’t handle intense Bible study, come alongside them and learn together.

3. Raise expectations.

When my parents gave me my first study Bible at the age of eleven, there was an expectation in place. They expected that I wouldn’t waste the gift, but instead use it well. I would read it, study it, and take care of it. Their expectations set me up for success. Because they raised the bar, I rose to the challenge.

What do we expect from our teens? Do we expect them to be able to study the Bible? Or do we expect them to think it’s a boring book that isn’t relevant to their life? Do we expect them to be able to glean truths from Scripture? Or do we think the only thing they can handle is a spoon-fed message in a light devotional?

4. Cultivate the right heart (instead of just striving for the right actions).

Actions matter—but heart attitude matters more. Instead of simply telling teens what to do, discuss why. Talk about why the Bible is the inspired Word of God, why it matters, and how it transforms us. Allow teens to wrestle with hard questions, and point them to Scripture as their guide. Cultivate the right heart by making the Bible less about a checkmark on a to-do list and more about an intimate relationship with the God who loves them.

5. Teach them the tools.

Studying the Bible is intense work that requires correct tools. I’ve talked to teens who desire to better understand the Bible, but they don’t know how. Let’s not hinder our teenagers from growing in biblical literacy because they lack the tools they need.

Tools like comprehension, interpretation, and application. Being able to read a text through the eyes of the original readers, understanding how cross-references work, and how to consult trusted commentaries. If you want your teen to study the Bible, you must become a teacher who is equipped in the tools.

This process isn’t easy, especially if you’re a new student of the Word yourself, but there are many resources available to help you and your teen along the journey. You don’t need to have a Masters of Divinity to teach your teen Scripture. All you need is to be present in their lives and committed to learning together.

Becoming Teens of the Word

Lest I make it sound like teaching teens to study the Bible is comparable to teaching them algebra, let’s not forget that it’s the Holy Spirit who enlightens our eyes and enables us to glean truth from Scripture. Pray for God to light a spark of passion in your teen’s heart for His Word.

Like I say in my book, Love Riot: A Teenage Call to Live With Relentless Abandon for Christ, “I don’t want to make this sound like a ritual or a dry, educational process. I don’t want you to think of reading your Bible simply as a discipline and not as a joy. As you dig deeper into Scripture, consistently letting its words wash over your heart, that’s exactly what it becomes: a joy… It’s not always fun or easy.

But I can tell you with 100 percent certainty it’s always worth it. Ask God to give you a fiery passion for His Word. He will. And when the fire dims and flickers, ask again.”

That’s what God can do in the heart of your teen. Ever since the day I received my first “adult Bible”, this truth has been ingrained in my heart: God’s Word has the power to change a life.

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Here is How To Heal From A Broken Relationship

Healing a Broken Relationship

It would be extremely nice if healing a broken relationship could be achieved with the right Hallmark card and some beautiful flowers, but it doesn’t work that way. We are required to bring so much more to the table.

Healing a broken relationship is a long process. Sometimes it can take months or even years. Besides because bringing together two people who have moved far apart takes tremendous time and effort, one must prepare accordingly. You would not take off hiking in the woods for two weeks with nothing but what you could fit into your pants pockets. You’d starve to death. Instead, you’d pack everything needed for going the long haul.

You must get ready for your big trip, and once you’re as prepared as you can be, you start by pacing yourself. You don’t start running. You don’t skip. Whatever you do is walk at any easy, comfortable pace. An individual walks understanding that you have a long way to go. Same with a relationship you’re trying to heal. Take it slowly, and take it steadily.

You can’t plan ahead with the same kind of exactness as when planning a hiking or camping trip, but you can certainly bear in mind that, just like with outdoor expeditions, healing a broken relationship will entail all kinds of steps, periodic assessments of progress, and fruitful planning.

It won’t, in other words, be effortless.

Whenever it comes to creating a loving, healthy bond out of what may now be only a source of stress and regret, there’s one thing you must have with you the whole time. And, like water on a hiking trip, it has to be the one thing you know for sure will never deplete: the fullness of God in your heart.
Maintaining a cracked relationship is all about loving and giving from a heart filled with God’s compassionate presence. A heart filled with the joyous appreciation of all that God can make of us. The heart wants to give…to give and give until the object of its giving is at a loss to do anything but, finally, accept that love.

That is how you heal a broken relationship. As an individual you give out of the fullness of your heart, which refills itself, right up to the top, in exact equal measure to whatever its love is joyfully given to another.

The opener, of course, is to learn how to never run out of the fullness of God’s love.

Here are some steps we must follow in order to find healing from a broken relationship

Turn to the Source

In the evening of that same day, after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. The town in its entirety gathered at the door to watch. Thus Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. Nonetheless because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak. Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to a secluded place to pray (Mark 1:32-35).

There’s nothing I or anyone else can say that more perfectly captures how vital it is that every one of Jesus’ followers takes time out every day to go to their own “isolated place” and pray to God for strength and inspiration.

It amazes me how few Christians set aside time in their everyday lives to put down their concerns of the moment, sit, read Scripture, and pray to God. How much better would your life be if you took the time to do that every single day? Are you too busy running here and going there, taking care of this and handling that, to remember to care for the soul God has entrusted to you?

Present are many great reasons to regularly pray to God as there are to live and breathe and stay alive. A tile of the greatest is the good it can do you as you struggle to heal a broken relationship.

Give Love

Another key is to give your love. Give your peace. Give your generosity of spirit. Give your heart. Give, above all, your forgiveness.

We say or hear that it’s better to give than to receive all the time. Nonetheless how often do we actually give rather than receive? Exactly how often do we really experience just how true that saying is?

Well, if you’re trying to bond with someone you’ve broken with, it’s time you got back in touch with the truth about the real relationship between giving and receiving. Being Openhanded and giving all the love you have to another person isn’t the only way you can ever heal with them. It’s also the only way God can keep giving and giving all of his love to you.

If you keep giving, are you eventually going to get depleted? Well, what must God’s children do if we want to make sure we never run out of the love we keep on giving? Turn and run to God and get more. Only he can keep us in full supply of all the love we need if we’re going to keep giving as much as we can.

Remember the above passage? Jesus felt it necessary, after all his giving and healing, to turn very soon thereafter to his Father in order to replenish his supply of love, compassion, and strength. We should do nothing different. Don’t ever forget, when you’re doing the loving business of healing with another, to return, every single day, to the source of all our healing.

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Great Ways To Handle Negative Social Media Comments

Social Media comments

Handling Negative Social Media Comments

The advent of technology has changed the way we perceived life.
As modern learning, the World Wide Web and AI slowly penetrate into the various aspects of our day-today living, businesses are also not spared from being impacted.
To adopt to the new ways and immense scope of this scheme, now eCommerce stores have emerged enabling door-step delivery and thus maximizing consumer convenience.
In the same way social media has now become the fastest medium for maximum outreach in case of almost all industries.

Social media is today the simplest and one of the most affordable ways to not just boost engagement with the current audience but also reach the potential leads.
But more often than not, the conversation turns negative with angry customers and complaints on these platforms.
Both the large and small businesses (with even minimum social media presence) have already experienced this and chances are high to go through this soon if you already haven’t confronted with such a situation yet.

How to handle this kind of Social Media negativity!

Negative social media comments can trigger a sense of embarrassment and frustration, but remember that it is how you respond and deal with it that your audience will remember.
Here are some ways to help you respond to negative comments.

• Respond as Soon as Possible–When an angry customer posts something on your social media page, it is evident that they want to be heard. The last thing they want at this point is being ignored. When you respond to adverse comments immediately it shows that you care about what they say.
You can alter their perspective about your business by addressing their concerns in a direct way.
A prompt response also shows your other audience that you acknowledge these problems and care about them.

It shows that you are willing to correct things if they have issues.
The opposite is conveyed when you ignore them. You will come across plenty of airline companies and ecommerce platforms to respond proactively to unhappy customers who have experienced delayed or cancelled flights or whose order did not reach them timely or in the perfect condition.

In the former case very little can be done, but addressing their concern actively can subdue the tension to a great extent.

• Don’t Delete the Comment – It can be quite tempting for you to get rid of the negative comments but you can end up creating an even bigger problem that way. The commenter is going to know that the comment has been deleted and this can create further problems.

Also Read: Singles And Social Media: How To Scale Back And Find Freedom

The commenter can get tormented because of this and can continue to post negative comments on this specific platforms as well as other social media channels. What could have just been one complaint can now convert to multiple issues.
However, there is just one exception to this which can occur if the commenter uses illicit, profane or offensive language. In that case, the post is deleted and the user is blocked and removed from the platform.

• Try to Keep Your Cool – It is not common that an internet toll or an irate customer is looking for an emotional response to their post. So you must see to it that you do not take it personally or challenge it negatively.

Keep it in mind that this is being made in public and you are being judged by not just the poster but also your other followers. So act like you are dealing with an angry group of people. Therefore that end goal of yours should not always be about just being right.
If the comment is clearly an attack or is instigating, it is better to let go.

• Don’t Get Defensive – This is one of the biggest mistakes that you must avoid. Place in mind the fact –“Customer are right always!”.
By giving excuses you actually make an irate customer more irritated. So there is high probability that they will never return to do business with you. So as a response, you can apologize first for their bad experience and then tell them how you are planning to resolve it.

• Take the Conversation Offline – It is always suggested that you take the conversation offline or away from the public eyes as soon as possible. After addressing a negative comment you should not continue to converse on your page.
Instead encourage the user to change the conversation to a
more private place like use the direct message or private chat of the social media platform where the complaint was posted.

It’s always cool to utter something like “Really sorry to hear about your experience with our service/product. Can you kindly private message us regarding the details of your trouble and your contact info so that our customer care executives can reach you and we can deliver you with a solution at the earliest?”.
This will move the post away from prying eyes.

Some people are going to complain just for some attention. But when you move the conversation to a private setup this will keep them from drawing more negativity to your site.

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