Standing Together

Over the past two years the world has gotten really weird, and I feel like we are more divided than ever. Wearing a mask in public used to only be for events like Mardi Gras and Halloween. Now some believe we need to wear it everywhere we go for public safety and there is a huge division on whether you should get vaccinated or not. People have different beliefs which is good, and our country has always had its share of healthy disagreements before. It just seems like the gap between us has grown at an alarming rate recently and we as people need to remember that regardless of our strong opinions, we are all on the same team. We were made in God’s image and we are His children. Therefore, we should be standing together, because division will eventually cause us all to fall.

I have two sons who I love dearly. Outside of my love for Jesus and my wife, there is no greater joy I have then being called their father.  Connor is 13 and Bryce will turn 11 next month. They have amazing tender hearts and the wills of lions. They are each other’s best friends and biggest adversaries. These boys fight every day. It flabbergasts me how much they bicker over what I think are the most ridiculous things, but to them in that moment, what they are battling over means everything. They love each other one minute and before you know it one of them is putting the other in a suplex and tries to pin him on the ground. Our living room is basically a WWE ring.

One morning I was reading the bible and set my gaze upon Proverbs 17:17. The ESV version states that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” My initial thought was that their fighting was completely normal and built in their DNA. However, when I read the NLT version (see below) I understood the verse differently. A brother is not born to fight the other, but to be there to help in a time of need. You see my boys were not born to constantly battle one another, but to be there for each other when they need help the most.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”

Proverbs 17:17, NLT

Here are two points I want you to focus on this week to try and be more others minded and help repair fractured relationships with loved ones. 

Choose Kindness

Connor and Bryce had one of their ridiculous battles yesterday morning over Connor killing a bug in our garage. Connor said it was a mosquito, definitely a spawn of the devil, but Bryce was convinced it was a something else. Our boys love animals so the only things dying in our house are flies and Satan’s blood suckers. Everything else like lizards, crickets and beetles get captured in a cup and escorted outside to the backyard. Bryce called Connor a liar, which hurt his feelings and the ensuing battle made us leave late for the ride to school.

Once we got in the car and emotions were tamed, I spoke to the boys about how it is important to stand for what you believe in. However, the quest to always be right at any cost, like calling people names, is not as important as practicing kindness. Any husbands out there hear me? Can I get an Amen from someone!? Our wives are usually wrong (I’ll pay for that when Taleen proofreads this) but being right should not be our end goal. We have the right to express our opinion, in kindness, and then come to an agreement in the end. I feel like if we were to practice more kindness, especially on social media, we would have a lot less feuds between each other.

“Be kind and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:32, BSB

Listening over Hearing

The difference between listening and hearing is about intent. When I was young, I learned about this and it is something I have worked on over the years. I try and practice listening to others in every conversation so they can explain their perspective. Here is my point. Unless you have some type of disability you can hear what someone says, but are you understanding what they are trying to communicate to you? Sometimes it just comes down to really caring about what they are talking about. 

Think about this: Are you listening to the other person and taking into consideration what they are saying, or are you just waiting to speak. Typically, people who are waiting to speak will interrupt you before you finish and that drives me nuts. In my opinion it is one of the rudest things you can do to someone, outside of putting a flaming bag of poop on their doorstep or something gross like that. Funny…….but wrong (see video below). Remember this is a guy’s blog so I can’t get too serious. Next time you are talking to someone, especially your wife, give them the consideration of your full attention.

Cheaper by the Dozen movie clip (30 sec)

Here are some ways to practice kindness and listening this week:

  • Open the door for every significant female in your life everywhere you go, including the car.
  • Go out of your way to compliment someone at home or work every day. I admit this is something I need to work at.
  • The next time you have a discussion, listen so well that you surprise the person with how you pause to speak after they are done talking.
  • Find an encouraging book or podcast that focuses on practicing kindness or becoming a better listener.

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3 Comments

  1. I always look forward to you uplifting messages, Billy. Definitely brighten my spirit.

  2. Good to hear from you Billy