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My Thoughts

Are you a failure if you quit your project mid-stream?

There are times when a plan must be aborted due to outside factors. Sometimes a plan does not work out, there is a point of diminishing returns on all failing projects, and knowing when to walk away from something can save you a lot of futile effort and heartache. If a scenario like this happens to you and you possess the foresight to abandon the project before it's too late, I don't see that as quitting, and neithr should you. The success of an entire plan does not usually rest on one individual, or one individual idea, there are other factors--which are out of your control--that can cause it to go down. You must evaluate whether the project continues to merit your time. It is easy to get tied up in something, spending the rest of your life pouring your time and energy into it unnecessarily. If you have found yourself doing this, it is usually due to a lack of judgment, or an abundance of pride. Don't let pride make your business decisions. You must be able to determine when to breathe life, time, and money into a project, but equally as important is knowing how to read the writing on the wall, and pulling out of something before it drags you down with it. There are many battles in each war. There will be another day. There will be another opportunity.

Is it wrong to get angry?

There is a ditch on both sides of anger. On one side is a wimpy, non-aggressive person who feels guilty if they ever raise their voice; on the other side is someone who tears the house down when they explode in rage. Both of these side will beat themselves up in condemnation. We have never been taught to process this emotion, because we did not understand its purpose. First of all, God is the author of your emotions. That includes anger. Anger is not evil, it is a tool, and it has a purpose. Ephesians 4:26 - Be ye angry and sin not, and let not the sun go down on your wrath. Proverbs 16:32 - He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Titus 1:7 - Don't be soon angry. This says three things: It is not uncommon or wrong to be angry. You have the power and responsibility to use your anger as a tool. You decide how long it takes for your anger to be expressed. Anger works like adrenalin. It is a "power emotion" that produces the fuel you need to change your circumstances. Anger is a "break through" emotion. It empowers you to "break through" barriers and difficulties. Anger is a righteous, and even Godly, response to anything that is wrong, destructive, or out of order. Most people only relate to anger as an emotion that has been displayed in an uncontrolled manner. But that is not the true, intended image of anger. Abraham Lincoln saw a cause and was angry about it. The same could be said of Florence Nightingale, and Mother Theresa. We all know of Martin Luther King Jr.; what was the motivation that empowered him to continue in spite of all the adversity that he encountered? It was the emotion we call anger. Anger is the clearest voice when the cause is righteous. However, it is only effective when it is put into action in a positive way. If it is held in too long, it will lead to frustration and destruction. The reason this happens is because anger was designed to be a problem solver. Most people are frustrated because they see a problem and feel helpless, unable to resolve the issue. Frustration is anger that has been cooking too long. Anger is not rage, but it can turn that direction. Anger can be expressed in a quiet, respectful, and orderly manner. You don't even have to raise your voice, but you are motivated. One word of caution, if you are angry all of the time, then you are out of balance with life and you are poisoning your environment. Just like a pinch of salt can add flavor, but too much of it ruins the meal. Anger in the right place will keep your life in order, but too much will destroy your family, your relationships, and your future. Anger is only expressed the way God intended when it is through the fruit of the Spirit called "Self Control" (Galatians 5:22).
For more of a more in-depth study on the subject of anger, be sure to look for the episode of A Successful Life on the topic. Head over to the podcast page for more information.

I have trouble making decisions. What do I do?

I find indecision to be one of the most frustrating feelings that I experience. If you are not careful, you will just pick and choose when you are feeling the pressure of the moment.Most of the time, indecision comes because you do not have a clear position on any given situation. The greatest cure for indecision is getting alone in a quiet place and listening to your heart. The next best option is to seek the counsel of someone that you trust. Practice making decisions by asking yourself questions:

  • What happens if I don't do this?
  • Which situation will have the greatest impact?
  • What do I like the most?
  • What would my mentor do?
One final thought. When it comes to the welfare of the people around you, take time to work through your decisions. Don't let pressure force you into being impetuous. It is better to suffer the consequences for a short time of making a delayed decision than it is to deal with the regret of making a hasty, wrong decision. Once you have made your decision, be firm with it. This is a very important test of your life and leadership.

Is there a clear-cut standard for right and wrong? Can we talk about absolutes in this area?

Where are the lines or ethical standards for conduct drawn? That is a good question. I am assuming that you are not speaking about the things that are covered by the laws of the land, and are rather referring to the ethical and moral standards of right and wrong. I find that with each generation, the standard tends to move, in the eyes of our society. The taboos of yesterday have become common activity today. People do today, without a thought, things they would have never considered doing a generation or two ago. Furthermore, there are activities that are condemned in one part of the world, and are considered normal behavior in other parts. The inconsistencies found across the many different cultures and societies of this world make it incredibly difficult to determine what is right, and what is wrong. If we can't look to the societal views on right and wrong, then perhaps we can look to the absolute version of right and wrong. The absolute standard of right and wrong is covered in the Word of God. However, the scripture at times seems unclear when addressing specifics of conduct and morality. When scripture is unclear, as it is with many of the traditions of man, the highest authority is that of the conscience. Do not look to societal expectations, politicians, or even your friends to answer these questions for you; instead, you should look to the inside to try and truly follow your own conscience.

The bible seems to support the death penalty. Do you believe it is right or wrong four our states to use the death penalty today?

In the days of the bible there were people who were just as dangerous as there are today. There were criminals who would murder, rape, and destroy with no regard for life. But when it came to incarceration, their options were limited. In that era, they had no real facilities to restrain someone for the rest of their life. You can only keep them in a tent for so long. The problem was that when you had an individual that posed a lasting danger to the community, there was no place for secure incarceration and punishment. The death penalty is not necessary today, as it was in the past. We have better resources to catch criminals, and better facilities to incarcerate them for long periods of time. A better solution is to make that person pay the penalty for their terrible transgression(s), for the rest of their natural life if necessary. These, the worst of the criminals, do not need to be kept in the convenience of a cell with satellite TV and Internet, but rather a lifetime of hard labor. Seems to me that lethal injection actually lets them off the hook, while the families of their victims suffer every moment for the rest of their lives. I see the death penalty as a step in the wrong direction and I would like to see it removed. Nevertheless, if one of our states chooses to keep it as law, it must never be taken lightly and needs to remain to them an agonizing process. However, when the decision is made, the task should be carried out within a year. The years of appeals, and the millions of dollars spent on them are simply irresponsible.

What is your favorite poem?

Where the heart is without fear and the head is held high. Where knowledge is free. Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls. Where words come out from the depths of truth, Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sands of dead habit. Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action. Into that heaven of freedom my father let my country awake. Ramone Donner DeGore - A poet of India He won the Noble Prize for literature in 1917.

Is debate a healthy thing for us? In this day of political division, it seems that it just brings unrest and contention. How do you see debate?

Here is why debate is important. It is only as false beliefs are placed upon the table of examination that we have the opportunity to fully understand our own beliefs. Only when we hear fully that with which we disagree can we—with authority—embrace that which is our own. Dare we prefer one opinion above another based on ignorance of what the other side holds? The majority of people today hold opinions that they have not earned, but rather ones that have been imposed upon them by their peers. They have never allowed themselves even for a moment to become the person with whom they disagree. If you don't fully know both sides, you have no grounds for professing one above another. We forfeit our rights by adopting the opinion of others. You might just as well never have this freedom if you simply choose to go the direction of the majority. To truly hear the other side of the debate, you must find someone who believes with conviction that their side is correct. Only then can you have a genuine exchange of passion, thought, and will. When you talk to someone, do not dominate the conversation, or be afraid to hear an opposing view. Pause at due intervals and determine to hear what they are saying. And don't just hear, take the time to receive, absorb, and embody it in your reply. Until we come to the place that we can see all sides of truth, we must realize that our perceptions of truth are only half-truths. Diversity is not necessarily evil. It may be a broader view of what is right. However, when you must debate an issue, be blunt and straightforward with truth as you see and understand it. If you don't believe it then why should anyone else?

How do I get past the grief stage of my loss?

Grief is not a dirty word. It is part of the healing process that we go through when we face a loss or crisis. It is a very natural response when you suffer the loss of someone that you love. If this happens to you, let grief run its course, but no more than that. It is normal to have feelings, just don't be dominated or controlled by them. Don't be afraid of grief. If you lose someone, don't shut his or her memory out of your life. Share your thoughts and express your feelings about them. Remember the good times. Don't be afraid to laugh or cry. Most of all look to the Lord. He is faithful. Listen to what He promised that He would do: "The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all of her ruins. He will make her deserts like Eden and her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing." (Isaiah 51:3) God is looking on our ruins with compassion, and he is going to bring a restoration to your life if you will let him. There are three phases to the restoration of a life. They are taken from the book of Nehemiah. FIRST- walk through the rubble of the city that is in ruins. This is the grieving process. SECOND- on your next trip, see what can be kept and what ruins must be discarded. This is a time of sorting everything out. You are choosing what must stay and what must go. THIRD- return and rebuild. It won't be long until that thing that you have grieved over has become a treasured memory held close to your heart.

How do you handle crisis when it comes?

It is unrealistic to think that you will never face difficulties. They are a part of life and are sometimes unavoidable. The question is not, "Will I ever face a crisis"? The real question is, "How will I respond when crisis comes my way"? FIRST- determine the source of the crisis. The reason is often deeper than what appears on the surface. In many cases we bring them on ourselves. We have bad habits, we listen to bad advice, or we follow popular opinion above what we know in our hearts is right. This is the time to be brutally honest with ourselves. Confess your part--if any. If you brought this crisis on yourself, admit it and ask forgiveness. Don't make excuses and don't blame others. Accepting responsibility is a mark of a maturing believer. SECOND- determine the results. Ask, "What can I learn from this?" Every crisis is an opportunity to enlarge my perspective, sharpen my skills, and develop more of God's character in my life. The ability to overcome struggle is one of the characteristics that has made great people throughout history. THIRD- Determine your response in advance. Go through your thought process before you are in a situation where there is high emotion. This way, you are not being challenged to determine the proper response at a time when you are less capable of doing so. It is almost like deciding to forgive someone in advance. That is the time to make tough choices, before you get to them. You certainly would never choose to experience crisis, but you can choose how you respond to it when it comes.

encouraging, empowering, and equipping

© 2018 Jerry Edmon.

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