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Greetings dear Friends:

Thank you for visiting with me today.

I hate being lied to. I bet you feel the same.

Unfortunately, lies can come in many forms. And so many of them even sound like the truth or have some truth in them. Worst yet, some presentations are made to sell us on an idea or point of view.

An example is insurance companies calling natural disasters acts of God. That makes God look like the enemy.

Another example is a greeting card promoting Sunday, the Lord’s Day, as a special day for us to be blessed. That turns the Lord’s Day into our day. See how subtle lies can be.

Pop psychology encourages us to forgive ourselves, yet there is nothing in Scripture that references self-forgiveness. If God’s forgiveness is not enough, then ours must be necessary. Consequently, we now become better than God. Oops!

The concept of self-esteem is another lie. The standard is that we get self-esteem by accomplishments, material acquisition, prestige, money, and social status. But since these are things that can disappear rather quickly, we are doomed never to feel good about ourselves.

I prefer working on seeing myself as God sees me. That won’t change, and that vision will be empowering.

Facebook religious trite euphemisms drive me crazy. I have had many disturbing nights arguing with people who do not want to learn/change.

Please, dear friends, be careful and wise on what you choose to have come into your brain/spirit.

Blessings to you,

Abbot

I want my mate to be my best friend

by Abbot Oscar Joseph, OCCO     

A recent bachelorette on the TV program of the same name wanted her husband to be her “best friend.” It took her two seasons to find the husband /”best friend” finally.

My wife and I watched the program. I often looked over at her and asked myself, “is my wife my best friend?” She often looked back and answered, “heck no.”

We concluded that we are not best friends. We concluded that the best friend concept was some “romantic cultural tripe,” In fact, we are husband and wife, which far transcends friendship.

I believe it is essential to identify the “romantic cultural tripe” that comes our way because it ruins many good relationships.

Let us begin with, “There is only one person in the world for me, my soul mate.” “I will find that person magically. The stars will guide me.”

Well, think about it. First, you do not have the whole world available for your selection. By the time you divide the people you know by 48%/52%, then rule out those who are not attractive to you physically, intellectually, or are the right age, have the right religion, race, beliefs (for you) you have dwindled to about 8%.  Now you only have a handful of genuine possibilities.

So quite practically, you end up picking one and making it work, yes, making it work. Falling in love is another piece of tripe.

Falling in love has more to do with Elizabethan Romanticism (remember Romeo and Juliet) and brain chemicals going crazy more than anything else. So if we follow tripe reasoning, we can conclude that I will recognize my lifemate (the one I have to trust with everything) when I am at my intellectual worst.  The only thing we find in the stars is the stars.

Often in this altered state of reasoning, we decide to marry potential. How often has the gal said, “He has a lot of potentials?” What is being said is…” he is a loser, and I am too stupid to recognize it.” Never marry potential. Instead, marry someone who already has at least some success.

I believe that God can influence and direct us, but He is usually very practical and not very romantic. So are our real friends and grown-up family members. Bring everyone, even a counselor, into the decision of mate selection far before the wedding.

Another piece of tripe is, “love should come easy, be easy, and not require any work. Love should be without problems.” My counseling room is busy because of such tripe. There is Romeo and Juliet again. Remember, when things got tough for them, they committed suicide. When things get tough for us, we run away, get angry, sulk, divorce. So we erroneously conclude that I must not be in love if I have to work at my marriage. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Forrest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.”

Here is a big stupid. I am having problems with my marriage, so I need a time out to think things through. I will move out of the house, or out of the bedroom, or something else equally stupid.

The fact is that when we are all stressed out, we cannot think things through by ourselves. We need others to help us. What happens mostly in this self-indulgent act of revenge is an attempt to punish the other. While we are out of the house, all we manage to do is create a list of offenses and get ourselves into more trouble, like dating someone else while still married.

The best thing for people to do in conflict is to lock themselves in a closet without food, water, or a bathroom. They would figure something out fast.  Alcohol is not necessary and could make you even stupider.

So I look at my wife and am very glad that we are more than friends. We chose each other wisely. We were successful before marriage and have continued to grow through the years. Our conflicts are few and quickly resolved. We trust each other. There is no one I would rather be with. Be it told, she gets more exciting every year. Thank you, God, for the keeper.

Reflections

From The Joy of Spiritual Freedom p. 14

“We are further directed to know “the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2Tim. 3:14–17).”

The Christian faith is not all hugs and kisses. There are things that must be believed and things that we need to change within ourselves and the world about us. What is it that you need to change?

Reflections

From Memoirs of a Christian Healer  p. 11

“Satan greeted me at my front door. He had taken away all the people whom I loved. I was devastated.”

When I originally envisioned this book, I did not intend to write about my problems and weaknesses, but God had a different idea. I believed that He wanted to illustrate that no one is perfect. We all have some difficulties, but we need not be held back because of them. It is easy to use our lacks or weaknesses as a copout. I am too old, not educated, not enough time; I am not ready, and so on.

Reflections

From Listen with the Ear of Your Heart p. 4

Even the church teaches false pieties and pop psychology through teachings like: “God will never give you more troubles than you can handle.” “God is testing you.” “God has given you these troubling circumstances so you can get closer to Him.” All these statements are false. They describe God as a trickster who plays with His people. They hold you back from trusting God.”

I bet that you have heard these false statements and perhaps have even used them. Church, the place that you want to feel safe the most often, is a place of threat and a venue to pretend in order to be accepted. Yes, wherever you go, you have to be alert.

Abbot Oscar Joseph
Abbot Oscar Joseph

Abbot Oscar Joseph has been a Christian Counselor and Spiritual Director to hundreds over the past thirty-five years. He has also conducted healing services throughout the East Coast of the United States. He is currently a Bishop and serves as the Abbot General of the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross.

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