Tag Archive: blogging

Bad Company

Words are
tumbling, to
the ground
spilling down
a sound-
poets, are
this word
this poet,


because we must.
Soaring, because
we can. Painting
skies azure-
spattered clouds
tracing words
wistfully, wondering
why those
below, reach
up, fumbling
grasping feathers,
feebly, failing-

Be a good girl! Don’t touch that. You’re a bad boy. Susan is such a good girl. He’ll never amount to anything. You’ll never amount to anything. We’ve all heard and perhaps even spoken one or more variations of the aforementioned phrases. We all know the power of words. Don’t we? These are our tools, our weapons of warfare that we utilize for good and evil. When we speak positively to a person we can change their day and lift their spirits. We’re speaking life to them. However, when we speak negatively to someone then we can bring them down or even destroy them. We’re speaking death to them. This isn’t a news flash. Anyone who blogs should know the power of words. I’ll go so far as to say, that, if you’re a human being, then you know the power of words.

Words that crush your soul that those you’ve loved the most have spoken to you. Those who think that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” As an adult, we should know who we are. We should know the lies that people say to us. The things that are said to hurt us, right? None of us were born adults though, we begin developing our responses to the words that hurt us or lift us before we can even remember those words.

From the moment we’re born our brains are developed to the point of being able to be receptive to language. I think that’s cool. I also think that it means that, from the time we come into this world our brains are being shaped by the words spoken to and around us. What does this mean? It means that we are helpless to how we respond to our situation. As an adult, we like to believe that we have the choice to leave when we want. However, how much does our helplessness as an infant reflect into our adulthood?

Language is so much more than words. A typical infant, between the ages of three and six months, can express pain, pleasure, displeasure, hunger and respond to the tones of voice. That’s only a small part of childhood development. You can read more here. Let’s think about that for a moment. Did you think about it? Great. Let’s think about this too. Science tells us that we don’t remember very much before the ages of two through three.

Science tells us that it’s likely that our first memories before these ages are fiction. I know that my first memory was when I was a year old. Now, I didn’t realize that this was my first memory until I was twenty-nine. I do believe, however, that what I previously thought, was my first memory, was between the ages of two and three.

Here we are not remembering anything, according to science, before the ages of two and three. Therefore, we’ve gone through a lot of psychological development through language and other communication. People wonder why children behave the way they do. If you’ve been told for two years or so that you’re bad then it sinks in. It becomes a part of you. If, on the other hand, you’ve been directed with loving and life-giving instruction then that too, becomes a part of you.

In my time of teaching children, we didn’t speak to them in terms of being “good” or “bad.” We spoke in terms of choices and used neutral or non-judgmental tones of voice. For example, telling Susan that she’s “bad” for not sharing with Tommy just didn’t fly. On the other hand, asking Susan, how she might feel if Tommy didn’t share is another approach. The point here, for this discourse, is that we’re being trained on how to behave and how to think of ourselves and others from the time we’re born through verbal and non-verbal communication.

Let’s think of the ramifications of being told that you’re a bad person from the time you were born until, let’s say, you become a teenager. What that must do to your self-image. Let’s think about a life of affirmation from the time you were born until you become a teenager. How very different those two people may see themselves because of words.

We’ve not even addressed other forms of input from our peers to social media. There was no such thing as cyber bullying when I grew up. The bullies of yesteryear were those who only worked from the time you were in school to shortly after you got out of school.  Cyberbullying has brought bullying into an unnatural, natural state of being for the youth of today, that’s all about degrading the human spirit to the point where, in too many cases, life, to the one being bullied, isn’t worth living.

Over 50% of people under the age of 18 have experienced cyberbullying and the same number have engaged in cyberbullying according to a 2009 study by the i-SAFE foundation. This involves anything from death threats, blackmail, damaging words, and rumors. The list sadly goes on.  This was ten years ago! Why are we surprised when they are mass shootings when, according to this study, everyone under the 18 of age, in 2009, had either engaged in or was a victim of cyberbullying? I wonder how many people have killed themselves because of those words? Less than 10% of people under the age of 18 reported bullyings to anyone. If that’s the case then it’s likely that those statics are much higher.

The population of the United States in 2009 was 305 million people. The current population of the United States is over 329 million people with a growth rate of one child born every eight seconds. There are 31,536,000 seconds in one year of 365 days. If we divide that by eight then that’s 3,942,000 children born in one year. So, from 2009 until 2019 we can look at 39,420,000 new children. Of course, there are mortality rates and such not taken into account here as well as my fallibility as a human to make mistakes. The point, however, is that these are new people being born. How many of them were born to people who were 18 in 2009 and are being raised in this age of speaking death by people raised on death?

Wow, how depressing that can be. How insightful it can be into why there’s such judgment upon this age of Millennials. We’re not looking at a generational gap here; we’re looking at a gulf between Millennials and everyone who has come before them. We’re looking at a generation more heavily influenced by the power of communication than any previous generation. A generation that’s carrying on this tradition of speaking death. Judgment and condemnation are not needed here. We need understanding. We need to speak life into this generation whose children might not come home from school today.

How much more important it is then, to speak affirmation, life, hope into people’s lives than ever before? How much more important is it to applaud this generation of Millennials who are doing the best that they can in circumstances that many of us never even knew? There’s already enough death in the world without us speaking it to one another each day.

We’ll continue to examine the role of communication in the next part of this series. In the meantime, try smiling, saying, “Hello” to a stranger, be kind. Treat people with love. I’d say, treat them like you’d want to be treated, but I don’t how you’ve been treated. If you’ve been beaten by words perhaps it’s all you know?

You have hope, faith, trust and you know without a doubt that “it’s” going to come to pass! The time comes and blammo! It’s here! What you prayed, waited and thanked God for has come to pass. Let the praise and celebration continue! You were thanking God before it happened on the day, right? We’ve already discussed Biblical faith, so we know that what we’ve asked for has already happened, even if we don’t see it yet. Maybe you didn’t start celebrating until it happened. That’s okay. There’s grace, mercy and no condemnation in Christ, so you’ll get none from me. We’re all on our own journey with God, and we grow in accordance to His timing.

It’s celebration time! God is good, He does what He says He’s going to do. If you’re like me, or the woman in Luke 15:8-10 who lost and then found that coin; you’re telling everybody! Your faith is flying high and you know, if you wanted to, you could tell that mountain to move, and it would, but people live up there, and you like people, so you check yourself.

Then the phone rings, you get a text, a huge dark cloud takes a sharp left, stops right over your head and just dumps on you. That business deal; they changed their mind, your aunt, with cancer; the test results were wrong and she’s not in remission. That hope just comes crashing down into bitter disappointment. It’s worse than that. You told a bunch of people! You’re a Christian and what are they going to say? You don’t even know what to say. You weren’t hoping in the thing. You know you weren’t. You read this series, and God opened your eyes. You know better.

I was in the middle of writing this part in this series when God gave me the chance to walk the walk.

I was given the grace to respond by telling more people about the success to come and share my faith and hope in God.

God’s timing is perfect. It’s usually not, however, in the time that we expect it to be. When we walk in His timing and allow Him to guide our paths, He does far more with our obedience than we could ever imagine. If you’re reading this then it’s because God brought you here. It’s not because of great SEO optimization or because this blog has hundreds or thousands of followers. That’s just the way this blog is, for now.

You’ve may have heard it said that, “everything happens for a reason.” I usually hear people say that when they have nothing else to say. I know that I’m guilty of having been that person at one time or another in my life. However, now, I know, that there is, indeed, a time for everything, and I am encouraged by this knowledge.

What about the “hope” and “faith” that appears to fail?

My best friend died, of cancer, in 2011. He didn’t have cancer when we first started meeting, journaling, praying and sharing life together. I will call him, “Joe.”

Joe and I had been going to the same church for several years. We church chatted often, but church chat is merely another means of small talk that goes nowhere, if we’re being honest. Joe married later in his life, he was forty-five, and needed counseling. Our pastor put us together.

After several months of meeting, I noticed that Joe had a bad cough. It was nothing to worry about, he assured me, he had been given antibiotics for it and had just finished the 10 day cycle.  I explained how antibiotics were supposed to work and suggested he go back to his doctor.

Joe called me first. The doctor told him that he had cancer. A non tobacco form of cancer in his lungs. It wasn’t a big deal for us. His wife, Nancy, didn’t take it quite so easily. She blamed him for the cancer. We started meeting more often, my wife, Joe, Nancy and I. A lot of healing took place in their marriage. It became stronger than it had previously been. All of us grew stronger as the cancer spread throughout Joe’s body.

Joe was a paragon of strength. In spite of the chemotherapy, the presence of cancer in his brain and his body, which was trying to fail him. He walked upright and bold. My dear friend, a true Man of God. In spite of the spread of the cancer, he and I never saw him as getting worse. We still met as we did before. He went to his first Men’s Retreat. He was getting better. He was healed and we knew it. We rejoiced and thanked God for his healing.

We were living like we had before the cancer, Joe and me. We even missed our first meeting in January of 2011, the new year. We usually would call and confirm, every week. We were like that, he and I. I thought nothing of it. He and Nancy probably went away to visit their new home up in Northern California for the weekend. It was a Tuesday, when I got the call. I thought it was Joe, and I was excited to hear about his New Year’s.

I was surprised, when I answered the phone, walking into the house, to hear my pastor’s voice. I expected to hear about the next day’s evening meeting, anything. Anything but, “I’m sorry Jason, Joe passed away this weekend.” That was when I first encountered the strength of my faith, as I almost collapsed onto the floor, catching myself on the love seat nearby, as my wife gasped, crying out, “are you okay?”

I told my pastor, that was impossible. God had healed Joe. He couldn’t be dead. And besides, after he had spent one night in the hospital, without telling me, I made him promise to call me if he had to go back to the hospital. That was months ago. He couldn’t be dead.

He was though, and he has been for the last eight years. I knew my faith that day. The strength of believing the impossible. The knowledge of hope and faith failing. No one understood my pain. My selfish pain. I held it close and tried to explain, but no one heard. I was assured that Joe was healed, and I had no doubt that he was healed. It was all about me.

Somehow, I didn’t have enough faith, because Joe died. I didn’t blame God. I blamed myself. As I continued in ministry, I pushed all that pain down, so far down. All of that grief. I was a Christian. I couldn’t be that way. God’s timing.

The church had seminars, meetings and visitations from other pastors. I attended meetings elsewhere. Apparently, leadership is hard. We experience so much pain, so much grief, that we bottle it up and one day, it breaks us, if we don’t let it out. I was fine. I was a rock.

Another friend died, others moved away, life went on. My youngest went on to college and my wife left with him. I was a rock until, one day, I shattered. I walked away from the church. I had no faith in people. People were hypocrites. Faith and hope, they fail. Why did we pray for people to be healed? They just died. Little Daisy, not even six, she died too. If Heaven was better, then why not pray for people to just die? Faith and hope, they failed me.

I couldn’t trust people anymore, but I stayed reading my Bible, praying and believing. Quite paradoxical, I think. Except that it was my faith, my hope that failed. It was me. Not God.

I got very sick in 2016 and despite being in pain all the time; I moved to Sacramento in 2018; where I believed that God was calling me. To be healed. To serve. To live. I was healed, and God explained to me, even though He didn’t have to, why Joe died so many years ago. If you’ve not been bored to tears by now, I’ll tell you, in the next part, why Joe died and how God’s timing is perfect.