Thought For the Day 08/29/13

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Practice What You Preach

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Practice what you preach

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“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”

Oliver Goldsmith 

http://www.dictionary-quotes.com/practice-what-you-preach-proverb/#zkAq8WoIV1zIXmht.99

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I will be the first person to admit that I have told my children to do things because I knew they were the right things, and yet, I so often fail to do them myself! Case in point: I have always counselled about the importance of never saying something that could be hurtful just because we were not feeling our best. And yet, if one little thing happens when I am dining in a restaurant, and it causes me to become upset or frustrated, not only might I find myself snapping at the server, but I am also forgoing what would most likely be a fantastic dining experience with those I care for! And who suffers because I have mounted that high horse? Well it is always me but more than that, unfortunately, it is also the people who were with me and who I have, if not exactly made embarrassed by my display, have, at the very least, been made uncomfortable by it. So instead of spoiling one person’s evening (myself), now I have spoiled their evening, as well! And for doing that……SHAME ON ME!

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Ephesians 4:29 NIV says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Now literally, this verse warns us about the words we say and the hurt they cause rather than the behaviors we display. However, nearly every snit I have gotten into was because of some verbal exchange rather than a non verbal display. And like the WW II slogan warned, “Loose Lips Sink Ships”!

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How can I try to have someone respect me as a person if I do not take care with how I show them respect first by the way I respond to them or censure the way I offer my opinion? Yes, it is absolutely essential to be honest, and in fact, it is a commandment and a moral imperative, as well. But we can always find a way of saying something in a way that does not condemn nor make another feel inferior or stupid. We who write call it “creative writing”. But I think we should rename it if we are going to apply it to what we say. How about “creative speaking”?

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Will we always succeed? Absolutely not for two reasons. The first is that we are human and if there is one thing I know, it is being human guarantees that despite our best intentions, we WILL screw up! The second is because we generally do not have an intimate knowledge of exactly how the person we are addressing is feeling, which always affects how they interpret our words and deeds. (For example, suppose they have a sick child and did not sleep well the night before!)

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Now understanding all these things, there is another absolute to remember. Failing to take care with what we say can cause long-term hurt, and it can even destroy not just friendships but relationships within the family, as well. I have seen the effects that a careless word caused within my own family. Can you imagine siblings holding grudges that would last decades? Well, I assure you it happens…..all the time! Members of my family have remained estranged for decades because of something that seemed relatively unimportant at the time, but it was something that was blown out of proportion! Now try to imagine not being able to share special events like weddings and birthdays and yes, even funerals, with the person/people you grew up in the same home or family with!

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Before things happen that can not be taken back, always temper what you say with how you would feel if the same thing were said to you, and them apply “The Carpenter’s Rule” (slightly amended) to your speech…….THINK TWICE, SPEAK ONCE! I promise you it is a lesson I will personally remember and apply to myself from this day forward, although of all of the frail human beings that live, sometimes I am the frailest!

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There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  

  • haughty eyes, 
  • a lying tongue, 
  • hands that shed innocent blood, 
  • a heart that devises wicked schemes, 
  • feet that are quick to rush into evil, 
  • a false witness who pours out lies 
  • and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

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About Mandy Bruscella

Mandy's Story: As a Registered Professional Nurse with Certification in a number of specialties including home care, I was afforded the opportunity of working closely with various Social Service Agencies in NY and NJ. ~ A lifelong Christian, I was ordained as a Presbyterian deacon in 1993 and, after relocating to SC in 2000, elected to become ordained as a non-denominational minister. ~ I established "MandysPath" Ministry in 2011. "MandysPath" Ministry is a member of Pacific Life Church, El Sobrante, CA, network of ministries. ~ I direct an outreach ministry in an alternative setting, providing spiritual care to a congregation of more than 500 people from around the world via the Internet. ~ As part of this outreach, I write a daily faith based blog. In March, 2012 I was asked to become a board member of Heroes For Children which is a non-profit foundation, established to assists the Guardian ad Litem program of Horry County, SC. Guardians ad Litem are a group of court appointed advocates who represent the best interests of children in Family Court proceedings involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Working closely with these men and women who make a difference in the lives of children, I completed training and have been sworn in to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the state of South Carolina . ~ I have been married since 1975 to a wonderful man, Daniel. I have a son Daniel and his wife Melissa who live in NYC. My daughter Sabrina and my grandson Landon live here in SC. ~ My father Harold continues to share his wisdom with me and is responsible for many of the ideas I write about!

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