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Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

The Bible tells us to be "...quick to listen and slow to speak..." (James 1:19).   In an excellent sermon I once heard, the pastor said we can know what's in our heart by what comes out of our mouth. Jesus also said that, of course, but it really struck a chord with me at that moment. Ever...

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Don’t Compare!

I once received a good reminder through my son: don't compare one person to another.   Shon was frustrated as he was working on the skill of being able to get from his bed into his wheelchair, and from his wheelchair to his bed independently. In an attempt to encourage him, I made the mistake...

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Reflective Listening Beats Advice

By nature, I'm a problem solver. This can be good, but it can also be a hindrance, at times. I'm learning that its best to guide a person toward discovering their own solutions to their problems instead of offering my solutions.   In the past, when someone complained to me about their...

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Wait Until They Ask!

The Lord has been teaching me not to give unsolicited advice or help, but I recently gained a deeper insight into this from something I read in The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, M.D. He gave three questions for us to ask ourselves when we want to help someone. One of those is: Is the...

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Helping Vs. Mothering

What is the difference between helping and mothering when interacting with mentally competent adults?   Mothering is either giving unsolicited advice or insulting their intelligence by stating the obvious. Having spent years raising children and telling them what to do or not do, I have found...

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Include the Quiet Ones

I was once reminded of something I should know, since I'm basically shy myself. Namely, try to invite the less talkative people into conversations.   Generally speaking, I'm fairly quiet. The exception to that is when I'm discussing something I'm excited about. In those moments, I sometimes...

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Ask, Don’t Assume

It is good to ask what people mean when something is unclear, instead of guessing or assuming we know. In Leviticus 11:17-20, Moses was upset with his brother Aaron, thinking he had sinned, but he was wise enough to go directly to Aaron and ask why he had acted that way. When he heard Aaron's...

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Is It “Mean Spirited”?

I had once been praying that Tom and another person would keep their commitment to get together. One morning, Tom told me that he was getting together with that person. What I should have said is something like, "Great! Have a good time." What I did say was, "Ok. I was wondering if you were going...

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When to Keep It Light

Men grow close by doing activities together. Over time, these common experiences and mutual interests result in a sense of bonding. There is little negativity and few complaints. Conversation is light hearted. I have had to learn how to enter into this aspect of a man's world. I tend to be a...

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Pray About Your Counsel

It is important not to give unsolicited advice to adults. It is also important to be careful about the counsel we give even when someone does ask for our opinion.   I was reading about Charles Wesley's hymn, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul." (101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck) This particular...

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