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In regard to racial reconciliation, people often ask me, “James, what are we supposed to do?”

For reconciliation to begin, the first and most important step is to listen and empathize with another person’s experience that is different than yours. If we cannot connect with each other’s experiences, then we cannot be a part of each other’s healing.

If I were a silent voice inside your head helping you to build healthy relationships you might hear me ask, “Are you speaking from the heart?” 

Let me use a metaphor to explain why I posed such an important question. Memorizing scripture can be a powerful part of our spiritual journey, or it can just be rote memorization. If it’s the latter, the words mean nothing; it's only an exercise in brain power.

I love the idea of a simpler life. A life that is less crowded, less complicated. I'm inspired by people who take it seriously, and likewise I'm discouraged when my own life feels the curse of what Richard Foster rightly calls, "muchness and manyness." 

Simplifying, pairing things down in responsibilities that we carry, can really be a good thing in life. It can also be good for the health of our souls. Is it possible that even in my own pursuit of God I can be held back by muchness and manyness? Jesus had strong words for this kind of person. A pharisee, who loved to be seen and heard for their religiosity. 

The people in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, had a great idea back in 1962. They assembled a time capsule to preserve the town’s history for future generations. Then they buried it. The problem was, when they wanted to dig it up 25 years later for a city celebration, no one could recall where it was.

During this time of year, we are often reminded of 2 categories of change: the things we need to stop, and the things we need to start.

This is no surprise, because when we are facing pain our discomfort in in everyday life, these are the two paths that present themselves the most.

Cortez and his men sailed from Spain and landed on the coast of Mexico in 1519. Initially the crew was awed by the beautiful land, but after months of hard work and little to show for it, their excitement turned to restlessness and revolt.

They wanted to abandon this New World and return home to their old one. Murmurings of mutiny were on everyone’s lips. Captain Cortez knew from the high level of discontent that the men would soon break ranks and leave. They would only work to tame the New World if it was their only hope of survival.

If I were a silent voice inside your head right now helping you to build healthy relationships, you might hear me say, “Generally speaking, what is said is never what is heard.”

More times than not, we assume the worst, and then we start acting out what we think we heard. It’s like we instantly become mind-readers or something. And then we’re mad at our spouse, a friend, or a colleague, and they might not even know anything is wrong! Why? Because no one stopped to clarify, or even ask the question, “Did you mean that? Because I heard this.”

We've been pondering the unimaginable love of God, and how we can pray for such love in the lives around us. Paul is teaching us in Ephesians 3, praying that his friends would be rooted and established in love, and that they would come to know how wide the love of Christ is.

If we could have coffee today, I’d say, “It’s ok not to be ok.”

For many years, my life was mostly sunny, but then came “the storm.” Rain streamed down in my world and hurt poured out from a place in my heart that I’d kept locked for years.

If I were a silent voice inside your head helping you to build healthy relationships, you might hear me say: “Let your heart be thankful.”

Many say that the antidote to bitterness is thankfulness.  Polar opposites, making it almost impossible for the two to coexist.

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