Speaking Truth in Marital Conflict

“You always prioritize work over me.”
“You never take my feelings into consideration.”
“Your only concern is your own comfort.”

Here is a universal rule for marriage counselors: don’t allow couples to speak to each other in absolutes. We know that when couples use words like always, never, and only to describe each other’s behavior or to express a complaint, it will not help to resolve their conflict. These words exaggerate and overgeneralize in a way that provokes a spouse to defensiveness. Instead of considering and talking about their spouse’s concern, an accused spouse will be tempted to prove that they are not always guilty of this or that behavior.

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The Power of Kindness

Kindness is one of the few things that will gentle the response of others. Teach kids how to show kindness to others.

Were you ever bullied on the playground? Or called names by the neighbor kid? Do you have an annoying co-worker? A friend who pushes your buttons?

When I was a kid, my mom would admonish me, “Josh, kill them with kindness.”

The motive behind this advice may sound harsh, but I believe it tells us something about the power of kindness. In Romans 2:4, the apostle Paul puts it this way: “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.”

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Reminding Christians of the Gospel

Through biblical counseling, we have the privilege to share the gospel with non-Christians and Christians. Why would a Christian need to hear the gospel? Once saved, always saved, right? It’s true that God’s power will guard the faith of believers and that believers will persevere in their faith (1 Pet. 1:4-5). This truth comforts us when we’re discouraged in our Christian life and are tempted to doubt our salvation. Scripture also reminds us that the good tree produces good fruit (Luke 6:43-45). God knows whether our religious acts are merely external.

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Preparing the Church to Help

I was leaving a restaurant when I received a call about a serious accident in our community. The caller ended with, “Come quick!” I was a counselor educator at North Carolina Central University and had recently begun serving as a pastor at Tippett’s Chapel, a rural church. When I arrived, what I saw was surreal. The fire chief walked me to a grieving couple whose daughter had been killed. I spoke with them, prayed with them, and encouraged them to go home, where I met with them later. At the end of the evening, I remembered seeing several people from our church who knew the couple at the accident scene. In many ways, they could have helped the couple more effectively. 

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Painful Surprises and the Emmaus Road

When I was in high school, I went to see The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with a friend. We knew absolutely nothing about the film, including the key detail that it was based on a book divided into three volumes. The cinematography and costumes were impressive and engaging, but over the course of the movie, we felt somewhat overwhelmed by the number of characters and struggled to follow the complex storyline. The problem really came as we were approaching the two-and-a-half-hour mark. I checked my watch and thought to myself, “This story doesn’t seem anywhere close to wrapping up.”

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Christianity and Science: How Science Can Strengthen Your Teen’s Faith

Finding a way to fit science and religion together can feel overwhelming. For our teens, logic and reasoning present some of the greatest threats to complete belief in Christianity. However, as parents, you can guide your teen to a deeper understanding of how God created science to support our faith and belief in Him.

Many teens are beginning to think about life’s big questions: Does God exist? Does life have purpose? Is the Bible at odds with science? They’re at the stage where they need answers to their questions, especially as peers, teachers and employers challenge their childhood beliefs. Christianity and science start to seem more opposed to each other than they are in agreement.

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Finishing Faithfully

Not all of us know when we are nearing the end of our lives in the same way Moses did, but the reality is, not one of us is guaranteed tomorrow. So in some sense, there is wisdom in living every day with the intention of finishing faithfully. Moses served the Lord unwaveringly for 40 years, leading God’s people through life in the wilderness to His promise, but he knew he was not to enter the Promised Land with them. Moses is not the only example of finishing well we could look to, but he is a good one.

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Living with the Tension of Uncertainty

For years I heard Christians talk about living by faith. I did not really grasp how to do that in my daily life until I heard Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, talk about this issue. He suggested that many Christians do not live by faith because they have no patience for not knowing and no tolerance for ambiguity. His words pricked my conscience.

That’s me, I thought.

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Inviting God into the Hard Places

We say “life is hard,” and everyone nods in support. It is a common truism, a well-accepted reality we all can affirm. The political climate, the cultural tone, work pressures, personal and relational stress—all of these contribute. People are anxious, overwhelmed, divided, polarized, and weary. Life is hard, so we all join in a united moan. It can almost feel cliché. You shrug it off as though there is nothing you can do but accept it.

But there are hard things that go deeper. They are more profound and burdensome and feel intolerable. Perhaps it is grief, loss, disease, suffering, or brokenness. It goes beyond the “we are in this together” type of hard. It is an isolating sorrow that threatens to swallow us. It is an “I feel completely alone” kind of hard, an oppressive kind of hard. You long for reprieve; you pray for it. Yet it doesn’t come.

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3 Prayers to Pray With Your Spouse

Enrich your relationship by praying as a couple!

I’LL NEVER FORGET AN EVENTFUL DRIVE HOME from a road trip to Oregon. My wife, Kim, our four kids, and I were packed into our station wagon, complete with luggage in our rooftop carrier. Coming out of the California mountains, we passed a semitruck.

Soon after, a huge sandstorm swept over us. I couldn’t see ahead or behind us. I slowed the car to a crawl, aware that the 18-wheeler wasn’t far behind us. Trying to keep our own fears in check, Kim and I worked to calm our panicked kids.

Most memorably, my wife and I cried out to God for help.

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