Category Archives: Behavior

Avoiding False Promises

Have you ever asked someone for help, and the person you asked assuredly replied, “Sure, I’ll help.” As the days pass, that person never gets around to helping. You are afraid to ask again, because you do not want to be so pushy, especially towards someone who agreed to do you a favor. After waiting for even longer, you realize that the person is never going to help, or perhaps, he or she never did plan on helping in the first place, but simply said, “Sure. I’ll help,” not to disappoint you. The truth is, such a strategy is actually more disappointing than saying, “Sorry. I don’t have time, but maybe you could try asking so-and-so.” This is a far better approach than leaving someone hanging in the dark. Honesty is the best policy. Be direct. In the long run, it is better for both sides. I believe God also wants this, to be honest, especially to those who come to us for something. Keep it in mind, because it is bound to happen any time soon.

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The Danger of Addictions

God wants us to be free. He not only wants us to be free from sin, but also free to do the right thing and make the right choice. Freedom is a beautiful thing and has traditionally be valued greatly by many different peoples from around the world. There is something more immediately threatening to our freedom, however, than any dictator, and that is our own addictions. Addictions to drinking and smoking are the most obvious, but perhaps more prevalent ones in our modern society include addictions to always thinking one is right, lying to look good in front of others, littering in the streets, worrying, yelling, talking rather than listening, being negative, shopping, video games, surfing the internet, pornography, looking at oneself in the mirror each time a mirror is available, and numerous others. Believe it or not, these addictions harm our relationships with our family and friends, they harm our physical and mental health, and they prevent us from having a more intimate relationship with God. When we are free from addictions and free to make the right choices, we are more able to help those around us, including our family. friends, neighbors, community, environment, and coworkers. We are not focused simply on what we feel like doing, but doing what is right, even if it hurts and makes us look silly in front of others; and better yet, we have the control and power to follow God’s will, make virtuous sacrifices, and rise to the level of Sainthood if we weed out these addictions from our life.

I think the best way to start becoming free is to do a self-examination. Sit down and pray. Ask God to show you what areas of your life need improvement. Perhaps there are bad tendencies that you are addicted to that you do not even realize, such as talking about negative topics all the time or gossiping. It is most important to remove the worst addiction as soon as possible. Such include smoking, drugs, drinking, adultery, masturbation, stealing, and murder. Realize that if you have been addicted to such things for many years, it may take that many years to overcome them, and overcoming them is definitely possible, as human beings have free will. Pray. Fight. Don’t quit. You may lose battles, but with the help us Jesus, you will win the war.

After conquering those extremely serious addictions, start to work on the apparently smaller ones, such as worrying or not listening to what others are saying. Actively seek to remove these addictions by doing your part, such as reading about them, talking to family members about them, praying, going to Mass, going to Confession, exercising, eating healthy, and don’t forget, giving God time and allowing Him to work. His work is actually greater than anything you could possibly do, though he does ask for your participation.

Seek to remove addictions from your life in order to exercise that God-given free will bestowed upon you to do great things.

Being Single is a Blessing, Not an Illness

Chinese Valentine’s Day called “Qixi” (pronounced “Chee Shee”) just passed a day ago. It always strikes me how so many people believe that there is something downright wrong with being single. Being single is one of the most important times in the life of any person who is trying to dedicate his or her life for God. Now that I am married, I look at my single life playing a crucial role in setting the foundations for how I would conduct my married life. While I was single, I had a lot of free time and was able to do a lot of things that helped shape who I am today. I played a lot of sports and games. I prayed a lot and read a lot of spiritual material. I traveled to 8 countries outside the United States. Through these experiences, I acquired a vast wealth of knowledge and wisdom which I am now using to protect and nurture my family to be a strong, loving unit. I am thankful for the time I had to be single, because it gave me the opportunity to prepare well to live my vocation to the married life to the fullest. No one starts working without learning a few things about the job first. No one starts playing a sport without practicing the fundamentals and learning the rules. Everything requires preparation in order to do it well. For those called to be married, the single life is not the time to do whatever you feel like. It is a blessing from God and deserves to be treated as such. The single life is your time to learn, grow, and become stronger physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Do this, and after you get married, you will be grateful.

Keeping God in Our Schedule

 

When we keep God in our schedule, God keeps us in His schedule. To take a fixed amount of time out of everyday to pray is a good way to ensure that time is given directly to God alone without any other distractions. For example, my fiancée and I spend time every single day reading the Bible and praying the rosary together. These are just some examples of what you can do.

 

 

 

It is easy to find time for ourselves throughout the day. There are an infinite number of ways to entertain ourselves. Why is it so hard to give some of our time back to God? When we give time back to God, He rewards us. In my case, I have seen how taking time out of my schedule to focus solely on God has made my life better. Doing this together with my fiancée has improved our relationship as well. In addition, we also believe that our future children will be better off because of it.

 

 

 

How can we expect God to work in our lives if there is no room for Him? It is not that God is unable to help us. He can do all things. It is that we do not let ourselves be helped. If one does not take time out of each day to exercise, one will not become stronger. If one does not take time out of each day to study, one will not become smarter. It is the same with our relationship with God. If we do not take time out of our day to focus on Him, we will not become better people.

 

 

 

Perhaps, it is a process to get started into this routine of giving time to God. The best place to start is before bed. When everything has quieted down, and there is nothing left to do, silence is in the air, God is waiting there for you to talk to Him. If one does not know where to start, this is a good place.

 

 

 

From there, one can find times that work well. For example, one can say, “After breakfast, I will read the Bible everyday” or “When I get home from work, I will kneel down next to the couch and pray for five minutes.” Forming good habits such as these are important. Our lives are filled with habits and inclinations. We need to start creating good habits that will bring us directly closer to God. God will keep us in His schedule if we keep Him in ours. God is the most important person in our lives. Let us treat Him this way.

 

Looking at Problems from the Right Perspective

Most of us are filled with many blessings in our lives. We have two legs we can use to walk. We have tongues that let us taste delicious food. We have jobs that allow us to put our talents to good use. We have a roof over our heads. We have family and friends. We have love. We have God.
 
Sometimes it is easy to lose track of all the goodness that we have in our lives. We begin to focus all our attention on small problems. The problems are infinitely small compared with the goodness we possess. Yet, our minds often insist on us spending all our energy and effort focusing on some little problem, giving it more attention than it deserves, making it bigger than it ought to be.
 
Of course, problems should not be left alone. They should be solved in the right way and at the right time, but we must always look at them from the right perspective. We must look at them as if they are only a tiny part of our lives and not our entire lives. The good and bad both must be considered when we look at ourselves. It is always going to be a temptation of the devil to neglect the good and focus only on the bad. When this temptation comes, we should pray to God to continue to let us see the good in our lives side-by-side with the problem. This will always give us the right perspective.
 
In addition, something to keep in mind is that God uses the bad events in our lives to teach us lessons and often to bring about some greater good through those misfortunes. When we keep God in the picture, no misfortune can make our lives feel hopeless or without meaning.
 
So far, everything that has been said about looking at the bad events in our lives from the right perspective has been good but a bit abstract. Let us look at a concrete example to bring this down to our level. Here is Saint Paul talking in his second letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:22-33):
 
[22] Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.  
[23] Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one — I am talking like a madman — with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 
[24] Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 
[25] Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; 
[26] on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; 
[27] in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 
[28] And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. 
[29] Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? 
[30]If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
[31] The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed for ever, knows that I do not lie. 
[32] At Damascus, the governor under King Ar’etas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 
[33] but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands.
 
Saint Paul suffered far more than any of us have for the sake of Christ. He neither whined nor complained about these sufferings in his letter to the Corinthians but boasted of them. He was happy, not depressed, to share everything bad that had happened to him since he became a follower of Christ.
 
Does being a follower of Christ mean that we will have fewer sufferings than non-believers? No. It does mean, however, that we will see our sufferings from the right perspective, and we will be much happier because of that.

Righteous Complaining

“It’s so hot!” “It’s so cold!” “I hate the government!” “Everything is so expensive!” Perhaps, these are just a few phrases that one hears on a regular basis. Complaining is a common part of the lives of many. However, the question is, why? It is important to understand the nature of complaining, why people do it and what purpose it serves. This is crucial in order that all may complain in the right way for their own benefit.
 
Complaining, it seems, can be separated into two categories: unrighteous complaining and righteous complaining. The former will be addressed first. Some examples of unrighteous complaining are those seen at the beginning of this article as well as others, such as “You can’t do anything right!” and “This food stinks!” The purpose of this kind of complaining is simply to express a negative feeling caused by unfavorable circumstances. Nevertheless, the expression of this negative feeling does no real good. It creates a negative atmosphere and does not aid in one’s happiness. There is no true goal in unrighteous complaining, only a false hope in feeling satisfied after creating a negative atmosphere. This is a temptation from the devil, because creating a negative atmosphere brings no long-lasting peace or joy.
 
A better way to handle situations such as these should be considered. For example, one can say, “It’s so hot. Let’s stay in the shade and drink some cold drinks.” “Everything is so expensive. Let’s make a plan to save more money or move to a cheaper area.” “This food stinks. Let’s cook our own food from now on.” Obviously, expressing that there is a problem is important, yet the intention is key. Does one express that there is a problem for the sake of making others feel bad and thinking that one will feel better because of it, or does one express that there is a problem in order that a solution may be found? The latter is the right way to solve problems. Unrighteous complaining has no part in God’s plan.
 
Righteous complaining will now be addressed. Some examples of righteous complaining are as follows: “Excuse me, waiter. I ordered my food an hour ago, and it still hasn’t arrived. I want a free meal.” “Your company promised it would be ready by Monday. It is now Wednesday, and it is still not ready. I demand compensation.” “The product you sold me broke. I want a refund.” When conducted in the right manner, righteous complaining is an important skill. All must learn to possess it. Why? It is because it deals with justice. One must learn to protect what is due to oneself and not let selfish, greedy people take advantage of it. This is not only for our sake but for the sake of our families and friends.
 
Here are some Bible verses about justice:
 
Psalm 37:28 — For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. The righteous shall be preserved for ever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
 
Proverbs 21:15 — When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous,
but dismay to evildoers.
 
Isaiah 1:17 — learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
 
Matthew 23:23 — “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
 
God loves justice. When we complain in order to preserve justice in the midst of those trying to get away with injustice, we are complaining in a righteous way. It is an important step for correcting what is wrong and preserving what is right. No one should be allowed to get away with murder, whether that “murder” be the loss of money, the loss of time, the manipulation of one’s intellect, and so on.
 
The next time someone messes up who owes you something, do not be afraid to do justice. Do not whine to your neighbor. Do, instead, God’s justice. Do some righteous complaining and get what is yours.