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  • Happy 4th Of July! Our office will be closed July 4th and 5th in observance of the holiday. We will be back on Monday, July 8th.

True Freedom

By Leslie Vernick

This week, July 4th we celebrate our country’s independence from Great Britain. Freedom is an important, God-given right of every human being. God has given each of us the freedom of choice, to say yes, or to say no. Both are important.

Unfortunately, today’s culture has defined freedom as an unqualified “yes.” In other words, “I can do what I want, when I want, and how I want and no one can stop me or judge me.”

That kind of thinking actually leads to the opposite of freedom: bondage. Peter warns, “they promise freedom, but themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” (2 Peter 2:19)

What if freedom is more about our ability to say no. What if true freedom is the opposite of an unqualified yes and that you will be most free when you have a good and strong “NO.” No to others, no to ourselves, and even no to God.

We’ve all watched the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. Can Belle ever love the Beast? Not as long as she is his prisoner. She wasn’t free to love the Beast until she was free to NOT love him. And she could only decide that when she was free to leave the castle and say, “No.”

That’s why God created us with the freedom to choose. He wants our love for him to be a choice, not forced. Yet the Bible warns that we also need to use our strong NO to stay free from bondage. Both Paul and Peter warn us not to use our freedom to indulge in our flesh (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16).

Titus tells us to say “no” to ungodliness and sinful pleasures and to live in this world with wisdom, righteousness and devotion to God (Titus 2:12). In order to do this, we will have to practice saying no to sinful things, for sure, but also to many things that seem neutral or even good.

For example, we may have to say no to watching television so that we have time and energy to love our family. We may say no to social media in order to focus our attention on things that will help us grow spiritually. We may even have to say no to a child or a spouse, so we’re not over-functioning and enabling selfishness and immaturity.

Ask yourself: do you have the freedom to say no to yourself, to others, and to opportunities without FOMO (fear of missing out), fear of disappointing someone or a sense of guilt?

If not, you haven’t yet experienced real freedom.


Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy

by Leslie Vernick

Counselor and author Leslie Vernick has discovered that many people pray, “Lord, I just want to be happy!” With candor, Leslie reveals that readers don’t need new circumstances but a new perspective to discover true happiness. With biblical insight, Leslie guides readers to take simple steps as they…

  • recognize and change habits that, day by day, keep them from experiencing happiness
  • make good choices and learn from mistakes without beating themselves up
  • develop the skills that enable them to let go of negative and painful emotions more quickly
  • transform difficult circumstances so they can live with gratitude, joy, and purpose

Application questions help readers work godly thinking, as well as healthy skills and habits, into their lives and hearts. They’ll discover that, even if nothing changes in their circumstances, their inner chains can be broken and they can go free…into a new path of real hope and happiness.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter (giveaway only available to U.S. residents)

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of The Church Cares Training Curriculum are Lisa A. and Amy T.


Upcoming Events

September 27th and 28th
ERLS Convention
Dallas, TX

October 9th – 11th
AACC Annual Conference

October 25th and 26th
Maranatha Bible Church
Akron, OH

November 2nd
Hawthorne Gospel Church
Hawthorne, New Jersey

Want to have Leslie speak at your event? Click here to find out more information.

Am I Empathetic or Enabling?

Question: I would like to have you explain what “enabling” the emotionally abusive person means? The balance of walking the Christian walk, being empathic and caring and submitting to my husband but not enabling is a very difficult line for me to draw. I don’t think I enable, and my husband is not physically or verbally abusive, but he is emotionally abusive without knowing it, even though I have tried to raise his awareness of it. The Christians I confide in say that I am an enabler, but I do not like that term…and I don’t feel I am. Can you clarify?

Answer: It’s difficult to hear people tell us something about ourselves we don’t believe is true. And you’re right, sometimes it is a fine line. It might be helpful for you to ask them what they see in you that makes them think you enable your husband’s emotional abuse. But let me give you four red flags that might indicate enabling behavior.

1. Do you ever lie, cover up, or make excuses for your husband’s emotionally abusive behaviors? You might have a very good reason like you don’t want to embarrass him or disrespect him by calling it what it is, but right now, just be honest with yourself.

Sometimes we think that this is our duty or responsibility as a submissive wife or godly person to cover up sin, but I don’t believe God wants us to exchange the truth for a lie or call evil good.

We can speak the truth with a gentle spirit and in love (with their best interests in mind).

The apostle Paul says that we are to have nothing to do with the unfruitful deeds of darkness but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:11). When abuse remains hidden and secret, it flourishes.

Here is What People are Saying About Leslie's Introduction to Core Strength Class

This class has changed my life! I thank God every day that I am alive and that I am able to help others. I feel he has a divine plan for my life and I just want to do his will. I still have a lot of struggles with my soon to be ex-husband (covert narcissist); we started divorce proceedings and it is so hard not to want that safety. I know I need to trust God and take one day at a time. Something she might consider speaking about is covert narcissist's husband/wives. I had never heard this term before.

I had heard of narcissism but not covert. The hardest part is realizing that our marriage was a facade! He never loved me, and, of course, never cared b/c why would a husband leave when their wife is so sick. I was there for him through all of his illnesses and hospitalizations. However, I now take responsibility for marrying him and for my life. I saw signs before we married. God was speaking but I was not listening b/c of many reasons!


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States