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What's New:

  • I will be posting several small teaching videos starting next week on my Fan Page. Please check them out and share them with your friends.

  • I will be doing a Facebook Live on Monday, April 8th at 7:30 PM ET. Facebook Live is easy - simple go to my Fan Page at 7:30 PM ET and you will see the video.
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Three (3) Times When It's Better to Speak Up Rather Than Shut Up

By Leslie Vernick

In my coaching and counseling practice, I talk with people who are in pain. Husbands fail to love their wives. Wives disrespect and hurt their husbands. Friends disappoint one another. Sometimes we struggle just to get along peacefully.

Yet, Jesus said that we’re to be branded by our extravagant love for one another. Even more challenging is Jesus’ command to love our enemies and to forgive those who mistreat and hurt us.

But how do we balance these commands of Christ with the biblical mandates to speak the truth in love, to be the salt and light of the world, to confront sin, to go to someone when they’ve sinned against us, and to admonish the unruly? It isn’t always clear when we ought to put up with one another’s weaknesses and be patient with him or her, or whether we should confront a person directly about his or her sin.

Here are some guidelines to help you decide whether you should be quiet (forbear), or whether you should speak up and confront.

First, forbearance is a very good spiritual discipline to practice. Jesus reminds us to take the log out of our own eye before we try to remove the speck in our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:4). We all need to learn to live graciously with one another’s weaknesses and faults because we all have them.

Instead of practicing biblical forbearance, sometimes we choose outer silence but nurse inner discontent, anger or bitterness. By keeping quiet, we may preserve an illusion of peace, but it’s not a biblical peace and often results in further conflict and alienation not to mention feelings of resentment.

Forbearance doesn’t mean simply being passive or quiet when someone does something wrong or hurts us. Forbearance actively works to understand, accept, forgive, and let go of an offense, all without ever talking directly to the person about it.

Second, when we decide we must speak up about an offense or something that bothers us, it’s important that we not thoughtlessly blurt out our thoughts and feelings without any regard for the well being of the other person or the relationship.

When we do that it’s like vomiting on them. Sure it feels better getting it out, but vomit belongs in the toilet, and not on a person. Better to take some time to vomit out your first draft in a notebook so that you can better decide what exactly needs to be said for the purpose of reconciliation and/or the welfare of the other individual.

Below are three situations where speaking up is the better choice.

1. The matter dishonors God. (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Corinthians 5:11,12; Romans 2:19-24)

When Queen Esther was told of Haman’s wicked plan to have all the Jews exterminated, she knew that it was a not time to forbear but to speak out. She didn’t do it rashly, but prayerfully and thoughtfully. (Read the OT book of Esther for the story). She was afraid but she knew speaking up was the right choice.

2. The matter hurts the other person (James 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1)

We are to be faithful to our friends and friendships and that means that if we observe someone caught in a repetitive harmful sin or habit, we need to speak to them about it. Do you have a friend who is flirting with disaster? Tempted with an affair? Being abusive towards their spouse? Playing with drugs? Abusing alcohol?

So many people have told me they wished someone would have come along side of them and lovingly warned them before they fell of the cliff. Hebrews tells us to encourage each other day after day lest any of us become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).

3. The matter has damaged our relationship (Matthew 5:23 , Matthew 18:15; Proverbs 16:28; Proverbs 17:9)

When someone repeatedly or grievously sins against us, it is no longer time for forbearance but for speaking up. Matthew 5 and Matthew 18 tell us that if someone has sinned against us, or if we have something against another person, we are to go and make peace first before presenting our offering.

Our relationship has been hurt or damaged by something someone has done. We can’t forbear. Even if we’ve tried, we can’t let it go and it’s eating us up inside and harming our relationship. Now is the time to speak up or the relationship will deteriorate even more.

You want to know how? Like Queen Esther did, we need to have a plan. Click here to read my free article on how to have a difficult discussion with someone and Share with a friend.

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Self-Esteem: Looking Up Instead of Looking Inside

by Leslie Vernick

How do you answer the question: “Who am I?” Do you base your self image on your successes, failures, acceptance, and/or rejections by others? Most of us do, but when we base our value and worth on external sources rather than what God says, our self-image will shift like sand, leading to an unstable and anxious sense of who we are.

Experienced counselor and author Leslie Vernick shares that the answer to healing a negative self-image and low self-esteem is not in trying harder, gaining more popularity, being more productive, having more possessions, securing more power, having a coveted position, or in achieving perfection. A healthy sense of self doesn’t happen by focusing on self at all. Instead a healthy self-image combines the security of knowing God’s love with the humility that comes from knowing ourselves and how much we need Christ.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter.

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

The winners of "The Emotionally Destructive Relationship" by Leslie Vernick are Laura C. and Roberta E.


Sexual Abuse in Marriage: 12 Ways to Help Victims

By Darby Strickland

When God places women in our care who have been sexually abused in marriage, he is entrusting us with a tender and clear mission. These women face tremendous suffering and need us to care for them with gentle wisdom. They also need us to be strong—calling evil acts what they are—evil. This is not a comfortable calling, but it is a critical calling, one after Jesus’ own heart (Luke 4:18-19). Often it means we, ourselves, need to acquire additional wisdom and learn what it means to embody Jesus to these dear sufferers. The last thing we want to do is to inadvertently hurt them when we try to help.

So, let’s start with the basics. We know we are to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), especially when someone is facing evil (Rom. 12:9-12). We are to be compassionate, gentle, and patient in our care (Eph. 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:8). In addition to these basics, here are some practical ways to walk alongside and minister to these women.

1. Ask. Sexual abuse in marriage is frightening to reveal. Sadly, a large percentage of my counselees who experience physical and verbal cruelty are also experiencing sexual abuse. It is not something that women usually disclose because shame, stigma, and confusion contribute to silence. But speaking about it and receiving support is crucial to safety and healing.

One way to help victims is to bring up the topic. I usually say something like: “More than half of the women I see in oppressive marriages experience hard and difficult things in their sexual relationship. Are there ways that you struggle with physical intimacy? Things that make you uncomfortable? Do you experience any unwanted sexual activity? Do you ever feel pressured?” Sometimes victims are only ready to say “yes” to these questions but are not comfortable discussing the violations themselves. Do not press, just periodically check in asking them if they are ready to talk or have questions.

Here is What People are Saying About Leslie's Walking In Core Strength Group

“I feel stronger and better equipped to stand up for myself, enforce boundaries and be able to engage in conversations with my husband that don't go in circles.

The way Leslie facilitates the Walking in CORE Strength calls is amazing. She keeps the calls on track and I feel that each woman's issue it dealt with in a way that we all benefit. Role playing on the calls really hits home.

If I was talking to someone who is thinking about joining but has hesitations I would ask them are you getting help elsewhere? Do you have a good support group? If not you really need to do this. You deserve to do this for yourself.

Thank you Leslie. I love that you are open and honest about yourself. I'm so thankful for your ministry.”

~ WCS Participant.

LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS

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.

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