I love to play videogames. It is a hobby and passion that has not gone away with age. I can remember being a young child and being filled with excitement just by reading a gaming magazine. A new game being released was like Christmas to me. Many times, back then, I would play a game and then start to get bored with it. I would then search out cheat codes and ways to have extra fun with the game or to simply get past impossible parts of the game. Games back then were more difficult than they are now—I recall.
The idea of using cheat codes to complete difficult games was intuitive to me. It was logical and necessary some times. As a Christian therapist, I have recognized that God has given us “cheats” in the form of the Bible. These “cheats” help to carry the believer through the difficult and devastating aspects of this life, caused by sin. God’s word teaches us about the power of forgiveness, the importance of being indwelt by His Spirit, how to avoid sexual sin, how to avoid self-centeredness through sacrifice and caring for others. His laws are good! God’s word is a large book of codes to help us manage the pitfalls and enemies of this life. It is more than that, however. His word empowers us and levels us up through wisdom.
A public figure and gospel musician posted on his Instagram account a photo that was deemed by some to be inappropriate and potentially dangerous. This photo of the father embracing his teenage sleeping son on the couch sparked a debate around masculinity, limitations of touch, privacy, and the role of fathers in the lives of their sons.
This topic is important to me because of my close relationship with my father, whom I consider to be a close friend, mentor, and the man that I honor most in life. I find as a therapist that we as a whole generally default to perpetuating what we observed or received as a young child. Formative early life experiences set our expectations well into adulthood, and that includes how we are supposed to interact with male figures. From my experiences, it is no shock that this picture evoked strong positive and negative emotions, and I hypothesize that these reactions are based on what type of manhood each person had modeled for him or her as a young person.
At the half point, 2020 has proved to be difficult and the most unique experience of many our lives. There have been rumors of wars, a global pandemic, 40 million people filing jobless claims, months without in-person church services, masks, political theater, and social unrest. As more and more people live within “normal,” they are realizing that they are losing rest, battling anxiety and isolation, and discovering that genuine peace is elusive. Our Grounding in God Campaign 2020 (#GGC2020) is about helping people find their footing on the sure rock that is Jesus Christ.
Technology poses one of the greatest threats to holiness and purity for disciples of Christ. While its power can be harnessed for great benefit and use, such as connecting loved ones, allowing robust studying, relaxation and entertainment, and convenience, technology’s drawbacks are often acknowledged but too readily dismissed. We likely overlook and downplay the true cost of technology on our spiritual development because we seek to protect our idols rather than tear them down.
This time of year can be very difficult. Many people are overwhelmed with shopping, travel plans, in-laws, financial strain, or some combination of unpleasant experiences. This happens right when we are expected to be thankful and hopeful of what the next year brings. That’s a difficult combination. Throw in grief, guilt, or frustration at unmet goals, and forget about it! A person can easily lose against the tides of being anxious or depressed.
In my work, I encounter many guys who are disempowered. A man can feel disempowered when he is denied authority, power, or hope over his own life. He is likely to lash out in 1-to-3 different ways: Retreat, Self-Destruct, or Destroy.
It wasn’t until I became more aware of the experiences of other people that I discovered how dicey Father’s Day is for a lot of people. It is not a holiday of fond memories, love, and cheesy dad-gifts for many, many people. I write this post and counsel people with the full knowledge that this can be an extremely difficult topic, as people may be recovering from various types of abuse and degrees of hurt. Yet, I am reminded that my heavenly father is good, and his commands are good (Psalm 19:8). I hope that this post will give you some ideas on how you can obey God, honor your fallen father, and keep yourself safe (emotionally, spiritually, and physically).
Just a simple look around, and you will see that stress is everywhere. People are overwhelmed with all that life requires: work, family, errands, bills, medical issues, etc. Although there are many legitimate pulls on our time and money, they all can add up and come at a cost to our mental and spiritual well-being. Put into practice these three simple yet powerful ideas, and regain balance and peace today.
One main way that we learn is by observing those around us. Alfred Bandura, renowned psychologist and Social Cognitive Learning theorist, cemented this reality into modern education and mental health training. He put forward the idea that our behavior could be determined by our environment and what we observe happening around us—for good and for bad. With this simple understanding, I have helped children with behavioral and emotional challenges by working with their parents first--particularly fathers.
We hate being taken advantage of and preyed upon. We feel disrespected and dishonored when we know in our gut that someone is getting over on us. Whether it’s a shady used car salesman concealing a known problem, a deceptive business practice designed to shake us down for more money, or even a friend who promised to pay us back but instead went on a vacation. We intrinsically know it and feel it when we come across a bad “character.” In today’s society, it is difficult to pin down what constitutes good character, but we all know it when it is missing.