Category Archives: One Word: Grace

Time for Tea and a Blanket and World Peace


toddlers crying

It’s been a politically emotional week for people who voted, for those who didn’t vote; and for those who don’t even live in the United States of America. I’ve already vowed via Facebook that I will no longer discuss Trump with people in person or via social media. The evening of the election and for a few days following, I felt emotionally exhausted by the harsh words tossed back and forth between people who felt strong emotions about the candidates, the election process, and the election results (both the winning team and the losing team).

This election campaign and the strong reactions to the results (from both sides) reminded me that we need to learn to get along and work together. Politics is never something that should be taken likely. Political actions determine whether people will live or die, eat or go hungry, thrive or diminish, and a whole lot of other things in our day-to-day life.

When politics brings out the worst in us we behave like toddlers:

We throw tantrums

We want it our way

We scream “mine”

We bite (through words and actions)

We interrupt

We run away

We whine

We tattle

and like a toddler at the end of the day all we want is a blanket and a pacifier to sooth us.

I can’t say that my responses towards people I disagree with politically has always been role model behaviour. I don’t joke when it comes to discussing issues with people who want to take away the most basic human rights of others or those who want to create systemic barriers that prevent people from being able to meet the essential needs for living. I hate going into toddler mode; it’s mentally, spiritually, and emotionally draining.

Source: love_your_enemies_by_kevron2001
Source: love_your_enemies_by_kevron2001

I don’t have any advice or techniques on how to prevent adults from partaking in the “Toddler Method”, but what I do know is that God has asked us to do something that is incredibly difficult; He has asked us to love our enemies. He has asked us to love those who we disagree with. Don’t be fooled into thinking he is asking us to be passive and foolish, no, He hasn’t asked that of us; but He does ask us to love, because as much as we may dislike our political leaders or each other, He loves those we hate. It’s a challenging concept for our human minds to understand, but God has made it clear; He loves every, single, human being, even the ones we have deemed to be awful human beings.

I sometimes joke around by saying, “God loves you, but I don’t!”. Unfortunately, it’s not always a joke, it’s reality.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven in perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

I’ll leave you with a lesson I had to learn the hard way in my life. Don’t let the views and values of others you disagree with cause you to develop a hardened heart. Don’t allow room in your heart for hatred towards others; it only makes living in a diverse nation more difficult than it has to be.



Paul Teaches Us That People Can Change


This is my week 2 post for Write31Days. I’ve been thinking and writing everyday about how we can apply the teachings of St. Paul to working in the inner city and with the marginalized. I haven’t posted my weekday writing as I intended to do. I’m not sure why, but I started to find that I was writing at a deeply personal level about some of my internal struggles with grace, forgiveness, and mercy. I decided that it was best to not post those thoughts, but to instead work them out between God and myself. Below is one of my writings that I don’t mind sharing.

Galatians 1: 13-15

You have heard about my past life in the Jewish religion. I persecuted the church of God very much. I tried to destroy his people.  I was becoming a leader in the Jewish religion. I did better than most other Jews my own age. I tried harder than anyone else to follow the traditions we got from our ancestors.

But God had special plans for me even before I was born. So he chose me through his grace. It pleased him to let me see and know his Son so that I could tell the Good News about him to the non-Jewish people.

Paul was a changed man. He went from ordering people to be killed to being someone on a mission to save people with the good news of Christ. Paul’s extreme transformation shows that people can be transformed.

Christians often forget that many of the characters in the bible that we are called to look up to had evil ways, including cold blooded murder. Two of the most well known are King David and Moses. King David was a rapist, murderer, liar, and dishonest man; yet we have labeled him “a man after God’s own heart”. Moses, an ill-tempered man, killed a slave master.

I mention these murders because working in the inner city you meet more convicted and released murderers than you could imagine. There are people who have committed heinous crimes, but you wouldn’t know it. They have changed their ways and as far as anyone knows, they haven’t committed any crimes against others since their release.

I challenge Christians who are uncomfortable with being around people who have committed serious crimes against others. But I challenge them and ask, ‘If you can praise and follow the teachings of people like King David, Moses, and Paul; what makes you so uncomfortable about serving those who have committed the same types of crimes?’. My question often leaves people in an upsetting silence.

I caution people; if you want to help those in the inner city, you must believe that people can change and be transformed. God has used the example of various characters in the bible to show us what can happen if a person genuinely makes the effort to change their emotionally unhealthy and dangerous ways.

This doesn’t mean that you blindly trust people, not at all, discernment is necessary when working with people who have criminal backgrounds; but you must believe that change is possible. If you don’t believe that people can be transformed, you are setting these individuals up for failure. Hope is mandatory in this field.

There are Christians who are adamant that murderers should be given the death penalty; that’s their choice to believe so, but again, if you don’t believe these people should be released, then it is best not to serve in the inner city. I always ask, ‘How can you serve people with love when you believe they should be dead at worst, and incarcerated at best?’

I remind people that you don’t know the circumstances behind people’s crimes. There is never an excuse for assault, murder, torture, or any physical harm, but if our legal system allows these individuals to be free, we have to treat them with humanity. It’s not always easy to do so knowing what they have done in their past, but they deserve to be treated with decency. These individuals have paid the consequences for their crimes and although we may not agree with them being released, we need to remember that as Christians we cannot mistreat them simply because they have mistreated others; this is not how Christ modeled servant hood. In the gospel, no one was transformed by being mistreated, however, people were certainly changed for the better by receiving tangible actions of love from the hands of those who God has called to serve.

Mother Teresa and Hitler: What They Had in Common and What They Didn’t!


Mother Teresa and Hitler

On September 4, 2016 Mother Teresa was canonized as a Saint within the Roman Catholic church by Pope Francis. In the days leading up to this event there were many media articles written about Mother Teresa, some positive, some negative, and a few neutral. The comments section is where I was surprised by the volume of negative opinions and thoughts about the woman herself, her work, and her worthiness for canonization.

I’m not surprised there are people who are still angry at the historical atrocities committed by the Roman Catholic Church, I can’t fault these people for being angry, but I can’t point fingers at the Catholic Church without pointing fingers at my own denomination; they are equally as guilty for causing much historical harm to society, and colonized many nations and cultures around the world.

In reading about Mother Teresa I came to find out that she is classified as a Meyer’s Brigg’s INFJ. This personality type is described as the following:

INFJs indeed share a very unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – INFJs will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance.”

[INFJ’s] have an exceptionally strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others, and find great personal fulfillment interacting with people, nurturing their personal development, guiding them to realize their human potential.”

These traits sound like the description and work of Mother Teresa. When I was reading about her personality temperament, I also learned about another INFJ; Adolf Hitler. Surprising isn’t it? At first I thought there had to be a mistake; how could two people who seem to be complete opposites share the same personality type?

After reviewing the weaknesses of the INFJ type, I had a better understanding how an INFJ such as Adolf Hitler can behave in an evil manner.


The weaknesses of INFJ’s are: Sensitivity, intense need for privacy, perfectionist, always needing to have a “cause”, and an increased potential for burnout. (Source: further explains the unhealthy part of the INFJ nature:

“They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress. …Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubbornness and tendency to ignore other people’s opinions.”

Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses, and as you can see, the INFJ weaknesses can be extremely opposite to their strengths. Mother Teresa used her strengths for doing what she believed to be the work of God. She believed she was called to be with the suffering and those in poverty. She did not believe that anyone should die alone and unloved.

In order to achieve her vision and goals, I’m sure she had to be strong willed, decisive, and determined. Being an INFJ things could have easily gone wrong. She could have easily channeled her negative side and caused the world turmoil. Her opposite was Adolf Hitler who operated from the negative traits of the INFJ. He was stuck in the unhealthy state of mind of an INFJ. Hitler trusted his own instincts, and focused on his own selfish goals; believing that they were right. Trust is difficult for the INFJ, and it is known that Hitler did not trust very many people.  It’s a difficult concept to accept, but somewhere in his disturbed mind, he believed he was doing the human race something good. We know his evilness resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

I am an INFJ, I am also a 6 in the Enneagram. Guess who else is a 6? You guessed it, Hitler. I was upset to read this, but again, after reading the descriptions for these temperaments, I wasn’t surprised.

Sixes on the Enneagram have security as their main motivation in life, “Key Motivations: Want to have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity” (Enneagram Institute).

Hitler needed security. He was described as being insecure. His idea of security was to create a nation where he is in charge and anyone he doesn’t like or believe is worthy of life is killed. His security came at the expense of other people’s lives.

I took a few deep breathes and assured myself that I was nothing like Hitler. I don’t believe in taking people’s lives or violating the human rights of others. I believe in security for myself, others, and society, but there’s a wrong and a right way to go about achieving this.

These extremes within the same personality type reminded me of the importance of having God in my life and the teachings of Jesus. I was reminded that despite having a certain type of personality or temperament, I still have to do the work to build a healthy character. Whatever I do must be covered in love, compassion, and understanding.

Fruit of the Spirit

We see and hear about the fruit of the spirit so much that I think we as believers don’t take it seriously enough. If we take godly character development seriously, we will be less likely to gravitate towards the toxic and unhealthy parts of our personality traits. The difference between Mother Teresa and Hitler was this: she was about serving others and loving people in the name of God, she never lost sight of this. Hitler on the other hand, was selfish, everything he did was to make himself great, even if it cost millions of people their lives. They were both INFJ’s, they both had a vision, and they each fulfilled their goals with very different results.

Regardless of your personality trait or temperament; be sure that you are operating from a place of God’s love, mercy, and grace.


What are your worst personality or temperament traits?


Pray and ask God to help you grow in your strengths and decrease in your weaknesses so that you can be the best of what God created you to be.




Fitness Failure: Here We Go Again!


I was thinking about those of us who fail to meet our summer fitness goals. Every year I make a goal and fall short. I’m at the age and stage of my life where I have no desire to stress over my fitness failures. I didn’t run a half marathon one year; another year I didn’t meet my goal of running a 5k every single month during the Spring and Summer; I didn’t’ lose 50 pounds in 5 weeks; and I didn’t stick with whatever latest Beach Body DVD that I had purchased. For me, summer has always been a season of missing the mark.

Success is Small Steps

It all started in elementary and has continued ever since. There were my major summer fitness fails, resulting in zero weight loss and zero increase in fitness level and in some cases a lot of waste money.

In desperation after many diet and weight loss failures in my 20’s I begged doctors for weight loss pills. I was refused. They all used the same spiel about eating more vegetables, exercising, and drinking water; something I didn’t want to hear. I had great success with an over the counter product called Xenadrine. I didn’t lose any weight, instead, I had increased concentration. I was no longer fidgeting during college lectures, my mind no longer felt scattered, I was more organized, and my habit of constantly interrupting people and being hyperactive had decreased. Xenadrine was temporarily taken off of Canadian shelves due to one of it’s ingredients named ephedra. I noticed the difference in my behaviour when I could no longer access the product. My positive experience with Xenical is what finally led to me seeing a doctor and educational psychologist for a diagnosis of ADHD. There were people, including my professors who hinted that I might have ADHD, but at the time I didn’t believe it. Turns out they were correct. In hindsight I’m not sure how I had missed all the classic symptoms of the disorder. Oddly enough, I didn’t lose any weight from taking medication for ADHD. I have no explanation for that seeing as weight loss is one of the side effects. I laugh knowing that I even failed at loosing weight from a stimulant.

My doctor offered what was deemed to be a safer weight loss pill called Xenical. It worked, I lost weight, and I also lost a lot of oily stool from my butt. Yes, leaky, smelly, oily liquid would uncontrollably ooze out of my bottom night and day. I went through numerous underwear and pants that got discarded when even Tide couldn’t help. I lost weight because I eventually became afraid to eat. I was afraid to eat because everything that I consumed turned into the gross oily mess that leaked out of me.

It was after the leaky butt episode that I decided I would never diet again. Out of desperation and frustration I was willing to risk heart problems from prescription weight loss pills, but there was no way I would continue to risk oozing grossness all over me and anything I sat on. No way.

Failure is not Final

My earlier summer fitness failures taught me that I often make unrealistic and often ridiculous decisions when I become desperate to lose weight or try to become fitter in a short period of time. I also realized I wasted a lot of money trying to lose weight. It’s important to invest money in becoming healthy, it’s worth it, but spending money on things that are made during rash, desperate moments are never a good idea.

Despite repeatedly falling short each Summer I know I’ll keep making health and fitness goals. Despite my failures I continue to make progress with each new goal that I attempt. I keep making progress because I don’t stop. I continue to move forwards by not letting the fact that I continue to fall short become my destiny. Maybe you didn’t do a 10K, can 7k be enough for your right now? So what if you didn’t lose 30 pounds, can 15 be enough for you? You might have planned to eat a cooked breakfast every day, but only seem to average 3 days out of the week. Is this an improvement? Yes, then good job, keep going and 3 days will eventually turn into 5 days.

Phil 4:13


Consider some of your goals that became “failures”. Can you see them in a different light? Are your “failures” a form of progress? Might those “failures” actually be a form of success?

Take some time to think of your failures and find the positive in them. No life experience goes to waste when we learn from them by growing and transforming.