VIDEO Is Teaching Tolerance the Solution or the Problem?


The only difference between tolerance and intolerance is political correctness.

Jun 09, 2017

Donald Trump is absolutely correct that “the big problem this country has is being politically correct.” As Ben Carson explained, “Political correctness is ruining our country. It is corrosive because ‘many people will not say what they believe because someone will look askance at them, call them a name. Somebody will mess with their job, their family.'” In fact, one of the things many people like most about Trump is his willingness to say what they believe and were afraid to say for the reasons Carson stated.

According to William A. Galston, a Brookings Institution scholar who advised President Bill Clinton, “Driving powerful sentiments underground is not the same as expunging them. What we’re learning from Trump is that a lot of people have been biting their lips, but not changing their minds.”

In other words, the only difference between tolerance and intolerance is political correctness.

In fact, some “argue that growing antipathy to the notion of political correctness has become an all-purpose excuse for the inexcusable. They say it has emboldened too many to express racism, sexism and intolerance, which endure even as the country grows more diverse.”

This is entirely consistent with philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti’s definition of tolerance, which is as follows:

You have your beliefs, and another has his; you hold to your particular form of religion and another to his; you are a Christian, another is a Mahomedan, and yet another a Hindu. You have these religious dissensions and distinctions, but yet you talk of brotherly love, tolerance and unity – not that there must be uniformity of thought and ideas. The tolerance of which you speak is merely a clever invention of the mind; this tolerance merely indicates the desire to cling to your own idiosyncrasies, your own limited ideas and prejudices, and allow another to pursue his own. In this tolerance there is no intelligent diversity, but only a kind of superior indifference. There is utter falsity in this tolerance. You say, ‘You continue in your own way, and I shall continue in mine; but let us be tolerant, brotherly.’ When there is true brotherliness, friendliness, when there is love in your heart, then you will not talk of tolerance. Only when you feel superior in your certainty, in your position, in your knowledge, only then do you talk of tolerance. You are tolerant only when there is distinction. With the cessation of distinction, there will be no talk of tolerance. Then you will not talk of brotherhood, for then in your hearts you are brothers.”

For what it’s worth, prejudice is defined as “an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling formed without enough thought or knowledge.”

The following sentence conveys Krishnamurti’s view of acceptance: “When there is true brotherliness, friendliness, when there is love in your heart, then you will not talk of tolerance.”

According to John Gottman, a world-renowned relationship expert, not all conflicts can be resolved. “Unresolvable ‘perpetual’ problems exist even in the healthiest of relationships due to ‘lasting personality differences between partners.” Gottman has found that “only 31% of couples’ major areas of continuing disagreement were about resolvable issues…. Sixty-nine percent of the time, couples conflicted about perpetual issues in the relationship that never get resolved. What mattered was not solving these problems but the affect around which they were discussed. The goal seemed to be to establish a dialogue with the perpetual problem [even differences in deeply held values] that communicated acceptance of the partner, humor, affection, even amusement, and active coping with the unresolvable problem rather than the condition of ‘gridlock.’”

Notice that Gottman also used the term “acceptance”, rather than “tolerance.” You see, we are capable of disagreeing with someone, while still accepting them and their perspective.

Social science researcher Brene’ Brown has never mentioned anything about tolerating others, but she has said the following:

“When it comes to our sense of love, belonging, and worthiness, we are most radically shaped by our families of origin – what we hear, what we are told, and perhaps most importantly, how we observe our parents engaging with the world….

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. One of the biggest surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are….

The important thing to know about worthiness is that it doesn’t have prerequisites. Most of us, on the other hand, have a long list of worthiness prerequisites – qualifiers we’ve inherited, learned and unknowingly picked up along the way. Most of these prerequisites fall in the categories of accomplishments, acquisitions, and external acceptance…. Shame loves prerequisites….

Empathy and shame are on opposite ends of a continuum. Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. Shame is how we see ourselves in others’ eyes. Shame results in fear, blame (of self or others), and disconnection. Shame tells us that our imperfections make us inadequate. Shame separates and isolates. On the other hand, empathy involves understanding another person’s situation from their perspective. As such, you must be able to place yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they are feeling and without judging them. Empathy moves us to a place of courage and compassion. Through it, we come to realize that our perspective is not the perspective. Empathy is incompatible with shame and judgment. In fact, it is the most powerful antidote to shame.”

The reason tolerating others is not in Brown’s vocabulary is because we judge those we tolerate.

Judgment happens to everyone at some point, and it hurts. [Think of] an experience you had when you felt judged [treated differently for who you are] or like people were making assumptions about you; this could be an experience based on your sexual orientation, race, class, sex, etc.”

Discrimination is “the treatment of a person or particular group of people differently, in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated…. Discrimination is also prejudice against people and a refusal to give them their rights.”

Yet, “in its polling on a variety of same-sex marriage ballot measures, Lake Research had found that many voters define ‘discrimination’ as treating someone wrongly, not simply treating them differently.” However, the recipient(s) of such treatment feels exactly the same, irrespective of how it’s defined or perceived by the giver.

Discrimination is a rotten experience, being stigmatized is life-changing, and experiencing or witnessing the scalding unfairness and unkindness of prejudice is unforgettable.”

Tolerance is part of discrimination, which explains why we have intolerance. Acceptance is the answer, not tolerance.

Meanwhile, rather than encourage us to be accepting of others, we tout the importance of tolerance.

For example, the “Pope urges ‘tolerant and inclusive’ US society.” Never mind that inclusiveness comes with acceptance, not tolerance.

Consider the following quote from an article titled The Rise of Hate Search that was published by the New York Times:

Another solution might be for leaders to talk about the importance of tolerance and the irrationality of hatred, as President Obama did in his Oval Office speech last Sunday night. He asked Americans to reject discrimination and religious tests for immigration. The reactions to his speech offer an excellent opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t work.

Mostly, we found that Mr. Obama’s well-meaning words fell on deaf ears. Overall, in fact, his speech provoked intolerance. The president said, ‘It is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination.’ But searches calling Muslims ‘terrorists,’ ‘bad,’ ‘violent’ and ‘evil’ doubled during and shortly after his speech.”

Speaking of President Obama, consider the following quote by the editors of The New Yorker:

Every Presidential election involves a contest over the idea of America. Obama’s America—one that progresses, however falteringly, toward social justice, tolerance, and equality—represents the future that this country deserves.”

We also have the Museum of Tolerance.

And, let’s not forget that the Southern Poverty Law Center has a program titled Teaching Tolerance, which is “dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children…. [The] project combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom.”

Based upon everything I know, teaching tolerance rather than acceptance is teaching prejudice. The Southern Poverty Law Center seems to be using the name as synonymous with acceptance, which it’s not.  Words have meaning. I wish they had called the program Teaching Acceptance.

On April 10, 2017, the Law Journal Editorial Board, New Jersey Law Journal published an article titled It’s ‘Equality,’ Not ‘Tolerance’ which stated in part as follows:

In response to an apparently coordinated set of bomb threats to 10 Jewish Community Centers around the country, Ivanka Trump Kushner recently tweeted, ‘America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance.’ We are sure that she had good intentions, but her understanding of this country’s values is incomplete. America is not built on the principle of religious tolerance. It is built on the principle of religious freedom and equality.”

The following is an excerpt from The Prop 8 Report: What Defeat in California Can Teach Us about Winning Future Ballot Measures on Same-Sex Marriage:

Over the long haul, however, honesty and directness have great power, particularly to help unfairly stigmatized communities lift themselves up. The example of the Civil Rights Movement is instructive, and far more analogous to our situation than ordinary elections. If we win an election but anti-gay prejudice remains undiminished, the victory is at high risk of being reversed in the next election. Our long-term success depends upon the reduction of stigma and greater acceptance of LGBT people as good, decent people.

This is particularly true in the situation confronting us today with same-sex marriage. Our opposition depicts us in a highly unflattering way in every election. We give them the power to define us when only they talk about us. We therefore have to talk about ourselves or we functionally forfeit the election. Honestly acknowledging that the ballot measure is about us may or may not lead us to victory; but failing to honestly acknowledge this basic truth puts us at a terrible disadvantage and has consistently led to defeat.

Honesty is therefore not only the idealistic option; it is also our only realistic option. The alternative is hoping that voters will figure out the truth about us when we give them no information to help them, knowing they will be exposed to anti-gay propaganda and likely grew up exposed to anti-gay prejudice. The latter perspective is the epitome of unrealistic wishful thinking….

Honesty and directness do not guarantee success; they merely give us our best chance. Fortunately, honesty affects both those who are already with us and those who start out against us. The rightness of our cause inspires our supporters to stand up and fight; and our humanity persuades some fair-minded non-supporters to reconsider their prejudice against us.

We will surely feel uncomfortable at times relying on honesty. All of us have had experiences in life when honesty let us down, perhaps when we came out to someone who then rejected us. But if we can’t live with discomfort and take calculated risks, we will be at the mercy of our opposition and they are not merciful. For the same reason that we often find greater acceptance when we come out of the closet than we expected before we take the leap, we will over the long haul do better when our campaigns are out of the closet as well.”

Following the passage of Proposition 8, the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Leadership LAB (Learn Act Build) discovered an incredibly effective way of combating prejudice and fostering acceptance, which it calls Deep Persuasion Canvassing, also known as empathy conversations. The journal Science published a landmark study about the Leadership LAB’s work and this extraordinary new tool in the battle against prejudice. I’ve written about such conversations in Bridging Our National Divide Demands Empathy and Compassion and Protests and Force Don’t Change People’s Hearts and Minds.

Dave Fleischer, who runs the Leadership LAB at the Los Angeles LGBT Center gave a TED Talk on the subject titled How We Can Reduce Prejudice with a Conversation. The Los Angeles LGBT Center also posted a video online titled Watch A Voter Change Their Mind About Transgender Discrimination.

In her article The Difference Between Tolerance And Acceptance, Brynn Tannehill said the following:

There’s a world of difference between tolerance and acceptance. Living someplace that is merely tolerant without acceptance is like an existence within a sensory deprivation chamber.

It won’t directly kill you, but it exacts a toll….

Mere tolerance is a wraith with no past and no future, an existence out of phase with its reality. And by no future, I mean that this tolerant existence precludes the opportunity to build fully realized relationships. There is no starting point to discover commonalities, to build, to connect.

Or to love. To be loved. To be needed and wanted and have the full range of the human experience available to you.”

If we were interested in changing hearts and minds rather than teaching tolerance, we wouldn’t experience the intolerance lurking beneath the veil of political correctness.

Until then, let’s keep in mind that none of us can control what people can and can’t believe. We have the right to Freedom of Speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. We can, therefore, express our beliefs. We can remind people that with rights come responsibilities and that it is irresponsible to say and do things merely because you have the right to say and do them, particularly when you completely disregard the harm it causes. However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that one of the things many people like most about Trump is his willingness to say what they believe and were afraid to say. As such, they aren’t saying things merely because they have the right to say them; rather, they are saying that which they believe.

If our goal is to reduce prejudice, then we need to challenge the “unfair and unreasonable opinions or feelings formed without enough thought or knowledge.”

Teaching tolerance, whereby people mask their prejudicial intolerance with political correctness, hasn’t worked and never will work. Fortunately, empathy conversations have proven to be an extraordinary tool in the battle against prejudice.

Is Tolerance Intolerant? Pursuing the Climate of Acceptance and Inclusion – Ravi Zacharias at UCLA


6 Ways to Make Sure It’s Worship, Not Performance

Candice Lucey Contributing Writer

6 Ways to Make Sure It's Worship, Not Performance

David danced up the hill with the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Samuel. Angels sang about their glorious King in Luke 2 and will sing when Jesus’ returns according to Revelation 5.

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.– 1 Chronicles 16:23

We are not only permitted but commanded to sing, dance, and generally exalt the name of God. Artists, however, will tell you – it’s easy to cross the line where worship becomes performance.

What is worship?

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia online defines worship thus: “Honor, reverence, homage, in thought, feeling, or act, paid to men, angels, or other “spiritual” beings, and figuratively to other entities, ideas, powers or qualities, but specifically and supremely to Deity.”

How can we demonstrate “acceptable worship with reverence and awe?” (Hebrews 12:28)

Worship is our gift to the Lord, and like an earthly father receiving a lopsided clay pot from his kindergarten child on Father’s Day, God graciously accepts what we offer as long as we give it as an act of gratitude and a demonstration of love.

What does it take to put together a worship session that glorifies Jesus? There should be an element of sacrifice. Take time to carefully select songs so they support the pastor’s message. Take time to rehearse and prepare. Pray for yourselves and those listening; to give thanks to God. And finally, lead worship on Sunday morning.

When musicians lead worship on stage, all attention is redirected upwards and inwards; to Jesus and to His Spirit in us. The words we sing, the way we dress, and our movements are thoughtful and devotional.

What is performance?

Dictionary definitions of performance are not nuanced enough to convey the influence of pride and vanity. Performance directs attention to a singer’s acrobatics and range, the guitarist’s nimble fingers, trendy clothes, or a dazzling light show.

Performers want applause and recognition for themselves.  Chosen songs may highlight the leader’s musical preferences and might not support the pastor’s message or encourage congregational singing.

So, when you’re preparing to lead worship that serves the Lord’s purposes, here are six facets to consider:

1. Plan for the congregation’s sake.

Tunes with catchy, memorable melodies are easiest to follow and remember. It’s helpful for worship teams to sing in a key comfortable for the majority of singers. Our worship teams make mistakes and we hear about them from the pastor or from a member of the congregation who found the songs hard to follow, the drums too loud, or the key too high.

On a good day, however, I cannot hear my own voice because the congregation is making a joyful sound.

A multi-generational audience represents assorted musical preferences, so consider adding at least one hymn to the set out of respect and kindness towards your older members. If you want to select a modern arrangement which follows the rules above, sometimes this helps worshipers to hear excellent lyrics with fresh ears while the words remain familiar.

2. Remember your job.

The job of a singer or musician on Sunday morning is to engage, not to entertain. Sing clearly and loudly enough so that, if a song is new, the building isn’t filled with uncomfortable silence. Practice and prepare to set a joyful, enthusiastic example.

Maybe someone in the congregation needs to see that it’s okay not to stand like a statue in church. Show some energy, but nothing ostentatious like spontaneous break dancing, vocal gymnastics, or a drum solo.

Worship leaders are communicating with God and helping others do the same as a “demonstration of respect,” but that bland definition misses the fullness of conversation. We don’t just sing into the ether and hope that God picks up the thread of a tune as He passes by on His way to do something more important.

He is everywhere, all the time, eager for us to talk to Him. We can do that in song, with full hearts, praising, asking, confessing directly to Him.

3. Encourage joy.

Here is the mind-blowing part: God talks back. When we worship the Lord in music, swaying, hands-waving, abandoned joyfully to the rhythms of the Holy Spirit, Jesus uses lyrics and music to express His love back to us.

As we sing, He reminds us of some truth we might need that week, or encourages us when we are suffering. He connects with us individually and corporately.

Music adds a visceral component to the voice of God for ears which often fail to truly hear Him through the week. Scripture set to song is more memorable, replaying itself in one’s mind for days. Even the unbeliever will find truth stuck in his or head throughout the week.

It’s okay to dance on stage; in fact, many people are moved to bounce on the spot by the activity of musicians and singers. This should be a time of joy. James asked “Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” (5:13)

A background vocalist raises her hands, gets excited, can’t hold it in. The truth about Jesus really is exciting, moving, and a reason for joy. How can one sing lyrics full of truth and beauty, yet not be moved to…move?

4. Support the message.

Our worship pastor has created a checklist for song choices. Lyrics must be supported biblically, not just enjoyable or popular. As noted above, setting words to songs makes them easier to remember, so we want the congregation to remember truth.

The words to songs we choose on a Sunday connect listeners to the message, helping them to recall what the pastor said more easily as they reflect during the rest of the week.

5. Honor modesty.

Even when the music points believers to Jesus, showing too much flesh or wearing a tight outfit causes competition between worship and gawking. In fact, if the job is done right, musicians become invisible.

True, God accepts us as we are, regardless of the clothes we wear, and praise the Lord every time someone enters church half-naked or unwashed. Churches are to open their arms to prostitutes and the homeless. Leaders on stage, however, are ambassadors of redemption. Carelessness in dress or visuals suggests a careless attitude towards the Messiah, the Gospel, and those we are serving.

A multi-colored light show isn’t necessary to promote praise, but good lighting helps musicians to see what they are doing. It enables the congregation to witness expressions of delight during worship, and also helps shy musicians focus on music and prayer, rather than an audience, by casting the congregation into shadow.

6. Lose yourself in worship.

When will you know that performance gave way to worship? Like discerning whether or not you are wise or humble: if you know you are, then you aren’t. You might be unaware until someone tells you.

I often close my eyes and the people in front of me disappear. Jesus descends over the whole place physically. I might be crying, or smiling like an idiot, and I am definitely dancing. I’ve seen this emotional response from other singers. If my mind was wandering, their emotion has jolted me back to the words.

What Christ did for us on the cross should overwhelm, even take us by surprise. No one is immune, and sometimes getting choked up is the eye-opener someone out there needs to understand that the Bible isn’t just words. Church is indeed more than a way to fill up Sunday morning. We worship a living God every day.

Don’t be afraid that this sense of abandon will happen to you; it will. It’s a reward of praising God authentically. He comes so close you can feel His breath. Zephaniah 3:17 says “The Lord your God is in your midst” and He will “rejoice over you with gladness.”

Worship in response to this promise, for the congregation and for yourself, but mostly to glorify the Father who taught us how to sing.

headshot of author Candice LuceyCandice Lucey is a writer who loves Jesus. She lives in one of the most beautiful parts of British Columbia, Canada, with her family.

How Can Shepherds Survive Biting Sheep?

Love of people, purpose, and mission won’t sustain you through ministry’s low points.

How Can Shepherds Survive Biting Sheep?


Phantom strikes. That’s what some people call them, and appropriately so. They are the words from anonymous congregants, the furtive glances and side-eyes fueled by unchecked assumptions. There was a stretch of months a few years ago where these phantom strikes seemed to rain down. People were reacting to changes at our church—some related to worship practices, a few related to leadership. Phone calls and emails poured in. We met with as many people as we could, listened and explained, talked and prayed. But the phantom strikes kept coming. Those were the most difficult because we didn’t know who was saying what. Or why.

Pastoral ministry can hurt. We don’t always get it right. But instead of asking us our reasoning, many people make assumptions about our motives and attack what they presume to be our underlying theology. Pastors are expected to be astute theologians, insightful therapists, and intuitively brilliant leaders. But few of us match the idealized vision of any of those three vocations, much less all three. Our pain from the people we’re trying to help is compounded by our awareness of our own inadequacies.

This raises several questions: Why do we keep going? Why do we give of ourselves day in, day out, week after week? Why keep answering the call every day?

We all know the “right” answer: because of love. But what or who is the object of our love? Once again, the answer seems obvious: the person you are serving, the one to whom you are given. If your life is to be given for your children, then it is the love for your children that leads you to that place. If your life is to be given in service of the poor, then it is the love for the poor that leads to that givenness. And if you’re a pastor, love of the sheep keeps you serving as a shepherd.

That is the obvious answer. But I think it’s wrong.

At least, it’s incomplete and insufficient. It’s not enough to carry us through the dark nights and the lonely hours. It won’t push us through the pain and the hurt we’ve experienced from the ones we were trying to help.

If you don’t believe me, ask the apostle Peter.

After the Resurrection, Peter returned to fishing. Think about it: He ran to the tomb. He saw that it was empty. He was, most likely, with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them. He may have been there when Thomas placed his hands on Jesus’s scars. And still he went back to his old livelihood.

Maybe Peter felt he had lost it all that night when he denied knowing Jesus. Maybe Peter was too confused about what the Resurrection really meant. Maybe, whatever it meant, Peter was too covered in shame for it to matter. He might as well try to live a quiet life, a smaller story.

But John 21 describes how Jesus found Peter and reenacted the scene of their first encounter, the first time Jesus called Peter to follow him.

“Throw your nets on the other side of the boat,” the voice called out from the shore. Peter knew he had heard that voice before. But it was John who recognized whose voice it was.

“It is the Lord,” John said to Peter.

It might have been John who recognized Jesus first, but it was Peter who responded—and responded radically. Peter threw on his robes and swam to shore, leaving the other disciples to drag a big haul of fish behind the boat to shore.

After their breakfast on the beach, Jesus asked Peter a heart-piercingly simple question: “Do you love me more than these?”

Who were “these”? The other disciples? Did Jesus mean, “Is your love for me greater than their love for me?” Or did he mean, “Is your love for me greater than your love for the disciples?” We can’t be sure. Yet Peter’s answer acknowledged that whichever way the question was intended, Jesus already knew the answer.

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” Peter replied.

“Feed my lambs,” Jesus responded.

This exchange continued two more times, with minor variances. There has been much exploration of the nuances and shifts in word choices between the Savior and his disciple. But the main point is that Jesus was reinstating Peter. He was reaffirming Peter’s purpose, calling, and destiny. The three repetitions of the question correspond to Peter’s threefold denial.

The most significant bit, however, is hidden in plain sight.

In this restorative conversation, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?”

Not “Do you love my teachings?”

Not “Do you love yourself?”

Not “Do you love purpose and mission?”

And not “Do you love the sheep?”

In the other gospel accounts of Peter’s first call, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” You might say that first call was about a purpose. In essence, Jesus said, “Peter, I’ll lift you from a life that is going nowhere. I’ll sweep you up in the greatest story of all. I’ll give you a role in the kingdom of God arriving on earth as it is in heaven. I’ll make you a participant and not just a recipient.” That is, after all, what it means to be given.

But it isn’t the love of being given that leads to our givenness. It isn’t the love of a purpose that can sustain us. It was not enough to keep Peter faithful. The love of a calling will never keep you from falling.

If Peter’s first call was about a purpose, his second call—this renewal of destiny and identity—was about a person. “Peter, do you love me?”

What is your primary motivation in ministry? Is it love of Jesus above all else? Lesser loves may lead you to enter into vocational ministry, but they cannot sustain you through phantom strikes from the people you’re trying to serve and other ministry troubles and disappointments. The love of meaning or mission or purpose or the church will not keep you surrendering and serving. Only a deep and abiding love for Jesus can do that.

Glenn Packiam is associate senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs and the author of Blessed Broken Given(Multnomah, 2019), from which the article was adapted.

Gaslighting: Warning Signs and How to Escape It

Sarah Mae

Gaslighting: Warning Signs and How to Escape It

The official definition for gaslighting is to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity (Oxford dictionary). I’m going to offer it to you another way, in the way that experienced it with my alcoholic mother:

What Is Gaslighting?

The first thing you should know is that her verbal genius consisted in masterful sarcasm and an ability to convince you that you are the dumbest, most incompetent person she’s ever been around (skillfully slipped between the times she tells you how much she loves you). After she cuts you down over and over again, you get angry and the fire inside you rises. Once this happens and you tell her to stop or try to explain how she is hurting you, she gets self-righteously calm—so, so calm—and as you reel from her smugly spoken passive-aggressive comments, she slides into the role of victim. Why are you yelling? Why are you so angry? You have a problem. You are now in an alternate reality where you can no longer tell what is up and what is down. You feel the pain from the wounds she inflicts, but you’re becoming convinced that maybe it’s your fault, maybe there really isn’t any wound at all and you’re just crazy.

You blame yourself, believing that you really are dumb; you are the problem; you are being too sensitive. What is wrong with you, anyway?! You hate yourself for being this way and you begin to verbally berate yourself. You add to the wounds. This is the rhythm of your relationship, and it always ends with you punching or scratching yourself and screaming with a clenched jaw, so no one hears the cry.

With Gaslighting You Usually Have No Idea It’s Happening to You

To make things worse, not only are you confused and angry, replaying conversations over and over in your mind, wondering if you really are making a big deal out of nothing, you lack confidence in your own feelings, thoughts, observations, and opinions. How can you have confidence in any of those things when you can’t trust yourself to know what is true? You try to explain yourself and you say you’re sorry, but the person you’re tangled-up with never seems to apologize, not really. All you know for sure is that there is a fire under your skin that won’t go away and the only person it’s consuming is you.

Any of this sound familiar? If so, then it’s possible you’ve been gaslit.

Why Is it Called Gaslighting?

In 1940 a British film called Gaslight (based on a play) was released about a man who convinces his wife that she is going insane so she doesn’t suspect him of being the murderer and thief that he is (he needs to get her institutionalized so he can have power of attorney over her – it’s a whole twisty plot). The title refers to the lights in the house the wife says keep flickering even though she is told it’s her imagination. A poignant line from the movie comes after the wife is finally convinced that she’s out of her mind and her childhood friend says to her, “You’re not going out of your mind! You’re slowly and systematically being driven out of your mind.”

How Do I Know if I’ve Been or Am Being Gaslit?

One of the most insidious things about gaslighting,” says author and journalist Ariel S. Leve, “is the denial of reality. Being denied what you have seen with your own eyes and you know to be true. Being denied an experience that you have had, and you know is real.”

I would add that the gut-punch to this denial is that you aren’t sure that what you’ve seen is real, or that your experience is real, or rather, that it’s valid. When you’re being gaslit, you aren’t sure what is true and what isn’t, and when you think you know, you are then convinced that you don’t know—that you have it all wrong—that being punched in the face (as it were) is just a misunderstanding of you running into someone’s fist; how silly of you.

Being Gaslit Is Disorienting and Infuriating

If you want to know if you’ve been gaslit, start by asking yourself these questions in the context of a relationship you’re in or have been in (this can be a parent, sibling, romantic, work, or any relationship you feel tangled-up in):

  • Do you feel like I could see inside your brain when you read the above descriptions of being gaslit?
  • Do you find yourself thinking you might be crazy or that you can’t trust yourself or your perceptions? Do you constantly second-guess yourself?
  • Do you/did you feel like everything is/was your fault?
  • Do/did you find yourself questioning what is true and not true? Do you/did you often feel confused about what happened?
  • Do you/did you blame yourself and beat yourself up after not being taken seriously?
  • Do you struggle with lacking confidence in how you feel, in what you perceive to be valid?

Your answers to these questions are just a starting point as you begin (or continue) to unravel the trauma of abuse, whether that involves gaslighting or not.

How Should I Respond to Gaslighting?

1. Get Help + Ask God for the Truth

If you’ve been gaslit, you’ve likely been angry and sad and confused for a long time. I’m so sorry. As someone who gets it, I encourage you to two things right away: get help and ask God for the truth. Find a good therapist (ask for recommendations). If you can’t afford one, a safe, wise friend who can help you see clearly. Ask God to help you discern what is true and what isn’t true in the tangled-up threads of the gaslighting relationship.

2. Be Gentle with Yourself

You’ve likely spent years beating yourself up, blaming yourself for “being so stupid,” and feeling so confused over your mess of emotions. You can’t heal if you’re condemning or judging yourself. God is kind, gracious, merciful, humble, gentle, and truthful; He sits on a throne of grace. The accuser, the enemy, is the one who will speak lies and condemnation and sarcasm and twisted words over you. Don’t align with the darkness, with the lies. Ask God to help you believe the truth and walk in the light. You are not dumb or naïve or making a big deal over nothing. You’ve been harmed, and it’s valid to be hurt. Give yourself grace as you work through untangling the emotional abuse you’ve had to contend with.

3. Call it What it Is

If you are being gaslit, or you have been, call it what it is: manipulation and abuse. I know that can be hard, but it doesn’t mean you’re condemning the person who has abused you, it means you are telling the truth. And what is the truth? It’s reality. We cannot heal from a thing if we are not willing to identify it.

4. Grieve What You Lost

Grief is the process of accepting reality and letting go of our expectations. If you have been emotionally abused through gaslighting, you have something to grieve. Maybe it’s the loss of a relationship, the loss of what you were hoping from the relationship, or and/or the loss of a sense of your sanity. Some of you have spent years not trusting your own judgement or gut or being fearful of your own perceptions. I’m not talking here about following our own hearts and being deceived by our own sinful desires, which does happen when we don’t surrender to and trust God, but rather the suppression of our God-given instinct and ability to think clearly because of emotional abuse. It takes time to trust our instincts again, but as God heals and frees, you will as He guides you.

5. Practice Confidence

Remember the scene in Runaway Bride where Julia Robert’s character finally decides to figure out what kind of eggs she likes? For so long she just liked whatever her partner liked, so she goes to a diner and orders different kinds of eggs and takes the time to figure out which kind she actually enjoys. Figure out your eggs.

When I discovered I had been gaslighted for years by my mother, I carried my lack of confidence into my marriage. This didn’t mean I didn’t have opinions or that I was a pushover (just ask my husband). It did mean, however, that when we argued and he would ask me to explain myself, I couldn’t. I would suddenly just say, “forget it, I’ll be fine” or “I don’t know—you’re right.” I bowed out because I didn’t trust that what I felt might be true. After learning about gaslighting, I took the time to think through some of the things in my marriage that I struggled with, and I was able to finally stand up for myself and communicate with a sense of confidence I never had before. This wasn’t, I don’t think, a source of pride, but rather telling the truth as I understood it so that we could get help and move forward in true, healthy ways.

As you work through counseling, deal with lies you’ve believed, and stay humble and surrendered to the Lord, your ability to discern truth will sharpen. Continue to lean on the Lord for understanding and He will help you to speak the truth and have the humble confidence to do it.

6. Forgive the Person Who Hurt You for Not Being What They Should Have Been

Whether it’s a spouse, parent, sibling, or someone you should be able to trust, when you’ve been gaslit by them and you realize it, you might be pretty ticked off. And that’s okay, because that would be a normal response to someone hurting you. But when you’re ready, I would encourage you to forgive them for what they should have been. I had to learn to forgive my mom for not being a mom. With God’s guidance and the help of several counselors and wise friends throughout the years, I learned how to face the reality and the pain of it, mourn what I lost, acknowledge and deal with my own sin and lies and wounds, set boundaries, and eventually love and forgive my mom.

My mother was an alcoholic and she was verbally and emotionally abusive, but I learned to love her and forgive her. She was wounded too, and while that is not an excuse, it is an explanation.

Being gaslit is confusing and can feel like fire under your skin, an anger that burns up your sanity. But you aren’t the only one who has faced this, and you can get through it; the fire will eventually die down and the confusion that covers like a veil will be lifted.

And the truth really will set you free.

the complicated heart book cover, gaslightingSarah Mae is a nationally known speaker, the host of “The Complicated Heart Podcast” and co-author of the bestselling book, “Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.” She loves traveling all over the country, speaking at conferences and events and encouraging women to walk in freedom. She makes her home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with her woodworker husband, three spunky kiddos and a naughty yellow lab named Memphis. Learn more at and follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @sarahmaewrites.

Here We Go Again

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

September 30, 2019



How long would you sit through a horror film before you got up and left?  Would you sit through the same horror film so many times that you would you be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Some people have reoccurring dreams where they keep falling. For some, those dreams of falling are so real that they are afraid to go to sleep.

No one is immune to fear or worry. Those who learn to make their fear work for them are more successful and go on to experience the beauty of peace.

There are those who prey upon others by bullying and inciting fear in weaker people feeding their victims’ fears. The bully exploits the fears of others.

The Domestic Violence bully exploits the fears of their victims and cuts off avenues of escape which only heighten the anxiety level of the victim. The Domestic Violence bully claims victimhood and tries to silence the actual victims by fear and intimidation.

The Domestic Terrorist bully exploits the fears of a community or nation, while claiming victimhood and trying to silence the actual victims. Domestic Terrorists employ dangerous methods which can injure or kill large groups within the community.

Life can be frightening enough without having bullies of any kind added to the mix. The fear the bullies cause add stress to our lives that we did not need.

There are days that we just feel stressed from too many things to do and with not enough time to accomplish it all.  When the threat is even less obvious, we might feel restless, bored, or antsy (Nothing good is on TV). Perhaps we find ourselves procrastinating to avoid a certain task or encounter (I’ll pay the bills tomorrow), or we find ourselves compulsively driven to finish projects, accomplish goals, or meet deadlines (I can’t relax until I get this done). Fears inhibit our ability to begin or complete tasks big or small, which can exacerbate the situation raising the anxiety level.

Fear is an emotion that typically occurs when we perceive a threat to our personal well-being. Sometimes, it can prompt action against the threat. Fear is a common emotion experienced by most people at some point or another; it’s considered to be a normal, natural part of life.

However, fear can lead people to experience a wide array of physical and mental changes, and irrational or intense fear may interfere with a person’s happiness, sense of security, and ability to function effectively.

Fear can lead you to avoid actions or events. This fear can keep you in the prison of avoidance.

Fear can lead to self medication to suppress the fear, pain, and anxiety. Ironically sell medication can spiral down to addition and death.

Sometimes the assistance of a professional is required to get back on track.

Fear can be tamed.

Fear takes energy.

Fear can be a positive motivational factor.

There are plenty of people and groups who play on our fears and want to turn us in a certain direction. Advertisers often create a need, present their solution and push for a sale.

For three years we have witnessed a group people trying to convince us that up is down and down is up. Now that their scheme is unraveling they are flailing. As they unravel, often times they resort to incoherent and irrelevant arguments.

Lifeguards can tell you the most dangerous person to rescue is a drowning person who is flailing.

It remains to be seen how much collateral damage the drowning group trying to play on our fears will cause this time. They remind me of a two year old throwing a tantrum in a supermarket isle. Good parents know the remedies available. One could only hope they would become penitent children avoiding being fired.

Taming your fears and overcoming worry includes just saying NO to bullies.


VIDEO Bring Your Bible to School Day

Bring Your Bible to School Day


Bring Your Bible to School Day – Students, mark your calendar for Bring your Bible to School Day. Tell your friends, family and everyone! Share this blog post so others will know about it too. Do you know that what you bring to school says a lot about you. You can bring a lot of things to school, Why not bring your Bible? #BringYourBible #BgBg2


Bring Your Bible To School Day first started in October 2014. So this year, 2019, marks the fifth year. It is sponsored by Focus on the Family. So students can legally take their Bible to school! Bring your Bible comes just after See You at the Pole.  Don’t forget to order your Life Books for students to hand out to their peers



Bringing your Bible can help show your support for a freedom that is being taken away from as a Christian. Bring your Bible can help show that you are a Christian and you are proud of being a Christian.

Students have a right to bring their Bibles to school. Yet some report feeling pressured to hide their faith by school teachers and administrators due in part to the cultural censorship of faith that exists in public education from kindergarten to college. Check out know your rights!

Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel!

“We’re thrilled to be able to help spread the news about this event to students and their families. Students’ freedom to express their faith at school is an issue that’s really close to our hearts. Our newest song, ‘Guilty,’ deals directly with the topic. That’s also why we’re supporting the thousands of students participating in ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day.’”

Newsboys lead singer Michael Tait

Focus on the Family reported In 2017, the initiative saw its widest reach ever—with close to 500,000 students participating in schools nationwide.

It’s time for Bring Your Bible To School Day! #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay #BringYourBibleCLICK TO TWEET


  1. Stand for Students’ Rights
  2. Share God’s Hope
  3. Be An Example
  4. Live Your Faith
  5. Pump Up Your Brain Power!

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12

Hebrews 4:12 (above) shows us that the Word of God is powerful, why else would places want it removed. Bring Your Bible To School Day is a way to take a stand and shed light in a dark world.

Bring your Bible may be a good way to share the hope that is in you. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15

Don’t be Ashamed and take a stand. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” Romans 1:16

This may be a great day for your youth or children to hand out Life Book’s (Gospel of John).





This is a day when thousands of students will share God’s hope and celebrate religious freedom — #BringYourBible to School Day! Sign up at…. Learn more at

For more information visit:

In 2014 it was on October 16. This event is part of A Day of Dialogue & Focus on the Family.
First published September 24, 2014. Information from a press releases and website. Last published or updated on August 22, 2019. #BringYourBible

See you at the Pole 2019

Bible Verses about Gratitude and Thanks

Cindy K. Sproles

Humbleness grows where there is gratitude and thanksgiving. These things round a pure and focused heart in Christ by defying greed and selfishness. Study the Word about gratitude and thanksgiving.

Praise through Gratitude and Thanks

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16 NIV

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. Psalm 7:17 NIV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 NIV

Examples of Gratitude and Thanks

Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. Acts 24:3 NIV

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:13NIV

With praise and thanksgiving they say to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Ezra 3:11 NIV

And he (Jesus) directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then gave them to the diciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Matthew 14:19NIV

Thankful Despite the Circumstance

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

Now when Daniel learned the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10 NIV

I always thank my God for you because of his grave given you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Corinthians 1:4 NIV

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:26-28 NIV

The Rewards of Thanks and Gratitude

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11NIV

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV

Copyright 2016 Cindy K. Sproles. Used by permission.