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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Building Block #3: OPENNESS

Openness is the third Building Block of a Happy Home.  It is the block that is the hardest to describe, and impossible to force on someone.  It is much less a "quality", and much more like an "atmosphere."  Without it, the chance for happiness in the home is only a facade, a mask & illusion.
Openness is the Freedom to Be One's Self
 Openness is akin to freedom, but the concept of freedom has become radically distorted associating the two does more good than harm. 

The concept of freedom has given many in our culture the "RIGHT" to do what ever they want, regardless how it affects other's.  Freedom of speech has given permission for many to be obnoxious.  Freedom on the internet has given permission (& protection) to those who exploit and post trash.  Freedom is relationships has led to every kind of debauchery (old school word), and sin in the question for "what makes me feel good." 

This type of freedom is what is Obtained for Self.  To the contrary, Openness is what we provide for another.  It is the atmosphere we provide, not a freedom we can obtain. 

Below are some qualities of the Openness that creates the atmosphere for a happy home:
  1. Honest Discussion:  Honest discussion goes well beyond talking about schedules, sports and TV shows.  An open atmosphere allows sharing about hopes, dreams, disappointment, hurts, apologies, etc... to occur.  It is a safe atmosphere to be honest.  
  2. Role Respect:  Every person we relate to plays a role in our lives.  We learn to respect and relate to them according to the role they play in our lives.  This affects what we share, how we share, as well as the feed back we receive.  Respect not only includes the respect of another's role, but respect the roles that you play in other's lives.  Roles are the guidelines for relating. 
  3. Unconditional Value:  Openness communicates value for another person, not because of what they do or who they perform, but simply because of who they are.  The opposite is a performance based value, in which we have to earn our value; gaining valued only in relation to how we perform or line up with another's demands.  
  4. Caring Confrontation:  While openness is freedom to be one's self, it is not permission to be or do anything.  There are times when caring confrontation.  Caring is focused not just on personal needs, but on the relationship/family/community as a whole.  When I worked on Evangel's college campus, I constantly encouraged my student leaders to Care enough to Confront.  It was care for the rules, but care for the individual, and the campus community that was our motivation to confront. 
What to have a happy home, then you need to pay attention to this building block, OPENNESS.  It is most often the missing link to happiness. 

As you consider this building block, are there examples you have seen who have modeled Openness, or perhaps of modeled the opposite in where there are many secrets or a closed system? 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Building Block #2: LOVE, part 4 of 4

It seems fitting to end this Building Block #2-LOVE with 1 Corinthians 13.  I used The Message (a paraphrase verse of the Bible) so that those who are familiar with this passage can read it with fresh eyes and all can RE-frame our hearts with love.  As you read through, allow me to suggest you read it 2 Times with 2 Perspectives:
  1.  God's Love for You
  2.  Your Love for Others

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.
 8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
 11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
 12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Building Block #2: LOVE, part 3 of 4

Next in the list is such a basic element of love, that it is too often overlooked.  It comes from Philippians 2:3-4, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

The TLC of Love is T- Touch, L- Limits, and finally the C- Concern.  Love always expresses itself with concern.  Every mother know the concern they have for their children.  Business owners concern for their company than their employees.

Loving concern speaks of ownership or responsibility.  A great analogy is the difference between Renting and Owning your own house.  For those that own their own place, much of the extra funds, or tax return monies will go back into their house.  WHY?  Because their house is their investment.  CONCERN says I AM INVESTED in the outcome.

Love will invest with its Time, Talents and Treasures.  Love is emotionally, physically, spiritually, and relationally in the life of another.

The ultimate expression of love was expressed by Jesus in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  Concern is not only worried about the problem, it takes takes responsibility for the outcome.  Concern doesn't blame or pass the buck.  Concern puts "skin in the game" and takes the result personally and personally takes on the results. True concern serves the person, as well as the relationship as a whole.  "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45


Love follows through! Happy families have responsible adults (even it is just you) who take ownership for the direction and outcome of the family, children, and marriage.  The security that this type of concern provides, is an important element of the building block of love. Without it, love is not laid as a foundation, and the Happy Home is not built.