When it’s okay to break a secret

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Can you keep a secret?” she asked. “Sure!” was my quick reply, thinking I was going to hear something light-hearted.

My friend then confided that she had been doing something inappropriate for several weeks. It wasn’t illegal, and it wasn’t hurting anyone, but I knew it was wrong . . . and so did she.

I immediately offered an alternative so she could stop what she was doing, but she adamantly declined.

We parted ways, and I felt the weight of an ethical dilemma sink like a boulder in the pit of my stomach.

If I broke her secret, I would betray her confidence and risk losing our fledgling friendship. Yet if I stayed silent, I would be part of a cover-up.

I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. Continue reading “When it’s okay to break a secret”

Loosening anger’s grip

Listen when I talk...I opened the email and immediately felt my temperature rise.  Someone had stirred up a situation I thought had been settled.

“Oh, that makes me angry!” I uttered out loud.  (To confess, my language was a little stronger than that.)

My irritation boiled the remainder of the day.  I craved the instant gratification of calling the person and unloading my feelings.  Equally as powerful, I fought the urge to run to a third-party to vent my frustration.

The voice of wisdom and experience whispered inside my head, “don’t do eitheryou’ll regret it later.”

Still battling these temptations, I went to bed smoldering, bypassing the counsel of Ephesians 4:26, which advises, “do not let the sun go down on your anger . . .” (NRSV) Continue reading “Loosening anger’s grip”

A cancer survivor’s perspective: the difference between faith and trust

My best friend from college, Kelly, is a two-time cancer survivor.  Breast cancer first struck her at the young age of 31.  Kelly was a mom of two small boys and a new missionary in Africa when she discovered a lump.  The diagnosis changed the course of her family’s lives, as they had to leave their overseas post and move back to the United States for Kelly’s treatment.

The dreaded disease returned fourteen years later.  This time, Kelly faced a much more aggressive treatment regimen, including a mastectomy and chemotherapy.  The side effects of chemo decimated her, both physically and emotionally.

In God’s mercy, she eventually recovered and has now been cancer-free for eight years.  Nevertheless, she understandably still battles anxiety when it’s time for her periodic checkups.  She knows there’s always a chance the doctor could deliver bad news. Continue reading “A cancer survivor’s perspective: the difference between faith and trust”

An Open Door for the Gospel

Profanity and raucous laughter shot through my bedroom floor. I prayed for relief from the noise downstairs. “Who is this neighbor, anyway?” I wondered.

The next day I sensed God nudging me to find out.  In the summer heat of southern Oregon, my neighbor had his front door open.  As I approached, the middle-aged man inside looked up from his TV set. A half-empty liquor bottle rested beside him.

“Hi,” I said cheerily through the screen door.

“Hello,” the man replied. “I’m Cole. You must be the gal who lives upstairs.”

“That’s right, I’m  Jane.  I’m working in the area this summer doing my college internship as a park ranger.”

As our conversation in the doorway progressed, Cole asked, “What do you like to read?”

“The Bible,” I ventured timidly. Cole’s eyes widened. “I want to talk with you about that sometime.”

My heart surged as I realized God was providing me with someone who was open to hearing about the good news of Jesus Christ.

But back in my apartment a cloud of doubt rushed in. I was no Biblical expert, and only three weeks remained before it was time to go back to college. How could I make a difference in such a short time? Continue reading “An Open Door for the Gospel”

Curling Irons and Grace

thMSC4O6C5It had been a bad hair week.  My curling iron was on the fritz and I had suffered the indignity of flat hair for several days.  Mission number one?  To buy a new hair appliance at the local drugstore.

I drove in early Saturday morning, sure to miss the crowds.  As I expected, the store was virtually empty.  I barely noticed the woman and her daughter who entered just behind me.  Making a beeline to the hair care aisle, I no sooner had began to survey the very sparse selection of curling irons when I realized the pair were on the same mission.

They sidled in from the left, and I kindly moved to my right.  But my attitude quickly changed as they began reaching for the very last curling iron in the size I wanted.  “I WAS HERE FIRST!!!”  I internally screamed.  “That curling iron should be MINE,” I seethed silently.  Thankfully, they put “my” curling iron back on its hook and moved down the aisle.  I snatched it quickly before someone else could. Continue reading “Curling Irons and Grace”