Learning About People

“When people show you who they are, believe them.” … When a person let’s you know … they say, “I told you I was unkind. So now why are you angry?” – Maya Angelou

I suppose Maya Angelou’s question is a rhetorical one, but I’m going to answer it anyway, because God knows I’ve spent countless hours over decades trying to understand how twisted relationships happen.

“Why don’t you believe them the first time they show you, or tell you, who they are?”

Because…

  • You very much want them to be better than they are at any given point in time.
  • You are optimistic they can be.
  • You are committed to the relationship, and don’t give up on your commitments that easily.
  • You aren’t ready to give up on what COULD be, if only some crucial corrections are made.
  • You know this person CAN be good, you’ve seen them act the part with ease when they’re around people they want to impress.
  • You hold onto hope that they may one day choose to be that good person behind closed doors too, they may never again turn cruel or abusive when alone with you.
  • You think of a particular type of “subtle diminisher”: if only they choose to be decent, instead of provoking under the radar; if only they stop slandering or mocking or shaming you in front of people, giving you no chance to react. If only they stopped playing innocent while leaving you with two crappy options: take it in order to be polite, or object and appear the b—, or fool.
  • You think of another type of “fine-upstanding-public-image-person”: they may eventually feel shame that they are the opposite of their finely-tuned act; if they are smart enough to craft such a persona, they should be smart enough to want to be on the inside what they portray on the outside.

THERE IS A POINT though, with some people, when …

  • You are pushed to your limit.
  • You know you’ll be selling your own soul if you continue on with them.
  • The trend of their behavior toward you isn’t improving, it is in fact worsening.
  • You are certain the person has dug in their heels and has no intention of considering the good of the relationship. They do not want to give up their ways, their selfishness, their abusiveness, their ugly methods of disarming or manipulating you  — they value their tactics, they prefer their ways.
  • They don’t mind at all if you end up destroyed in varied little, or very big, ways.
  • They will not change in time — they will certainly delay or prevent you from a good life if you continue in their trap, their sick dynamic.
  • They have never, and you know they will never be accountable for their ways.

THAT IS THE TIME you know you must …

  • Withdraw your trust.
  • Limit the relationship.
  • Remark your boundaries.
  • And in some cases … WALK.

It’s after all that “living and learning” that YOU LOOK BACK and think … “Why didn’t I believe them the first time they showed me and told me who they were?” …

You didn’t know. You simply didn’t know.

But NEXT TIME …

  • You will be vigilant.
  • You will be discerning.
  • You will not prematurely and naively trust.
  • You will be a wise manager of your own life.
  • You will know to keep the optimal distance.
  • You will never again SUBMIT and COMMIT your life to a liar, a thief, a scoundrel, a user and abuser, a manipulator, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a conman, a Cruella de Vil …

Galatians 6:7.  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

Job 34:30.  That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.

Psalm 7…15 He has dug a hole and hollowed it out; he has fallen into a pit of his own making. 16 His trouble recoils on himself, and his violence falls on his own head.  

Travel Light

Cindi Gale

Imagine a TSA checkpoint at an airport. What if the qualification of passing from our current status to the one we are meant to be in is that we must shed some luggage? — only those who are traveling light can pass through. Would we do it, or would we stay behind, unwilling to comply? What if it was God who defined those terms, and the requirements were personalized?

I know most people from church culture would say, “Of course, to love God is to obey God, I always do.” But what people say and what people do are often very different. I have traveled many miles, so to speak, with people who claimed God as their priority, and commander and King, but witnessed them unwilling to leave behind their massive pile of luggage at the TSA checkpoint. Had they only left it, as asked and encouraged, they could have…

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Think Right

God designed us to have free will. We are not meant to be puppets or pawns, not even of God who we have abandoned ourselves to. We are free to think and believe as we decide. Faith is ours to choose and ours to maintain.

Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:6.

Believe or not believe. Keep faith alive or allow it to slowly drift away or be suddenly destroyed by explosive life circumstances. Soar above crises through confidence in the God who saves you, or be dragged to death through them.

God’s design is to implement his will on Earth through our faith. If we don’t remember that and stay diligent to determine to do it, we risk surrendering our lives to despair and evil.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6.

If we fail to do the thing that is our responsibility to do in this partnership with God, which is to choose to believe as God is and says no matter the circumstances, we opt out of lives called to overcome evil with good.

For we walk by faith and not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7.

We must settle on belief in our God, who declared, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. 

We must make the choice to believe in his character, will, ways, words, directions, and intentions for us, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, for the remainder of our lives. We must do that in order to enforce and maintain the victory that Christ already won for us at Calvary.

We must not give up, as our acquiescence to despair could be mere moments before our victories. We must do all we know to do to not be destroyed for lack of knowledge. We must choose faith in our good God again and again and again, for as long as we take our breaths in the land of the living.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living. 

14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.  

Psalm 27:13-14 (NASB)

Solid Rock of Truth

Cindi Gale

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-4450097.jpeg

The current division of America is known around the world. The vote for the presidency this week only confirmed it. It won’t evaporate with a change in leadership because what divides us resides within our hearts and minds.

We look at the same statement, event, or set of circumstances, and take away a vastly different view of it. One person sees a small black and white animal and calls it a cat; another calls the same animal a skunk. Neither can understand how the other can be so wrong.

We are baffled by this state of tunnel-visioned polarization. I have been intrigued since it reared its ugly head well before our last election. Many times per week, for over four years, I’ve read articles and listened to people, trying to find the elusive cause. I’ve observed, pondered, and asked God for understanding.

In the end, I realize there are many…

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Surely I Am With You Always, To the Very End of the Age

Cindi Gale

Matthew 28(NIV)

Jesus Has Risen

28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into…

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Think Like A Winner

Cindi Gale

It’s easy to say, “Don’t be afraid” of the global Covid-19 spread. It’s more difficult to maintain a state of trust when its effects have reached your life. Parents are scrambling to find daycare with school closures. People have lost their sole sources of incomes while their work places are closed or staffing significantly reduced. Life savings invested in businesses or in stocks are reducing by the hour.

And these things are just a few of the peripheral effects of the Coronavirus. The fear is real for people who have no health insurance; with compromised, chronic health issues; who care for children or adults with those issues; or are older adults. We know the virus is directly more threatening to those demographics.

It’s not that I haven’t been impacted personally, because I have. I empathise with those who are experiencing fear, but I have not felt it myself. I think…

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What Power Is This?

Cindi Gale

Easter Sunday is less than three weeks away. What is represents was never meant to be a one-day observation, but the gift that keeps on giving.

What was the purpose of Jesus’s death and resurrection? He did it for us to be his. For us to be adopted, to be heirs to his throne, heirs of his kingdom.

Not just in heaven one day, but on Earth as well. Now. Know the truth of it. Know the power of it.

The power of his resurrection. It is power to heal, to create, to know, to understand. Not all things, as only God does, but as much as he is willing to trust us with. As much as we are willing to pursue and become consecrated for. As much as we stay determined to believe in, regardless the delays and events transpiring that appear contrary to who he is.

Do we…

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Love All-In

My favorite part of “The Chronicles of Narnia” series is the love between Lucy and Aslan.

He is the depiction of Jesus. And of God. He is massive. Powerful. Immutable. His ferocity is frightening to others.

But not to Lucy. She loves him. She buries her face in the beautiful silkiness of his mane, riding high over the mountains of Narnia. Death is certain should she fall, but she is undaunted. Settled on his broad shoulders, her fists clutch that golden mane. Because it is Aslan that carries her, Lucy is carefree.

Aslan, riding Aslan, for blog

His frame is strong. Unwavering. Secure. Unassailable. He never falters. Never misleads her. Never abandons her. He never lowers her to earth anywhere short of stable, sheltered ground.

Aslan and Lucy face to face

He is insulating. He speaks to her softly, words rich in wisdom. All at once, his heart a blend of tenderness, intensity, and protectiveness. In there also, his own pain.

And so she loves him.


An excerpt of their reunion, from “Prince Caspian”: The Return to Narnia …

And then—oh joy! For he was there: the huge Lion, shining white in the moonlight, with his huge black shadow underneath him.

But for the movement of his tail he might have been a stone lion, but Lucy never thought of that. She never stopped to think whether he was a friendly lion or not. She rushed to him. She felt her heart would burst if she lost a moment. And the next thing she knew was that she was kissing him and putting her arms as far round his neck as she could and burying her face in the beautiful rich silkiness of his mane.

Aslan and Lucy reunion cropped

“Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan,” sobbed Lucy. “At last.”

The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face.

“Welcome, child,” he said.

“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”

“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.

“Not because you are?”

“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”


C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia The Chronicles of Narnia (1951, this edition Harper Collins, 1994) 141.

I Wish You Knew …

An unprecedented number of Americans are declining to participate in organized religion. (See “America’s Changing Religious Landscape”, Pew Research Center, link below.)

Is it any wonder that people are rejecting church attendance, given the last decade’s convergence of religion and politics in a large sector of American Christianity? Why would people be drawn to religion when what they know about church (and therefore think of God) is what they witness on public platforms? Why would anyone be drawn to God when people who claim to represent him think and behave as they do?

To you who are understandably and rightfully turned off from this growing branch of American Christianity …

I wish you knew that “those people” are nothing like God.

I wish you knew that unrighteous people sometimes affiliate with a religious institution for selfish agendas and personal gain, not to worship God.

I wish you knew unscrupulous people sometimes exploit religion as a cover to control others, to shut them down with handpicked, out-of-context scriptures.

I wish you knew this usury has gone on since biblical days, and that Jesus had harsh words for people such as these. The sinless, ever-loving son of God wasn’t all sweetness and acceptance — while he gave “sinners” a pass, he boldly confronted hard-hearted, legalistic believers, calling them “you brood of vipers”, “snakes”, and “sons of Satan”.

Many of these religious people own the podium today — they pursued their platform and got what they wanted. Their numbers have swelled, and with it their sense of confidence and correctness. We hear from them regularly that they are right and the rest of the world is wrong.

This segment of Christianity has positioned themselves as the door through which everyone else must pass to access God — they have formed a united front to separate others from the love of God

For those of you observing it all, know this:

All Christians are not the same.

It’s not only non-Christians those people condemn, they also reject Christians who don’t conform to their beliefs. There are many who are alarmed and appalled at it. It was much different before politics insidiously infiltrated our churches. Services used to be about honoring God. In many churches it has become “us” verses “them”, and “right” verses “left”. Anger- and arrogant-tinged monologue that used to be considered wrong is now applauded.

There are many exceptions, to be sure. Many churches and individuals have not been swept into this trend; they have resisted conforming to a contaminated amalgam of theology, agendas, pride, politics, and appetite for power. I know many, many people who have attended their churches for decades, some for their whole lives; they and their churches have not changed. They are busy living life and making positive, genuine contributions to the world.

Another thing you should know:

God has not changed.  

For those who have run the other way from Christianity, I wish you knew the immeasurable loss of “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”. Throw out the contaminated water of fraudulent religion, but don’t throw out God with it.

I wish you knew that God offers to be your lifeline, your air, your shelter, your sustenance.

I wish you knew you don’t have to go through “those people”. Humans are not the gatekeepers to God, regardless their claims, demands, or puffed-up display of authority.

The truth is …

No person or thing can separate anyone from the love of God. 

Romans 8: 31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/