Monday, November 20, 2023





Remind me please, why we so easily drift toward darkness

Remind me please, why we so readily love evil

Remind me please, how to love past hatred

Remind me please, what to do after the other cheek has been turned and struck

Remind me please, why there is a need for forgiveness

Remind me please, why your name is Redeemer

Remind me please,

Remind me

Monday, August 28, 2023

All Dogs Eat Poop

 An unusual event occurred in our house today.

Our dog threw up.

How is that unusual you ask? Don’t all dogs throw up once in a while? 

As a matter of fact, yes, all dogs throw up once in a while.  The fact that she threw up is, for her, somewhat unusual, but that isn’t really the unique aspect of the situation.  It’s more what she puked.

It was poop.

The stuff that’s supposed to come out of the "pooper" end of the dog rather than the "eater" end.  Which would indicate that the poop went in to the eater end after it came out of the pooper end.  This is disgusting.

Now let me be clear: I love dogs.  I think they are one of God’s greatest creations, and great companions to humans as a whole.  I’ve had a dog for most of my life, and they have all been good to have around.  But, being animals, they have some habits that my human sensibilities find…. Unfathomable.

Like the sniffing of butts and crotches.

Or dragging their butts across the carpet.  (“Hey stop that!  That’s disgusting!” “No, it’s not.  I don’t have opposable thumbs so I can’t use toilet paper.” “Point taken.”)

Or rolling around in really stinky stuff, and then running up to rub all over you to share it.  (“This smells SO much better than that stuff you put on, doesn’t it?!”)

Anyway, you get my point.  There are some of you who will insist that your dog would NEVER eat poop.  You are clearly lying to yourself.

There may be some nutritional aspects to this that I am not aware of.  Or it’s possible it’s just a flavor issue.  She seems to do it more after we’ve given her some tasty fish or chicken scraps in her bowl.  Maybe it tastes better after it’s had time to go through the “fermentation” process.  I heard an interview once with a fighter pilot who was talking to a newscaster he was taking up on a demonstration flight.

Newscaster: “Are there any foods I should eat or avoid before the flight?”

Pilot: “If you have to eat anything I recommend bananas.”

Newscaster: “Why bananas?  Are they good for motion sickness or something?”

Pilot (smiling): “No.  They taste the same going down as they do coming up.”

So, it ain’t bananas, but maybe it’s the same for poop.  I don’t know and don’t care to.

There are some of you who own cats and dogs in the same household.  There was a day when you wondered why your cat wasn’t using the litterbox as much as she used to.  There just weren’t as many cat turds in the box as you expected.  You looked around the house desperately trying to find the new spot she must be using to no avail.  You concluded the cat must be constipated.  You started looking at products to “get things moving again” to relieve the cat’s supposed suffering.

Then one day the dog looked at you and said, “Hey, just so you know, the cat’s ok.”  You accepted this as a true statement because the dog had kitty litter on her nose as proof.  The cat was as relieved as you to be spared from the approaching enema.

So, when the dog pukes poop right in front of you, it’s really better for you to just accept the clear evidence and admit that he did it, than to keep insisting he would never do anything so offensive. 

Dogs will be dogs after all.

©Dan Bode 2023





Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Kindness is underrated


I live with kindness on a momentary basis.

I decided a while back that kindness was a better motivation for living out my life than most of the alternatives I’d been trying up to that point.  I tried anger, then sorrow, then confusion.  None were satisfying, or good for my health, because they all take a physical toll as well.

I started thinking about this the other day when a lady cut in front of me in line at the store.  There were two lines next to each other, and when the person in front of me left the register, she jumped lines right in front of me.  It was so unexpected that I was a little confused at first.  Then I realized what she had done, and I had a momentary flash of irritation.  I was at the end of a frustrating series of events that morning so I was already a little tense, and I’m kind of a big guy with a resting face that I don’t think people find generally comforting.  I started to take a step forward and opened my mouth to say something (it would have been a real zinger I’m sure), and then felt like God just tugged the back of my collar and set me back.  We had a bit of a conversation.

“Hey, have you looked at yourself this morning?”

“I’ve been trying to avoid that, thank you very much.”

“Yeah well, it’s not your greatest look right now.  Just sayin’.”

“Your point being?”

“My point being that if you’re talking to GOD like this right now maybe another human being might have some trouble dealing with that attitude, don’t you think?”

“Good point.  Sorry.”

“Good answer.  So, what do you think I want you to do right now?”

“Uh…  nothing?  Probably forgive her?”

“Another winner!  Very good!”

“But I don’t want to look like a chump that people can just walk all over!”

“You realize you’re the only one who thinks that right?  There is literally no one else around who thinks that.  Everyone else who is thinking anything about it is irritated at her.  She’s making her own trouble right now.  She’s not even aware she did anything wrong.  She’ll figure it out soon enough.”

“Got it.”

I’m always amazed at how much dialogue God can fit into one second. 

So, I let it go, and felt better about it.

When I got to the register the clerk asked how I was doing today, and I replied,

“Not bad, how about you?”

“I’m doing well,” she said, “but I get a little irritated when people feel entitled like that one.”

(God: See?  Told you, didn’t I?)

“I know, me too.  I guess everyone has their issues.  I just decided not to make hers, mine this time.”

In the grand scheme of things this was a very minor incident.  A drop in the bucket of my entire life.  There have been so many times in my past where I have taken some small thing and replayed in my mind to make a bigger issue, and then justify my anger about it because, “it’s the principal of the thing!”

I was stupid.

My principles are there to guide my life, and my actions.  They are not to be forced on others.

When I removed the anger from my thoughts in that moment it created a vacuum.  I internally expected some kind of response, so I chose to replace it with kindness. 

And that made all the difference.

My body relaxed, my thinking cleared (because my thought processes were definitely muddled right then) and the rest of my day followed a much better path that it would have if this had not been pointed out to me.

I will be faced with these choices again and again.  I hope to have many more years to practice.  There will be incidents of far greater importance to use it.

I’m not saying that God wants me to allow others to walk all over me.  I will always defend myself and others when necessary.  We are sometimes faced with unnecessary, and sometimes relentless, cruelty which we must all fight against. 

The questions this raises for me is this:

Why is kindness difficult?  Why isn’t it my first response?

When someone is kind to me, it gives me joy.  The kindness of others tells me that at some level I have worth in their eyes.  It shows me that they are willing to expend some effort, some part of their own value, to increase mine - whether it’s someone I know well, or someone in passing who I’ll never see again.  It comes with no strings, and at no cost to me. 

When I practice kindness with others, it actually enriches me.  If I’m kind to you, you are kind to another, and eventually it becomes contagious enough that changes can occur around you.

Our society seems to have abandoned any pretense of kindness for our self-interest.  We seek justice for ourselves against those who offend us, but only justice by each person’s own definition.  We easily forget that, from a Biblical perspective, justice and mercy are a package deal. 

Justice comes with forgiveness.  This is how we survive together, and yet in recent years we have chosen so many times to completely abandon any pretense of compassion, even within the church.  We attack each other and end relationships over what should be simple disagreements which have instead been turned into life and death arguments.  I mean, seriously, did you think if you profess love for someone, you will never disagree with them?  Is that all your friends are: clones of you?  If you only love those who are like yourself – well, maybe you should look up the definition of narcissism. 

Who did Jesus argue with and attack?  The religious leaders of the time who lorded their authority over those they deemed less worthy than themselves.  The ones who effectively cut everyone else off from God.

Who did He love and spend time with and forgive?  Everyone else.  Every sinner who the religious leaders refused to see, or hear, or touch.  The worst of the worse.  The ones the Pharisees reviled are the ones Jesus loved.  Me.

To be clear - He loved the Pharisees as well, but He hated what they were doing.  He really loves everyone, regardless of how I or you feel about them.  No one gets to be the gatekeeper for access to God.  The application of that in real life is me being compassionate to those who need it, rather than only a specific subset of society that I somehow deem worthy.  God is above our societal norms and traditions.  Jesus never identified Himself as conservative or liberal.  I think any label I tried to apply to Him would make Him roll His eyes as He turned to talk to someone I disliked or vehemently disagreed with the most (whoever that happened to be at the moment).

He asks us to love our neighbor.

“Who is my neighbor?” we ask.

He answers with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), and the neighbor was “the one who showed him mercy.”

He asks us to love our enemies. (Luke 6:27-36)

It seems ironic to me that no one asked, “who is my enemy?”, because we already have that figured out, don’t we?  We seem to find enemies everywhere nowadays.  All it takes is to find someone we disagree with.

He asks us to lay down our lives for a friend (John 15:13)

It stands to reason that my enemy, once I learn to love them, could be my friend, and then we may be asked to lay down our lives for those who were once our enemies.  Is it really worth it to hate a person or group so much that it kills you? 

He asks us to honor one another, and to outdo each other in honoring each other! (Romans 12:10) 

Am I doing that?  Are you?

I have in the past been rather politically “adamant” in my views.  I went along with the group that held similar views who claimed we were “right”, and everyone else was “wrong”.  Anyone who disagreed with any single part of our thinking was automatically pushed out in the cold and labeled the “enemy”.  Because they didn’t agree with everything the other side espoused, they were not accepted there either.  They were left to be victims in the crossfire of ideological warfare.

Because I am a Christian, I obviously had God on my side, so the people I looked up to must be speaking the truth.  So, I prayed for the salvation of those "outsiders" so they would vote the way I thought they should.

But then…

I found myself examining what Jesus actually taught about how to treat others, and found some pretty glaring differences between His teaching, and mine.

I became more vocal about those differences, and many of those who I’ve known and loved for years, and who I still love, pushed me out into the cold “in-between” of their own fears where I had to try to protect myself and my family from both sides. 

Ironically it was when I started talking about not hating each other, and loving our enemies, that I found myself pushed out of my "tribe".  I have discovered – much to my surprise – that this is not the wasteland I was led to believe it was, but more like the “land of milk and honey” that I always sought.  I just never really thought to look for it here.

I’ve had cause to wonder lately – if Christ came today – would we listen to Him and live as He asks, or would we crucify Him?

Listening to some of the things I’ve heard from folks lately who say they follow Him; I think there are many who might be willing to pound the nails.  Because they don’t necessarily follow Him, but only their own idea of what He should be in their opinion.  It seems as though many have given up reading what He actually said.

I think most of the people who say they would die for a cause, or man, today (other than our military and police who have already made that very real commitment), are lying to themselves and the rest of us just to try to drum up support, because they don’t really believe they’ll be asked to make that choice.  I think faced with the threat of death they would change their minds in a heartbeat.  They might be willing to die, or even kill, for their family, but for a mere cause?  It’s just bravado.

Because hypocrites and martyrs die the same.

The sacrifice of my life guarantees no one's salvation.  Are you willing to die for someone who isn’t even aware of your existence, and no longer be with your family?  Are you that selfish?

Even my God doesn’t tell me who to hate, so why would I listen to a politician doing just that then?

You want a real example of sacrifice and commitment? 

Look at Jesus.  He forgave the ones who killed him.  While they were killing Him.

I have found that there is an insurmountable difference between clinging to the Cross, and being the One nailed to it.  And I so desperately needed Him to be pinned there.

Remember that it was His own people that He came to save that demanded that He die.

Remember all this as you seek to foment rebellion, all the while claiming to follow the Prince of Peace.

And yes, all this came up just because some lady cut in front of me. 

Life lessons are everywhere, I guess.

©Dan Bode 2023





Sunday, April 9, 2023

Easter Fishing


Occasionally I make some very important realizations about my life.  Sometimes someone says something to me that sets off some line of thought that seems completely random at the time, but turns into something significant to me. 

There are other times when it seems like a boulder just gets dropped on me out of a clear blue sky, and I have no choice but to drop whatever I’m doing and deal with it.  Regardless of how they come to me they are usually things that in retrospect are pretty obvious.  They were there all along but I simply never noticed them.  This was one of those things.

I realized one day that even the mere presence of Christ will change anything.


I think the apostle Peter was familiar with what I am talking about.

In John chapter 21 Peter is dealing with the aftermath of the Crucifixion.  He has no hope.  The one he gave everything to is dead.  With the death of his future he returns to his past. 

“I am going out to fish.”

He trudges down the beach and begins to run the strands of the nets he hasn’t touched for three years listlessly through his fingers.  Before Christ (B.C.) this was what he always did.  Up until he’d heard those two fateful words “Follow me.” these nets had been the source of his well being, his sustenance, his pride, his provision for his family and his heritage.  He knew little else.

In the intervening years he saw the dead raised to life, water turned to wine, and lepers healed.  One miracle after another had been performed in his presence.  The Pharisees and Sadducees, the powers of his society, had been repeatedly challenged and shown to be the greatest of hypocrites.  The foundations of his life have been completely changed.  But even with all these things the greatest change is what has happened within.  

Peter made the sacrifice of believing in someone other than himself. 

In moving the focus of his belief he had done things at the request of He in whom he believed, and he did it regardless of his own agreement.  In so many ways his motivation has been to satisfy his own dreams, but now he comes to understand the root of his problem.  Belief in someone other than yourself is only half of the process.  The other half demands blind dependence.  Peter believed in someone else, but he believed in Him because he thought the other would accomplish Peter’s own desires.  So belief is one thing, but devotion requires taking on the beliefs and desires of the object of your belief as your own.  Peter, as is often the case in my own life, had not done this.

Now, without Christ, he seems to have lost it all.  Having believed in someone else, yet still applying his own conditions for believing, making Jesus merely a vehicle to reach his own goals, he has not only lost everything, but he has failed himself as well as Jesus.

Imagine climbing in the boat and setting the oars, using muscles gone stiff after years of inactivity and thinking all I can do is fish. 

Without purpose, without Jesus, he simply went back to what he knew.  The problem was that now, having known the ultimate reason for existence, this basic fundamental task could no longer provide any meaning to what was left of his life.

Into this situation Jesus becomes Present to him.

He becomes the Truth.

“Throw your nets on the other side of the boat.”

Only a slight change from what he’d been doing just moments before.  At this point he hadn’t yet realized that it was Jesus who was speaking to him, but he did it anyway.  What do you suppose he thought at that moment?  The local fishing industry hadn’t changed in the time he had been away from it.  He knew what he was doing, but there on the shore is some side-line fisherman who tells him to throw the net on the other side of the boat?  He knows there aren’t going to be any more fish on one side than the other.  Still, he does it.  His pain is such that he needs something to fill the time.  He needs something to fill the hole left by the absence of his Rabbi. 

What did he have to lose?  He was just fishing after all.  When the nets began to fill and as the individual strands began to break as one fish upon another threw themselves into the net he realized something had changed.  It was the change that caused him to realize that the voice he’d heard just a moment ago was the same one he’d heard agonizing in prayer in the garden at Gethsemane.

It was then that he realized just how much the presence of Christ changes the meaning of everything we do. 

He was only doing what he had always done, but it would never be the same for him again.

As a result of Christ’s birth, the properties of giving birth changed.  When a baby entered into the world from the womb it was something that had happened countless times before.  Christ was born as every child had been born, and yet His birth was the one that negated the cause of the mother’s pain.  His birth gave meaning to it.  The betrayal of trust that occurred in Eden was now surmountable as a result of His birth in this world.

Even the act of crucifixion was changed.

The Romans had been crucifying criminals for quite some time before Christ walked the Via Dolorosa, and they continued for a long time afterwards.  But with Christ involved it was more than merely a form of painful execution.

Christ gave it purpose.

His impact and influence was so complete when it happened to Him that even to unbelievers it was forever after known as The Crucifixion.  It is no longer spoken of even in our day without summoning to our thoughts the name of Jesus Christ.  Pilate would never have given a second thought to nailing another set of hands to that beam, and in fact would have willingly given the mob its desire if they had asked for Barabbas to be killed. 

Even Pilate knew somehow that Christ changes everything. 

Even he knew that crucifying Christ would have unimaginable ramifications.

Christ was not the first person to be resurrected either.  He himself raised several people from the dead, but as extraordinary as any resurrection should be considered, no one ever thinks of them when we say The Resurrection. 

No one else was sacrificed first.

Two travelers on the road to Emmaus were just traveling together until Jesus joined them.  When He spoke they knew He was someone who knew what He was talking about.  That simple journey completely altered the course of their lives, not because of the journey, but because of the One on the road beside them.

Sad to say that knowing it is not the same as living it, but I think Peter, when he made it to shore, had finally figured out the difference between what he had been doing for the previous three years and what he was doing now, dripping wet on the shore in front of the living Christ.  I think he stood before Christ re-examining every thought or action he had taken during the last three years knowing that all of his previous ideas were utterly wrong.

It is one thing to nod your head and smile when someone says, “I will rise again on the third day after my death.”  It is a completely different matter when you meet Him after He has indeed done what He said He would do. 

The thought, “You mean you were serious?!” must have crossed his mind at some point.  Peter suddenly had to believe everything he had only paid lip service to previously.  All of the things that he had believed for his own benefit now had a completely different meaning that was no longer based on his own needs and desires.  Overthrown oppressors were no longer an issue when the living Christ was sitting in front of him frying fish on the seashore!  Come to think of it I’ll bet He even fried fish better!  I wonder if he understood then that after three years with Jesus Christ, without Him Peter was not after all a better fisherman than before.  Without Jesus he was merely the same, but now he understood what he longed for. 

Now he knew what he was missing.

I want to know how Peter remembered that day.

What did the rest of the world look like to him after he realized that all that Christ said was true?  Could the truth of anything Christ said be doubted if He could overcome the worst enemy of humanity? 


Suddenly, he needs to worship Him; to give Him something.

But what do you give to the One who has everything? 


Everything you are, everything you will be. 

Everything you have, and everything you ever had. 

Every desire, and every dislike. 

Every relationship, and every preconceived notion.

Everything good, and everything bad. 

All of it.


Because it’s all changed, and He’s the one who did it.

It doesn’t matter whether you want the change or not, because the creation itself has been fundamentally changed by awaiting His return.  The Expectation with which my very soul trembles changes how I look at Everything. 

And at what cost?

A virgin birth, a crucifixion, a death, a stone rolled away, a resurrection.

Replace the “A” in the previous sentence with “The” and you know exactly who is being spoken of without ever saying His name, but then we say it anyway, because the name of Jesus Christ sounds so much better than any other words that ever passed our lips before. 

And the fact that He lives changes….


©Dan Bode 2007

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Day of His Appearing

 This was the day of His appearance in this world.






But He had really been here for nine months already.


I wonder what the reaction of Creation must have looked like at the moment He was born,

looking like us!

Did the stars dim as He filled His lungs for His first cry?

Did the wind sigh with relief and welcome?

Did every blade of grass long to bear the weight of His first step?

Did the hay in the manger conform to His shape as though it was made just to cradle this babe?

Whenever I think of Him physically present in our world I am wracked with wonder.

My questions are endless,

But those answers have to wait,

Because He came first to answer all the others that saved my life.

So, I am sustained by my wonder and awe,

And if the creation itself sings for joy at His presence,

Who am I to remain silent?


©Dan Bode 2022

Thursday, September 29, 2022



I made some discoveries about colors recently.  It kind of freaks me out a little.

A few years ago, when we first bought our home, we were in the process of making it ours. One aspect of that process was painting.  A sub-category of painting is choosing the colors.

The concept of color selection has taken on a whole new meaning for me since we started perusing the countless color swatches at the home improvement stores.  To put this in perspective I need you to understand that I grew up with the primary color range that I used to identify every color.  It didn’t matter if it was light green or dark green, it was just green to me.  Then Crayola came out with the BIG box of 64 crayons with the built-in sharpener and I was overwhelmed.  To top it all off they changed the names of the colors!!  

Blue was blueberry, red was strawberry, and yellow was lemon, and I became convinced that they were edible since fruit was the major theme in the naming convention.  I’d heard of kids eating crayons before, and I think this is how it started.  I’m willing to bet when they changed “flesh” to “peach” the child Hannibal Lecter was pretty upset.  

Then they started mixing them and I was exposed to “taupe”, and “mauve”, and others that I couldn’t describe because I was too much of a purist to understand the concept!  I was just trying to stay in the lines!!  Why did I have to coordinate?!

I remember an incident as a child when my family was going to Las Vegas to visit my godparents.  I had a plastic container of about 20 crayons which I put on the rear dashboard.  

Inside the window.  

As we drove through the desert.  

Now crayons, being wax, have certain well-defined shapes when they are kept in the proper environment.  This was a questionable environment for crayons.

As we drove through the Nevada desert with the sun beating down on the rear window, as though Lucifer’s eyeball was having a staring contest with our car, I got bored.  I got out my coloring book and reached for the container of crayons.

In a word it was “psychedelic”.  All the crayons had melted and mixed together!  This was the 60’s and the term “psychedelic” had a very particular meaning for some people then, but this was the first time I was able to apply it to any situation that occurred in my world.  I think it was about this time that when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I started saying, “I want to be a hippy!”  My dad didn’t seem pleased.

Now I’m finding out things about colors that never occurred to me.  We wanted the walls in our new home to be a certain color, and have one wall another color as an accent.  I knew about, and understood, this concept, but had never really done anything with it in the past.  

Off we went to the hardware emporium of the world to get the samples we needed.  First, you stop at the “Walls of Colors”.  There are little paper swatches of colors, and then there are bigger swatches with multiple colors, and then there are little booklets that show different color combinations, and then there are even BIGGER booklets with pages of little color boxes that show you the whole range of colors!  And of course, each paint manufacturer has a wall all to themselves, AND they rename all the same colors to something different because of course they can’t match the same color name as their competitor, can they?!  I bet there’s actually a department in each company devoted to coming up with color names!  And I’ll also bet they hired them from the crayon company!

Once we found a suitable collection of choices, we went to the counter to have samples made.  “Sample” is a word that has very different meanings depending on the product in question.  I was looking at countertops several years ago at a stonecutter’s shop and he asked if I needed samples.  When I said yes, he went over to this huge slab of granite and broke a piece off!  Paint samples are a small jar of paint that could probably cover half a wall!  So anyway, we take the samples home and start painting different colored squares on various walls.

My wife has a very well-developed skill in decorating.  When she says something will look good I have long since ceased to question her choices no matter how weird they may sound to me.  It always works no matter what she does.  I don’t really understand it, but I really don’t have to understand it because I trust her implicitly since she hasn’t tried to dress me in funny clothes.  Not yet anyway.

She painted a color that seemed like “white” to me on the wall.  The wall she painted it on looked “white” as well.  Until she painted the sample on it.  Now the white wall looked “more white”.  Then she painted some of the sample paint on the darker accent wall and the “white” sample looked yellow!!!

“Hey!  Now it’s yellow!”  I cried in amazement.

“No, it's still white.  You just see it as yellow next to the other color.  It’s all about perception honey.”  She replied. 

Then she put other samples on other walls and they looked different because of the way the light hit them at different times of the day!  

Consider my mind blown.  

But now I, being me, couldn’t just leave it alone.  I started applying it to myself.

I started to wonder how my life is perceived in relation to my environment.  (Stop with the metaphors!!  Stop it now!)  I can’t help it. Sorry.  (I often argue with myself in my head.  It’s the only place where I always win.)

Anyway, I started to look at myself in a different way.  I began to wonder what I look like or how I am perceived by other people.  If I’m always the “real me” in different environments then I will sometimes provide a contrast to my surroundings.  If I become a people pleaser then no one sees me any differently because I change to match everyone else’s viewpoint.  I become a chameleon.

The problems with this are legion.  

Eventually I wind up lying to someone about who I am.  Maybe not straight out lying, but often by agreeing with someone just so they feel good about me even though I may actually oppose their view is actually a lie.  The real kicker here is that while I want to be everyone’s friend, I am assuming that to be their friend we must agree on everything, but true friendship needs to be based on truth, so by falsely agreeing with someone I become a false friend.  I have dishonored that person by allowing them to become friends with a mask I wore.

It usually begins with an effort to avoid conflict.  In my desire to create a friendship I neglect my need to be myself rather than being myself to satisfy my need for friendship.  I can’t be a true friend unless I can do it honestly.  That means that I can’t always be someone’s friend if they require my constant agreement.  

I discovered some time ago that “agreement” and “understanding” are not interchangeable concepts.

There is no way to be a true friend by always agreeing with everyone.  Others have to be able to know who I really am, if I’m going to be their friend.  

Sometimes, when I tell someone about the events of my life, they respond emotionally and say something like, “You’re such a good man!” or “You’re so strong now!” or some other praise.  I often hesitate to say anything anymore because I don’t want people to think I’m saying it as some kind of proof of my stalwartness or something.  The honest fact of the matter is that I’m just a guy who this stuff happened to.  I’m not special for it, or better than anyone else, just because it happened to me.  I don’t have any greater authority than I ever did before.  What I do have is experience in survival, which, while valuable, still does not add to my intrinsic value as a person. I tried the whole “bitterness and depression” thing, but I can tell you honestly that it didn’t give me anything good.  It took years to claw my way out of that pit.  No, the only qualities I have in anyone else’s life are whatever that person perceives me to have for themselves.  I can only be myself, but what they do with it is up to them.  

My real value does not change, like colors, based on someone else’s perspective.  I have chosen to acknowledge the authority of my Creator, and listen to Him express His opinion of my worth.  His opinion of me never changes, regardless of what I do or the situation I get myself into.  I daily fail to live up to His standards of me in some way, but He never stops loving me nor does my value in His eyes decrease.  Unlike the patches of color on our walls, that seemed to change in different light, He sees me the same all the time regardless of any mask I wear.

When I start to acknowledge and appreciate His love for me, I am forced to examine my life to see if I’m treating others the same way He treats me.  I have discovered too many moments where His love for me is not reflected in my treatment of others at all.  I now realize that we all have the ability to care for other people and still be ourselves, but we have to make the choice to exercise that ability.  

So, I’m making that choice.  I choose to seek in you what there is to love, and not to hate.

What you do with that is up to you.

©Dan Bode 2022