We were living in the lovely city of Brisbane, Australia.  Our home was perched on a beautiful piece of land with a rippling stream running at the bottom of our garden.  A cluster of Australian gum trees on our property were home to chattering parakeets, laughing kookaburra and a host of perpetually, chirping rainbow lorikeets.  Bird life in Australia is spectacular! 

I was standing in my kitchen washing dishes. Warm sunlight filtered through the gum trees as the leaves danced in the gentle breeze.  The sun glittered in the windows making a dull chore a little more cheerful in its accomplishment.  Thoughts were floating around my mind like tumbleweed on a windy Prairie day.  They were not happy thoughts! 

We were pastoring a church at the time.  Many changes were taking place in the church and some people were unhappy with the changes.  One particular couple took it upon themselves to undermine and discredit Paul and me to anyone who had a listening ear.  I was grumbling and telling the Lord that He had some unkind children on earth.  I distinctly heard God say to me, “Don’t give them permission to hurt you!”  I said, “Pardon Lord!”  I wasn’t quite sure if I had heard correctly.  And again, "Don't give them permission to hurt you!"  I thought, "Wow!" And as I pondered what I had heard, this is what I concluded:

1.     Permission is yours to give:  If someone says something about you that is untrue then do not take it on board.  You are the guardian of your heart.  You can allow those unkind and untruthful words to enter your heart and wound you, OR you can say, “No! There is no truth to those words, they do not represent me and therefore, I will not allow them access into my heart."

2.     Only allow trustworthy people access to your life:  You can have many friends and colleagues, but you should only allow a few trustworthy people in to the private spaces of your life.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I know thousands of people, and many people have said things to me throughout my Christian journey.  However, we have established some wonderful, meaningful friendships over the years, and so when we want advice, we go to our trusted friends and mentors - those are the words we value and listen to. 

3.     Guard your own heart:  You are the guardian of your heart. No one else is!  You can never say, “I am bitter because of what he/she said.”  No!  You are bitter because you have made a choice to be bitter.  You do not have to choose bitterness.  I know it is difficult to ignore words that people say especially when they are hurtful and unkind.  But that is precisely why you should not allow those words access into your heart.  Guard your heart carefully.  Why give unkind and uncaring people permission to hurt you.  Do you value their words that much?  If they are mean spirited people their words do not deserve a place of residence in your life!

I trust you will be encouraged as you begin your week.  Remember; do not give people permission to hurt you or to wound your spirit.  And above all, ensure that your words never cause someone else heartache!

I am and always will be,

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Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,