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Marriage and Family


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02/01/2011 - I want to give you all a heads up. I am no doctor and would never pretend to be one. Bodily fluids make me squeamish. This is important for you to know because I am about to give some bad news that most would say I need to be a doctor to disclose. The news is that there is currently a horrible disease running rampant in our community. Problem is there is no vaccine for this disease. The other problem is everyone catches it and it is devastating. It kills relationships, and causes great harm to ourselves and our loved ones. It spreads like a wildfire and its symptoms will surface without warning and at the most inopportune times. There is no medically termed name for this disease but it goes by many names. Most commonly, it is called selfishness, self-entitlement or pride.

We all have it! It makes us act like we are out of our minds. In its extreme sense it fuels criminal behavior and addictions. For most of us, it may manifest itself in anger, fighting, hurtful words or actions, stubbornness, resentment, lying, cheating, idleness and arrogance. It makes us stingy and un-giving to the needy. Families suffer through divorce, abandonment, abuse or neglect. Kids are ignored and/or burdened with unreasonably high expectations. All of this only scratches the tip of the ice berg and all of us, as a whole, are left to figure out what caused such destruction and how to clean up the mess.

While there is no vaccine or pill to take to cure this disease, there are some preventative measures to help ease the symptoms, minimizing the damage. In fact, there is one thing we can all do that will go a long ways to stem this tide. What we can all do is remain accountable for our own actions and strive to be people of great integrity. Other people and their actions cannot dictate our own. It does not matter if others treat us poorly or unfairly, this never gives us license to retaliate. Sometimes their actions may require us to make difficult decisions which may be very unpleasant, but even these decisions can be carried out in love, compassion and gentleness. In the end, each of us is accountable for the person we are and one act of selfishness is not justified by another. If each one of us can focus heavily on being people of integrity we may be able to quell this rapidly spreading wildfire. Through the next several issues, we will look at some key concepts of integrity to aid in this pursuit. Good luck out there and don't let the symptoms of this disease take you over.

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