(Gary Smalley & John Trent)

CH 1 - a.) "Hard Love" & "Soft Love" Defined.
"Hard Love" - "Doing what's best for the other person, regardless of the cost."
"Soft Love" - Unconditional compassion, patience, understanding and praise."
b.) God's example: Isaiah 40:10 (Hard) and 40:11 (Soft).
c.) Christ's Example: To Peter (Blessed are you, Simon…) and (Get behind me…)
d.) Nature's example - The rose (soft, colorful pedals and thorns.)
Testimonies of relationships with regrets and later forgiveness.

CH 2 - Survey
a.) Make copies. Do your own, then have someone cross-check you.
b.) Remember, it's an imperfect instrument, not a weapon.












Take the Lead              



Not demanding



Strive for your personal goals              

Let others set your goals


Lack Discipline

Quick Decisions              


Want to hear facts              

Want to share feelings



Highly Competitive              

Not competitive





Express anger              

Hold anger inside

Resist Correction              

Very teachable

Share opinions openly              

Hide true feelings

Lecture/advise hurting people              

Listen and comfort

Hold grudges              

Forgive easily

Strict Standards              

Lenient Standards

Hard on (self/you)              

Soft on (self/you)

Hard on (his/your) problems              

Soft on (his/your) problems










CH 3 - 4 Temperaments, Prov 22:6 "Train up a child in the way HE should (naturally) go"
Caricatures: Lion (leader) , Beaver (planner) , Otter (fun), G. Retriever (loyal)
Strengths of character can be taken to extreme to become a weakness.
Testimony: "I finally felt like he understood me."
Test for HOME behavior. Test separately for WORK behavior.

CH 4 - LION CH 5 - BEAVER CH 6 - OTTER CH 7 - Golden Retrvr




CH 7 - Golden Retrvr

Leader / Accomplish
Decisive / Fast / Bold
Get to Bottom Line
Feel limited by ?s
Not afraid of pressure or confrontations.
Adventurous / Firm
Enjoys challenges

Deliberate / Factual
Controlled / Precise
Persistent / Practical
Reserved / Detailed

Visionary / Verbal
Energetic / Happy
Dislike Details
Motivator + Promoter
Thinks BIG

Loyal / Patient
Even keel
Good listener
Adaptable, but:
Prefers sameness
Avoids conflict

"Let's DO IT, NOW!" "How can we prove it?" "Trust me, it'll work!" "If it's not broken…"

Must Learn to:
Listen, be kind,
be patient,
involve others hearts

Must Learn to:
Allow for emotions.
Accept imperfection in people.

Must learn to:
Be careful,
Be prepared,

Must learn to:
Assert good values,
Avoid laziness
Seek to grow/improve

CH 8 + 9 - How a "Hard Arse" can learn soft-sides Love

0.) Opening comments - You won't have to give up your beliefs, convictions, or standards.
1.) Deal with "Emotional Freeze Points" in the past that hardened you. (5 diagnostic questions, page 154-155). Face your past honestly, and examine your conclusions. Are they biblical? Fair to others? Whatever the cause of your anger, it's your problem to deal with it now.
2.) Deal with your God-given personality type and recognize its fallen, human weaknesses, especially those relating to emotional distances in relationships. (See distance survey.)
3.) Softness Sandwich: Each criticism should be prefaced by a positive comment, and finished by a positive comment. Be encouraging and re-assuring.
4.) VALUE the differences in others enough to see their perspective, and then give them the gift of trying to relate to them, not just express yourself. Adapt your style. Have you been making demands that are too far beyond their current nature? Ask them what you do that aggravates them, and then value their answer.
5.) If helpful, use "Contracts" to establish your agreements. This is especially helpful concerning raising children. Enlist common input on policies of chores, policies, rules of discussion, spending, etc. Include rewards and punishments (or just call them consequences).
6.) Check your Non-Verbal Communication. Non-verbal hardness is very intimidating to others, if not to you. Eg: Silent treatment, ignoring, hard looks, rolling eyes, not saying hello or goodbye. Also: Voice tone. Instead:
Look at the other person, shoulders squared. Relax and listen.
7.) Minister to others who have needs. Volunteer to help the weak. This will make you thankful, help your recognize the value of those closest to you, and drive you to God.
8.) Grow from trials. Let trials make you better, not bitter.
9.) Be open to criticism from those who love you, and from anyone with wisdom.
10.) Live a holy life. Secret sin brings hardness.
CONCLUSION: Make a written, shared, and prayed-upon goal to be more soft with the ones you love.

CH 10+11 - Learning to Show HARD LOVE

(How a sweet-heart can take a stand, without causing the end of the world.)

0.) Opening comments - Will it take a crisis for you to finally take a stand? Interesting: Counselors say it's harder for a softie to take a stand, than for a toughie to lighten up.
1.) Deal with your "Emotional Freeze Points" - Were you traumatized by losing someone, such that you value relationships without standards? Insecure people can't distance themselves from loved ones enough to be honest with them. Or are you a childhood victim of someone who overdid it, and you're over-reacting? Or maybe you once hurt someone else and now you've resolved to never do it again, at any cost. What have you "learned?"
2.) Deal with your own God-given personality type, and recognize its potential strengths and weaknesses. Don't hate yourself for it, but hate the weaknesses enough to work on changing them. Allow yourself to believe that there is a difference between hating problems and hating people. "He whom God loves, he chastens."
3.) Learn a new word: "NO." There are 5 dangers to not learning it:
a.) You become an enabler, allowing others to enjoy weak character and lack of responsibility.
b.) Your own time and energy will be over-extended.
c.) Tension and resentment will build up. Your fear of confrontation will cause emotional problems leading to health problems for you.
d.) Meaningful communication and real intimacy is prevented.
e.) By "protecting" yourself and others from unpleasantry, you prevent any cure.
4.) Face Procrastination, and it's root cause: FEAR
a.) Fear of having to actually become disciplined, and give up some of selfishness.
b.) Fear of failure. (Perfectionists and perceived "losers" are vulnerable to this.)
c.) Fear of success, and its subsequent attention, expectations, accountability & possible eventual failure.
d.) Fear of finally proving our limits, weaknesses.
e.) Fear of commitment: sacrifice and work.
f.) Fear of being controlled, especially for those who don't trust God.
1 John 4:18 - "Perfect love casts out fear." So FACE your FEAR. Choose from the list above, or find another one. Admit it and hate it.
5.) Stop Dreaming about that "Miraculous Instant Change" that will someday fix it all.
The trouble with trusting in a dream is that someday you'll be woken up. Change only comes with daily persistence. (Experts say it takes 21 days to form or break a habit.)
6.) Be Accountable. You're probably soft on yourself, as well as others. (In fact, maybe that's one reason). Find someone you trust to spy on your life and make honest comments.
7.) Consider the relational bridges you've built. Now, have the guts to cross them.
8.) Don't try to be overwhelmingly hard-sided at once in a general way. Break it into smaller steps. Take on one issue at a time.
9.) Strengthen your spiritual confidence. On a given issue: Are you seeking to please and obey God? Are you right? Biblically? Within your jurisdiction? Then go for it.
10.) See yourself as a viable Child of God, accountable to Him.
CONCLUSION: Make a written, shared, and prayed-upon goal to be more firm (passionate in your convictions) with the ones you love.

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