Gary Smalley, one of the country’s best-known authors and speakers on family relationships, encouraged Liberty University students to see the value in everyday trials and to overcome feelings of stress and frustration in relationships during Friday’s convocation.
“Really stress is just the socially acceptable word for anger,” he said. “My own stress level is lower than it has ever been in my life because of the very words of Christ and what He says about the difficulties that we go through every day -- the little ones, the big ones all of them … I want that out of my life because I can’t know God and His word like I want to if I hold these things inside.”
He said it is important to remember that as Christians we must forgive others not for their sake, but for our own sake. Throughout his message, he shared examples of how his family has handled conflict in biblical ways by honoring each other, being patient, and seeking forgiveness for and striving to repair damage done by offenses.
“That’s basically the way I’ve made my living, by goofing up as a husband and a father, because I goof up and then I figure out how to resolve it, and then I write a book about it,” he joked.
Smalley, 70, is the author and co-author of more than 50 books, selling more than 6 million copies. He has also produced several films and videos. In the last 35 years he has spoken to more than 2 million people in live conferences across the country. He has been presenting his live two-day marriage seminars once a month for the last 20 years. Smalley has appeared on “Oprah Winfrey,” “Larry King Live,” “Extra,” “NBC Today Show,” and on numerous national radio programs.
Students had the opportunity to meet Smalley at a signing for his newest book, “Guarding Your Child’s Heart” after convocation. He is currently on a book tour.
Smalley has visited Liberty several times, and last spoke at convocation in 2008.
“I love this place … the thought of being a part of mentoring some of the students who are going to go into the world and become our new leaders, I’m pretty excited about that,” he said after convocation.
Smalley is president and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center. He and his wife, Norma, have been married for 46 years and live in Branson, Mo. They have three married children and 10 grandchildren.