I was in a parking lot today and watched the drivers from two cars get in a honking battle. They concluded their exchanges with middle fingers, yelling and mean looks. I would suspect that perhaps these drivers have different sides to their personalities, such that they don’t go through their lives everyday with expletives, middle fingers and combative behaviors.
Just because someone is hostile or cranky with us doesn’t mean that we have to repay the same acrimony. Indeed, such moments are opportunities to do a quick heart check on ourselves and choose better. Furthermore, we can go the extra mile & look for constructive ways to bring out the best in people. Here are some suggestions for your consideration:
encouragement, gratitude and polite words make a comfortable runway for others to be gracious
a soft answer turns away wrath – Prov 15;1
forgiveness is a decision to reflect God’s DNA in us, since we are liberally forgiven even more than we realize
what a person “deserves” is best left in God’s hands, since we are commanded by Jesus not to judge in Matt 7:1
Let’s endeavor to bring out the best throughout our daily exchanges!
““I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
In Luke 5:32, Jesus told the religious leaders these words in reply to their complaint about Him eating & drinking with shady characters. And throughout all of Luke 5, the people who get a sharp tongue from Jesus are the religious leaders.
As I’ve thought about this, maybe Jesus was loving this group of people by being cranky & confrontational because they were deceived. Perhaps Jesus wanted to heal the deception in their lives so they could have an intimate relationship w Him & they needed the non-gentle approach. Let’s remember that genuine love celebrates truth 🙂
I don’t like rude people & I’d like to keep a wide berth from insensitive folk. But Jesus was rude & rude on more than one occasion. I think the pinnacle of Jesus’ rude behavior was when He cleaned out the temple on Holy Week. He overturned tables, made a whip & offended lots of important people with His house cleaning activities. More than a few people thought Jesus was rude & they didn’t appreciate His challenging words & behaviors.
I think that there are times when we get offended with Jesus as well. More to the point, our flesh objects to His gruff & confrontational behavior. And maybe that’s the point – either our flesh rules us or Jesus is our Lord, but we can’t have it both ways.
In this Holy Week, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to clean out the trash that our flesh accumulates in our souls so that Jesus’ resurrection life can wholly transform us. Indeed, the works of the flesh have to die to the resurrection life of Jesus!
Yesterday, I had a few doctor appointments & receptionists were not friendly. One was condescending & the other was impatient. Thankfully, the doctors were pleasant. But the receptionists give the patients their first experience with the doctors office, so they are an important first impression. I was thinking of these experiences as they relate to how we represent Jesus. If we are followers of Jesus, it’s important to keep in mind that in our own ways, we are all receptionists for Jesus, so let’s stay friendly, humble & kind 🙂
I’ve been around the church world for most of my life, so I’ve met some very interesting people, seen unusual things and experienced a plethora of human and supernatural events. Many people in the church world are nothing less than pure pleasure and altogether phenomenal. Some people, not so much and that’s the rub.
It seems that we want Christians to be consistently kind, loving and prefect. When we get to heaven, I’m sure our flaws and foibles will be smoothed out, along with our dysfunctions, shortfalls and sins. In the meantime, how should we deal with being judgmental, hostility & intolerance, not only in the church, but also in the world where we live?
This morning, I read James 2:15 and the end of the verse was a sobering confrontation for me in how I deal with the judgmental stuff: Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Of course I want all the mercy I can get, but I would be wise to be liberal with mercy because judgment has a way of coming back like an abrasive and hurtful boomerang 🙂
For whatever reason, this week has had an over abundance of conflict & almost none of it with low intensity, it’s all been high grade volatile & even borderline destructive. So today is a good day to take a deep breath & look for some sunshine. In the meantime, here are a few take aways I’ve acquired from this week in dealing with conflict, constructively (operative word):
*being reactive can often make things worse
*listen to understand rather than argue
*disagree but don’t disrespect
*appreciate that the other persons / side has some valuable points of view
*seek common ground rather than retreating into hostility, aggression or worse apathy, isolation & passivity
What has helped you manage conflict constructively? Please share so we can all get better with your wisdom 🙂
From time to time I have the opportunity to be involved in situations that can be volatile, hostile & combative. I can’t say that I enjoy these types of situations but I am learning a few things that you might find helpful:
*Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath – answering with gentle words & replies can be super helpful to turn a hostile conversation into a constructive conversation
*volume, pace & pitch are important in our verbal replies because they can increase or diffuse the hostility
*seek to understand before being understood – this always helps me to grow & learn more
*pray: seems to me that we need God more than we frequently recognize 🙂
What have you found to be helpful? Thanks for your input!!