Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Skill of Being the People

I’ve always fancied myself as a people person. I mean, I tend to get along pretty well with most people, but occasionally I run into someone who just seems bent on, NOT being a people person themselves. It’s then I’m really tested.
Jesus mapped out the basic premise as to how and what our people skills are to be based upon (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). Some would call it the Golden Rule, yet others are simply unaware that this principle precept even exists. I would go so far as to say that it’s a basic law, not only within Christendom, but within the fellowship of all people.

The “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” has often been taken almost like a lucky rabbit’s foot or some sort of holy talisman that we can “use” when we want to get good or better behavior out of other people, and that is simply not true. Regardless of how kind you are to some folks, they simply will not return in kind, the treatment given to them (ergo the need for Restoration ministry).

So face the fact, even when you treat others well that is no guarantee they will return it to you. But, here is where the “law” portion of this truth stands firm. God the Father observes all our comings and goings, especially those that directly connect with other people. As a result, when we come in contact with persons that are less than Christ-like to us (and they tend to be many), we can rest assured that how WE react toward the other person, is what God is watching. Therefore, the burden of trying to control someone else, for our wellbeing, is released into the hands of the Father, and we can live for Him. Not ourselves or even the other person we’re facing in the moment.

Is that clear as mud? Our efforts at Christ-like behavior, or our desire and efforts to afford the “Golden Rule” principle in our lives, must NEVER be for personal or subjective reasons. For loving others and offering godly kindness (or Fruit of the Spirit) must never be put forward for the sole intent to “get back” some kind of reciprocal good treatment. On the contrary, we are called to “good people skills” for the sake of others, period. And if, and when, we are so blessed to interface with someone of like values or convictions on the matter – it’s likely our kindness WILL BE RETURNED to us. But there is no guarantee.

And that lack of guarantee is exactly what faith in action is all about. We seek to live out good people skills (Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 13) and modeled Christ-like behavior for the benefit of others – not self. Albeit, self may garner benefit and blessing from those offers of faith, IT MUST NEVER be the motive that drives us to good treatment of others. Reciprocal good treatment is within the Sovereign Hand of God, and the providential interaction with someone of like precious faith, values and designs.

Good and proper interactions between humans (especially those of Christian faith) should be our desire. To live at peace with others, as much as it is within our power, is a noble and obedient response to a biblical mandate, but never ever forget; The Skill of Being the People of God is far less about us, than it is about others. It is far less about what I want than what God wants and how God wants me to be seen by others. Do they see the peace of God that surpasses all rational understanding of what most humans do in life and crisis, and thereby ask me to share the hope and resource I have with them, so they too can experience that kind of peace; OR NOT?

Improved people skills will bless you, but improved people skills are actually for others. For those who lack in the very disciplines and skill you are cultivating.

Think about it.

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