I've had a couple trying circumstances these past few weeks involving other people. Nothing earth shattering or outside o f what anyone else experiences. I'm not feeling like a victim, and I'm not pretending to have it all sorted out. For whoever reads this, know that I'm not talking about you! Or....am I?
When we deal with challenging people issues we get immediately drawn into predictable, and even sinful, attitudes. Here are some of the thoughts that roll through my mind from time to time:
-How dare they?
-Who do they think they are?
-I would never do that!
-They don't know what they're talking about.
-I've done nothing wrong, why are they wronging me?
-They are acting like such an idiot!
Now if you never think these kinds of things, congratulations. You are seated at the right hand of Jesus and have no need to read on. But for the rest of us mere mortals, keep going. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it is defensive, selfish, critical, and self-righteous. It takes the focus off of God, off of the other person, and puts it squarely on me...which is where the focus should not be. He must increase, I must decrease. He must become greater and great in my life, and I need to keep myself out of the way. So when the ugly thoughts come your way, counteract them with something that helps you deal with the situation in way that reflects Christ.
-How dare they? Instead...I wonder what's going on in their life to make they act this way?
-Who do they think they are? Instead...who do I think I am? I don't have a perfect track record.
-I would never do that! Uh...yes I would, yes I have, and I might do it again before it's all over.
-They don't know what they're talking about. Do I? Maybe if I listen instead of building up an argument, I might learn something about myself, them, or the issue we're discussing.
-I've done nothing wrong, why are they wronging me? I've done plenty wrong, I've wronged others, I've wronged God, I'm not that innocent (never thought I'd quote Brittney!)
-They are acting like such an idiot! I've had my moments!
These kinds of thing are so powerful for transforming negative situations into something positive. These humble attitudes allow us to hear what is actually being said. It keeps us from being so defensive. It lessens the likelihood of us saying or doing something we'll regret. And it allows an opportunity for Christ to shine through us. Philippians 2:3-5 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..." That's the goal...take on the attitude of Jesus.
Read the Bible in One Year Plan: Exodus 22-24