Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to Respond to Flawed People

It is so easy to see the mistakes other people make. All around me, I notice pride, arrogance, selfishness, rudeness, etc. I can see it because I am peeking around the log in my own eye, and I have, you know, a very clear picture from that viewpoint. (She said dryly.)

Oswald Chambers describes me perfectly: "We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism..." (My Utmost for His Highest, March 31).

How many times have we all said, "Oh, they shouldn't be doing that."

Or "That is SO. WRONG."

But what if it is wrong? We know it, they know it, everyone knows it. Then what do we do?

Oswald says we are to worship God. "Be careful that you don't become a hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right with God before you worship Him yourself" (Utmost, March 31).

How does worship affect our interaction with others? Well, Oswald tells us what will happen to our interaction sans worship. "God continually introduces us to people in whom we have no interest, and unless we are worshiping God the natural tendency is to be heartless toward them. We give them a quick verse of Scripture, like jabbing them with a spear, or leave them with a hurried, uncaring word of counsel before we go" (Utmost, April 1).

So how do we avoid jabbing people with quick verses or uncaring counsel? How is worship the antidote?

1) A worshiping person is a praying person. "Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other" (Utmost, March 30). If I notice something amiss, it is my responsibility to pray for the people involved before I dare open my mouth. I am commanded to get myself before God's throne.

Why?

"It is not that we are able to bring God into contact with our minds, but that we awaken ourselves to the point where God is able to convey His mind to us regarding the people for whom we intercede" (Utmost, March 31).

2) A worshiping person is an honest person. A worshiping person acknowledges the truth about God, and must therefore acknowledge the truth about themselves. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13 NIV). An honest look at God reminds us that we are nothing without Him because we ourselves are hopelessly flawed people. We remember that God lavishes grace on us, and when that makes sense to our hearts, we are able to have an attitude of grace toward others.

So how do we respond to flawed people?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the [flawed people] of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

~Helen H. Lemmel