Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What’s Your Score?

Many people think the Christian motto is “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31. People often evaluate a Christian’s sincerity by how well they live this out. Whether or not it is a valid measure, and whether or not we are conscious of it, this verse is a key factor in our testimony. Based on that, if you were under the scrutiny of an official critic, what kind of a rating would you receive?

This question becomes a grim thought as I observe behavior in the church parking lot, or eavesdrop on a phone conversation in the church office, or watch as committee members gather for a meeting, or watch myself getting in line to board a plane. It is disheartening to see that Christians are often unkind, belligerent and inconsiderate. It makes me stop to think through my own conduct. In specific terms, what would happen if I really began to treat others the way I would want to be treated? How about you?

Well, imagine that you’re driving to work, and a person is trying to move over into your lane. Instead of getting angry, you would think, "You know, I'm going to do for this person what I would want this person to do for me." So, you slow down and let them in the lane. 

Now, you're pulling into the parking lot on this rainy morning, and you see a co-worker without an umbrella. You remember how miserable it is to start the day rain-soaked, so you rush over and share your umbrella, and in the process you get to know them a little better.

Imagine you’ve just arrived at work and you get a call from a very upset customer. Normally you might feel you’re getting treated unfairly and you would get defensive. But the Holy Spirit reminds you to put yourself in their shoes. That will help you respond with the thought, “I can understand how this might upset that customer." By putting yourself in that customer's shoes, you're going to say the right words and try to solve their problem. Otherwise, if you had gotten defensive, your tone of voice might have been harsh, you might have been abrupt, and the problem could have gotten worse.

Have you ever put yourself in your manager's shoes? I notice that employees tend to blame their managers without ever stopping to think about what that manager has to deal with. Think about who they report to, the budget problems they're facing, the reduction in staff they're trying to cope with, etc. If you were in their shoes, how would you want your employees to treat you?

When we develop this ability to put ourselves in the other person's shoes, we reduce our own stress. For example, if I'm dealing with a co-worker who is negative, complaining and irritable most of the time, I can reduce the stress they bring into my life by stopping and thinking, "Yeah, but if I didn't know Jesus, I'd be that way, too, or worse." That allows you to be compassionate, even with a person who is less than pleasant.

Your kindness will result in people responding more positively to you. You will discover new friendships, you will gain a greater sense of peace, you will have wider influence, you will be more successful. But the real benefit is, it will make you a better representative of Jesus Christ. Your testimony will ring true. Who knows what impact that might have on others.

I want to remember to pray Luke 6:31 into my life daily. You, too, may want to ask God to empower you to treat others the way you would want to be treated. It's a very simple approach to life, but it could score you a ten and change your life.

No comments:

Post a Comment