Handling Other People with the Gospel of Jesus - Part 1

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Whether it's our kids, our wife or husband, our neighbors, fellow workers, church members, etc. we're always going to be dealing with other people. We interact with them every day, even if we don't speak to them. Life has always contained the ripple effects that occur in the daily habit of bumping into each other: that single interaction or interchange, no matter what size, shape, flavor, or color, will have some sort of impact on both of us, for the better or for the worse.

So how's a Christian supposed to handle other people? Especially when those other people have so many problems! "I mean, come on! What's wrong with them! If they'd just watch us a little more closely (but not too closely, cause then you're in my personal space), they'd probably see how to get it right!" If you're giving a hearty "amen" to that statement, then here's how you can help those other people who so badly need it.

1. Keep a mirror in front of yourself at all times.
  • Remember the tax collector and the pharisee (Luke 18:9-14). It appears, "Jesus told this story to some who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone else" (v. 9, NLT). Pay careful attention to what Jesus taught here. The tax collector had a spiritual mirror in front of him...the pharisee did not.
  • Remember Paul's testimony. 3x in Acts he referred to himself as the persecutor of the church. 3x in his letters he refers to himself with increasing degredation in light of who he was before Jesus met him (and who he would have been if Jesus hadn't have met him). Trace your own spiritual journey and see how it measures up to that of Paul's in 1 Corinthians 15:9, Ephesians 3:8, 1 Timothy 1:12-17 (focusing on verse 15).
  • Get the telephone pole out of your own eye before attempting to get the speck of dust out of the other person's eye. Jesus taught this to us in Matthew 7:1-5. This means that Jesus wants you to view your problem as bigger and more important than the other person's problem. And if you do this, then your hands will be splintered with the pain and suffering of repenting from your own sins when you go to help someone else repent from theirs.

  • Do the Word of God rather than just reading it. James teaches us to do this in 1:22 of his letter. No one respects or listens to a person who doesn't practice what they preach. That was the problem with the Pharisees in Jesus day (Matt. 23:3).

I think you see the key here, don't you? It's called humility. I sin just as much as the other person does.

Here's an exercise toward this goal of getting humility.

1. Write out your perspective of the other person's sin problem and why they are the way they are.

2. Then for each point you list about that person, write a comparative statement about yourself, making comparisons with the same analyses and perspectives about yourself whether present or past sin issues in your own life.

The point is compare how you are and what you've done to what they've done. Do you see the same sin issues in your life? Right now? Recently?

Oh...and here's some more homework. Take two and call me in the morning. This series of two messages changed my life, my marriage, my parenting, my thinking, my perspective...basically everything. Download and listen to "The Surgeon, the Scalpel, the Saint in Sin" by Dave Harvey.

Until next post, keep the mirror in front of your face.

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