“What angers us in another person is more often than not an unhealed aspect of ourselves. If we had already resolved that particular issue, we would not be irritated by its reflection back to us.” Simon Fuller
Self-evaluation is one of the most difficult areas of life. The challenge of taking the time to look in the mirror and examine our own character to see how it measures up can be especially frustrating when we look at others.
Experience has demonstrated that people who are critical of others are most often struggling with the same problems in their own life.
Obviously, this is not absolute, but it does hold true in many cases. What that means is that we need to be compassionate to the criticism of others.
The manner in which we approach criticism can make the difference in how we evaluate ourselves and the approachability of our leadership.
We can then work on correcting the unresolved issues in our lives enabling us to see more clearly how to help others in there. Please read Matthew 7:1-5.
When the news is exciting, we want someone to tell us and we want to tell others. Good news is often difficult to find and far less appealing in our culture, or so it would seem.
Sadly, the good news of Jesus is becoming less and less exciting. The distractions of commercialism, family, health, finances, and “life” tend to exasperate the joy and excitement of something as intangible as a relationship with Jesus.
The mindset is not unique to the U.S. either. The challenges of sharing the news of Jesus around the world can easily become more about taking care of physical needs with less emphasis on the spiritual.
We need a balanced approach. We must consider a strategy that allows us to keep our focus on the news we are striving to tell others about AND insure that the physical needs are met. The adage is true; “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Remember, when the news is exciting, please tell me. How much more so when the news is overwhelmingly beyond a level of excitement.
Trust is one of those fascinating subjects. At one point or another, we have all said to someone, or heard them say to us, “trust me.”
Biblically, we know the emphasis in scripture on trusting God. When we consider the implications behind this, the intent is for us to understand that God is worthy of our trust. The reasons are fairly simple; He is faithful to keep His promise and guard what we entrust to Him.
This idea raises an interesting question: can God trust us? Do we have and demonstrate the type of character that is worthy of that trust?
The answer should align with the same reasons described with God. We must be faithful to our promise to Him and we need to guard what has been entrusted to us.
While both are critical for our development as Christians, the second needs a little clarification.
God has entrusted us with His word. If we are trustworthy we will be good students of His word and be diligent to make application of His word.
When this happens, it makes it easier to share it with others.
If there was ever a word more needed than this week’s word, it would be interesting to know what that word might be.
Certainly, there are many words that are needed by all of us when it comes to leadership and building relationships.
We need to consider, however, the significance of this word – apply.
From a biblical perspective we are talking about acting, doing, or making something happen with the information we learn. Jesus claimed that wisdom is based on hearing His words and acting upon them (Mt. 7:24-27). James warns of the self-deluding mindset that exists when we do not prove ourselves doers of the word (Jas. 1:21).
The list goes on, but the idea is the same. What good does it really do us to hear something that will improve our walk with God, help us mature in the faith, or strengthen our relationships with others and then do nothing? The answer lies in the two passages above.
Leadership requires us to provide an example of application if we ever hope to lead others in doing the same.
The general idea of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is almost a foreign concept. We want others to understand what it is like to walk in our shoes, but walking in their shoes is not an appealing thought.
One of the qualities needed in leadership, however, is the ability to sympathize and empathize with others. Thus, we need to see through their eyes.
What will we see when looking through the eyes of others? A number of possibilities exist.
We may see ourselves differently than we expected.
We may see more hurt or pain.
We may see greater joy, love, faith, and peace.
We may also see different levels of need that we overlooked before.
Yes, the idea of this post is figurative, but whatever we see when taking time to see and feel what others see and feel, our leadership will unfold in ways that are “others-directed.”
Nothing is easy when considering the “how-to” of sympathizing and empathizing with others. The effort is worth the time we put into it because of the difference it makes for others and our own leadership.
“If you plan for a year, plant a seed;
If for 10 years, plant a tree;
If for a hundred years, teach the people.” unknown
This thought was shared by a good friend who has been a mentor for some time. The idea behind this thought leads to the direction of changing, not just the future, but generations to come.
Fads are quick to come and go, often without much remnant as to their influence. This is why it is fairly easy to plan for the short-term.
Thinking more long-term, however, requires more extensive consideration to the goals and plans to bring about the kind of transformation that influences our grandchildren’s children.
Now we are looking at a strategy that is more outward and others focused, one that examines how the future can be sustained beyond the present generational consumption that gives little thought to anything beyond the here and now.
This is where leaders are needed. The global culture that is developing requires leadership to step up and act in ways that will teach people. Here is where life changes, where the future changes, where generations change!
Is it even possible that there can be too much of a good thing?
Before we jump to any conclusions or provide any answers, maybe we need to consider exactly what is meant by a “good thing.”
A “good thing” is generally subjective to each individual based on their worldview. Obviously, this introduces a number of challenges to the task before us.
When we consider the range of mindsets from self-serving to self-denying, we realize quickly that a “good thing” can either be about what benefits “me” or “others.”
From a biblical perspective, the servant leadership model is one that focuses on the benefits of others, placing their needs above our own.
If everyone understood and practiced this form of leadership, would it be possible to have too much of a “good thing?”
The answer seems clear and certainly one that requires each of us to examine where we are on the spectrum of evaluating the idea of a “good thing” and how we apply what is needed to influence the people within our “worldview.”