By: G.J. Fortier
How do you see others?
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
How many people, on average, would you say that you meet up with on a daily basis? Almost assuredly, this number will vary greatly dependent upon your employment status and type; where your travels take you; what day of the week it is; etc. It’s also pretty common for the vast majority of these encounters to be, well let’s just say, brief at best. Some could be categorized as friendly; some confrontational; some cordial; some not-so-cordial; some intimate; some confrontational … I think you get the point that I’m trying to make. They’re all different, requiring differing levels of our attention, thought and (sometimes) patience to even get through.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
For the sake of this article, let’s just concentrate on the, shall we say, less taxing encounters. The ones with the people that we interact with the most. Family, friends, loved ones, coworkers, etc.
First: Most of us (though not all) wake in the morning with our spouse (hopefully) in the same bed that we occupy. For some of us, (maybe even too many) it’s our parent(s) in the room down the hall. Then there are the other family members that we share our homes with; brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandchildren, etc.
Second: There are the people we happen by on our way to the office; neighbors, friends, people who we share the roads with or at the restaurant where we get our morning pick-me-ups.
Third: there are the people that we spend the majority of our day with: managers; employees; vendors; customers or clients (as the hoity-toity folks call them); etc.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 (ESV)
Many of these people (at least I’m hoping) we look forward to seeing. After all, we love these people to varying manners, degrees and intensities … don’t we?
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)
Now, Let’s think about the helicopter shot here and not just concentrate on what color the bark is.
Some of you got that … others might take a minute.
I know that we don’t look forward to seeing everyone. I also know that there are those … let’s call them … challenging … people that we may spend actual time devising elaborate plans so that we don’t have to see them at all. But, let’s face it, sometimes you simply can’t avoid interacting with them, especially in the workplace. And it’s hard! Some of these people don’t care to interact with you either! Can you imagine! There are some people who don’t spend their day anticipating the idea of basking in the glory of your intelligence, rapier wit and devastating good looks!
Believe it … ‘cause it’s true.
And, fortunately or unfortunately, we rely on many of these people in order to maintain a tenuous grasp on our mood, disposition or even our sanity. This is where it gets really fun!
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15;12-13 (ESV)
There are, literally, dozens of people that we come across every day who can have a profound effect on us. They can make us feel good, bad, happy, sad, angry, mad … and all those other emotions that rhyme and I can’t come up with words for right now. These are the people who are responsible for our outlook on our situation, our day or in some cases, our lives. And that’s got to be a heavy burden for all those folks to carry around with them … knowing that your well-being hinges on how they make you feel.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)
The short answer to the question above is … uh, no!
A very wise friend of mine, who shall remain nameless … because, honestly, I can’t remember which of my wise friends actually said this, but most if not all of them would agree … once said,
“The only thing in life that we have control over …
is our attitude.”
The truth of the matter is that no one, not your spouse, friends, children, extended family, or certainly that guy/girl who shot you the “bird” in traffic when you did something stupid that you didn’t even realize that you did, is responsible for how you feel about yourself or your situation no matter how bad (or good) it is.
So, some of you have figured this out already, but others may be asking, “Well, who is responsible for the state of my being then?”
Answer: YOU ARE!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 (ESV)
God forgives everyone for all … even you, but only if you turn away from your sins and forgive all others too. Forgiveness asked for and given will relieve your burdens whether the other party asks or forgives or not. In this case, it’s all about you.
I read a Facebook post recently that really struck home for me:
“I disappoint myself the most when I’m disappointed in others.”
If I didn’t expect others to act in a certain way, I probably wouldn’t be disappointed so much.
And, as always …
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
This is the place! Now is the time! The battle is on!
G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his novel, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 1, and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback.