Can you recall a moment in time where the reaction you received wasn’t the response you expected?
As Christ visited a Samaritan village, He was not well received. The disciples turned to Him and said, ‘Lord do you want us to command the fire to come down from heaven and consume them just as Elijah did?’ Jesus replied, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them’. (Luke 9:54-56)
This is the final post in a six week series on attitudes. The focus over the last six weeks has been to remind ourselves that attitude matters. How we treat others is noted. Whether we are sincere or severe will be evident when we interact with friends or strangers, those who share our values and views or those who do not. Apparent in the ways we communicate, to attack or attract.
As Christians, we live in a world where it is clear that the importance of God’s truth through His word should be prominent in what we stand for and the lives we portray. However, we may have the right outlook, but the wrong attitude where what we say and do can drive people away from God’s truth rather than draw them to it.
Statistics reveal a shockingly high number of people viewed Christians are judgemental. The enemy has set to drive the holiness of God out of our hearts, triggering us to strike back or get into a punch-up. Ok, maybe no punches, but the impact of aggressive words are just as hurtful. Have we adopted a self-righteous attitude where we have misguided ourselves to believe that we are better than others?
Pause and honestly note what your initial reaction to the following scenarios would be.
- A parent seems inept at controlling their three year old having a tantrum in the shopping mall.
- A hoarder lives in a place inapt for dwelling in.
- A famous and well respected person is unfaithful to their spouse.
In this extract from Luke 9, the disciples had contemplated incinerating those who did not agree with them, totally oblivious to what was happening in their hearts. Incidentally, there is a difference between being judgemental and being discerning. Which asks questions in a non-threatening and open way.
5 Practical Ways to Cultivate Relationships (without judgement and prejudice)…
- Welcome others who don’t see things the way you do.
- Forget about deciding what is right for each other.
- Agree to use all your energy in getting along with each other.
- Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.
- Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others.
Paul has extremely useful advice here! If you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.
In his teaching and actions, Christ imparted love. To love our neighbour as ourselves. (Matt 19:18-19) That is a tall order, when you envisage how much you love yourself! The time and resources you spend on how you look and what you want. Now shift that love to the person you try to avoid, or the one that irritates you so much. The homeless person you cross the street just so you don’t have to face them. Neighbour includes everyone, particularly those who do not agree with you or do not share your beliefs.
Do you display Christ in all you say and do? Where you subtly or tactfully introduce Him to those you brush shoulders with; the close groups you mix and mingle with. Ultimately we should not want people to change their behaviour. Only leave an impression, so they can make the choice whether to try and experience the goodness of God (Psalms 34:8).
6 questions to train yourself to become understanding…
- When was the last time you listened to someone else – not because you wanted to reply – but because you try to understand them? Could you become a better listener? Pause, think then proceed.
- Do you aim to show genuine empathy without trying to give someone a piece of your mind? That means without making assumptions and reserving your opinions to yourself!
- Have you thought about trying to understand yourself? Apprehend why you express yourself in a certain way or feel the way you do. When you learn how to understand yourself first, you will develop this as strength to understand others better.
- With days left to the end of 2019, are there ways you can gain courage to change? 2020 is upon us and we have to enact self-discipline to alter our methods as our journey takes us into another decade. That does not mean we list unrealistic expectations and place this on God. Instead we trust in God, knowing His plans for our life are the best and live in expectancy of that.
- Do you search to be understood or do you long to be more understanding towards others? Are you willing to experience the world looking through the spectacles of another? When you talk to someone, before you decide to criticise or judge them. Think about how it would be to walk a mile in their shoes. To view how living their life would be and how they feel.
- Are you always trying to make your opinions known? To gain respect, we need to appreciate the individual differences of others. Become open minded but patient as you encourage others. Reveal your moral principles and beliefs in a helpful and relational way through transparency, gratitude and genuine care. Respect is a reflection of how you treat others.
- You cannot measure your growth with someone else’s ruler. You must evaluate yourself with your own standards (moral principles and beliefs). No matter what others think of you, if you do what is right and best in every situation, naturally this enhances thoughtfulness and integrity. Lend a hand and give without expecting any return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
Thank you for joining me over these six weeks, where we examined how the differences in the way we react and respond to situations is dependent on our attitude.
I hope you enjoyed reviewing your attitude, because I personally found it beneficial and provoking! Capture all the posts in the list below and spend some time reflecting on what you have acquired during this period.
Week 6 | Exchanging A Judgemental Attitude For An Understanding One
We began by recognising that ‘attitude is everything’. Aim to seize an unstoppable and unbeaten attitude that makes others want what you have. This is not the end, just the beginning of a lifetime process. Where constructive criticism has the ability to chisel our character and influence us towards positivity and progression.
Someone lashing out at us, should not hinder our progress or stall our approach and outlook. Neither setbacks nor adversity, should displace our mind-set or control our attitude. Instead we ought to control what our attitude to every situation will be. Arising from our reactions and actions.