01/01/15 Farmville Enterprise
Today we’re being inundated with “miracle cures” for weight loss. What if someone could offer you a cure for interpersonal conflict? What if, in 2015, you could have a panacea to stop all family or workplace tension? The truth is that people are subjective and we live in a fallen and messy world. Relationships will never be perfect. The great news is that we have the example of a good and loving God who came to this world in the flesh to interact with and save people.
Jesus had dealings with all types. He talked to and cared for the poor, the rich, Jews, Gentiles, Romans and Greeks. Although it is often easy to stay in our own comfortable circles, lives will be enriched by getting to know all kinds. Stereotypes are broken down when we spend time with those who are markedly different than we are. It is easy to label people and make sweeping generalizations when we’re not actually familiar with others in certain groups. This week there was a most unfortunate article in a major national magazine about the Bible. The author’s one-sided sources aside, the saddest part of the article was the awful generalizations about Christians. Very little of what he wrote was true of the numerous Christians I know who serve at soup kitchens, food pantries, local schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc. It made me wonder if the author had any friends committed to a life of service to Christ. Our lives can serve as inspiration to those who otherwise might have a negative view of Christianity.
Jesus felt empathy for the situations of people. Matthew 9:36 says “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” In order to care for others we must listen to and try to understand their struggles. We’ve got to attempt to see things from their perspective. In response to their needs, we should treat them the way we’d want to be treated. In difficult relationships we must pray for our love to be sincere. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
As we put the needs of others before our own and love them sincerely, many relationships will be improved. Of course, some might not. Still, we must “make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.” (Hebrews 12:14)