When it comes to people, are you hindering your own progress?

I have had different people over the years that have had a profound affect on me. There have been times when people have spoken things either in a public forum or directly to me that have been just what I needed to hear at the time. When this sort of thing happens to you, you become grateful and when you get an opportunity, you want to shake their hand and thank them for the influence they have had on you.  I don’t know how many times though, I have approached some of these people and then walked away wishing I hadn’t even tried? They were cold and unengaged and sometimes they were outright rude. Have you ever experienced this?  Walking away wishing you hadn’t even made the effort?  I have gone to people with the good intention of being gracious and thankful and walked away thinking to myself “I’m going to have to pray for a long time to get past this”.

Dog feeding lamb

During my first term in bible school I had a class called Spiritual Growth Principles. Besides teaching classes in the school, my instructor for that class is also the National Director of ministerial association connected with the school and the director of the alumni association.  He’s a busy guy.  He goes by Brother Doug.  The first day of class Brother Doug was there early and began working his way around the room. He shook hands with, introduced himself to, and asked everyone in the room their name. There were over 200 students in that class. He then admonished all of us to introduce ourselves to the people around us. His comment was “You’re going to school to go into the ministry but don’t care enough about the people around you to introduce yourself?”. This marked me. If we really do care about people, we need to take this to heart.

The summer between my 1st & 2nd year of bible school, my hometown pastor became sick and died. Brother Doug called me on my cell phone during my lunch hour at work.  I’m not sure where he got my number. He called to let me know what had happened as he had been in contact with my hometown pastor & his family. Brother Doug gave me his cell phone number and invited me to call him if I needed anything. I never called but I was grateful for the invitation. Please understand, I’m not trying to glorify Doug Jones.  My point is that he REALLY cares about people. He has thousands of people contacting him but he took time to help one.  He’s not interested in building fame. He’s interested in what the Father is interested in. The sheep.

Jeff Goins is the author of the book Wrecked – When a broken world slams into your comfortable life as well as several e-books and articles. He’s also a blogger & entrepreneur that I follow and I have found him very insightful. According to Allwebsitestats.nl, Jeff’s website goinswriter.com has over 500,000 visitors per month with over 900,000 page views. I’m pointing all of this out because when I reached out to Jeff through Twitter with a question that had been bothering me for a while, Jeff not only answered my question, but started following me on Twitter and wrote a blog post about the subject I asked about. Apparently I wasn’t the only one struggling with that issue. Since I have been following Jeff, he has consistently demonstrated that he cares about people, wants to help them and works to add value in others.

On the other hand, I have reached out to people who I respected and told them how much they helped me only to get absolutely no response at all….just crickets.  I remember one time being really disappointed and thinking “Wow! I’m not important enough to even acknowledge”.  Now I understand that a public figure can have a large number of people trying to reach out to them and I think it could possibly feel over-whelming.  That day though, they hurt their ability to reach into my life by not responding.

That’s my point really.  People are important.  They are important to God.  They should be important to us.  People are the reason Jesus came, died, rose from the dead and is now seated at God’s right hand.  It was God’s love for people that brought about His entire plan.  How you and I treat others now has a direct effect on whether we can affectively help them in the future.  What we say and how we say it will either open them up to receive or close them down to reject our help and our message. Proverbs 16:21  says “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increases learning”.  The way you speak to and treat people will determine how much or little you will be heard.  It all comes down to trust.  If I were to state on my social media profile “I love people” but then I ruin my ability to help or influence you because of my actions and bad behavior, I am sending two completely different messages.  The one you have to believe is the one that’s reflected by the fruit (Mat 7:16 & 20).  Many people hurt their own credibility by how they act toward others.

mother_teresa_photoWe all have a tendency to hear this stuff and immediately think of someone we know who could stand to hear it.  I really want you to have a look at yourself though.  You’re the only one you can control and change.  Are you valuing and helping others or are you hindering your own ability to reach into their lives and help them?  What can you change in your responses to others that would create a better outcome?

I really want to just encourage you to take a honest look at how you see others.  Are they “Those creepy people who wont leave me alone”? or do you see them as valuable and worthy of your time and attention?  Are there people you know you should be helping that you aren’t?  How can you step it up and be more effective?

Please join the conversation by leaving a comment.  I look forward to our discussions.  Also – If you think this can help someone, please share or forward it.

 

 

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One Response to When it comes to people, are you hindering your own progress?

  1. Mary says:

    Thanks Art for such a good word. Its a good reminder to all of us to review how we are responding, or not responding, to others; and make adjustments as the Lord shows us.

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