18 1 / 2012
This is often known as the Golden Rule and I’m sure is something we’ve all heard before. I remember as a kid it was well drilled into us both at Primary School and Sunday School.
Although it is well known it can sometimes be incredibly hard to put into practice especially when we’re dealing with someone who is difficult to get along with (someone who’s not good to eat cherries with to my German friends ;) ). We can sometimes say, “Well they haven’t been very supportive of me, why should I be supportive to them?” Note that the rule isn’t: Do unto others as they have done to you. I can sometimes expect others to be perfect and when they do make a mistake (especially towards me) I pounce on it but if I make a mistake I expect them to be super grace-giving to me.
This is something God has really challenged me with a friendship I have here. I moaned to God that this person hadn’t been very supportive of me or very grace-giving and God said to me, “When was the last time you were supportive of them and gave them grace when they messed up?” I realised how bad I’d been at that. The next time I saw this person I made every effort to be supportive of them and said to myself, “Today they’re my best friend and I’m going to support them as best I can.” The difference was incredible, it was so much easier to get along with them. It wasn’t because they reacted any differently to me but because I lowered my hostility towards them; I stopped attacking them in my mind.
How we approach people really has a massive impact on how they react to us and this can be done by just a “simple” change in mindset. If we’re hostile towards people then of course we’re going to struggle to to get along with them. I’m sure none of us react happily when someone is hostile towards us so why should we expect the same of them?