Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What's Your Opinion?

I remember one of the first times I stood in front of my very first middle school group as their Youth Minister, sharing about how we should treat each other. I was using Philippians 2:3-5 as my text. And looking back, I'm not sure I had a clue as too what I was doing... (I was pretty much sharing my opinion.)
In that passage of scripture it tells us: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Powerful words I thought. We should treat others as we would want to be treated. We should treat others the way Jesus would treat them. (I should have thought that one through and distributed wristbands with the letters WWJD. But, someone else ran with that idea a couple of decades later.)

I went on to tell the middle school students about the dangers of selfish ambition. Little did I know that most middle schooler's greatest ambition was to get out of homework and sluff-off their chores. Ah, and vain conceit... I'm glad they didn't know what that meant, because I sure didn't!

Since that Wednesday evening in the mid-1970's, when I thought I had a good understanding of God's Word, I have come to find out that there are many great truths in those verses for all Believers.

In our relationships with others, which are driven by our conversations (verbal, texted, posted, and commented on), It's good to remember these life-principles:
  • Don't be selfish in conversation. Allow others to express themselves without our quick response about us. A good way to check how we are doing with this: How many times do you use the words I, me, my, mine, and I'm in our conversations? (Again, which includes verbal, texted, posted, and commented on.)
  • Be humble. Just because we know the right answer doesn't mean we have to share it. Our opinion is sometimes just that: our opinion. Share truth, not what we think.
  • Value others. (Including valuing their stories above ourselves and our stories.) When someone shares a story, concern, idea, or opinion, don't be so quick to follow with our own story, concern, idea, or opinion.
  • Be interested in other's interests. Don't be so quick to share about your interest.
  • Treat others the way Jesus would when He interacted with others. (Read the Gospels... There is a wealth examples of the way Jesus treated others.)
Here are a couple of takeaways to try:

  • When someone says something, force yourself to simply listen and smile without any comment or response with your story.
  • When someone posts something, resist the urge to say you like that, you own that, you've had that (or your mom did), or that bothers you too. A simple wow, thumbs-up emoji  or pressing the "like" button proves humility, keeps us from being selfish and conceited, and values others over ourselves.
Keep your opinion to yourself, and... LeadWell!

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