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05 February 2008

Let Me Listen For You

I was reading one of a couple of short devotional thoughts this morning, one about patience vs. pride (interesting relationship there) from Ecclesiastes, and I was thinking about how the topic would translate well into a blog post that everyone could relate to. Before that thought had made it to completion, though, a competing one took its place and pretty much won the battle for my attention: "Hey, wait... I have issues with patience and pride."

There have been at least a couple of points in my life at which I became aware that my Scripture readings and studies had gotten into more of a thought-from-God-for-someone-else gathering process than a time during which I listened to Him speaking to me. I've mentioned the scenario before: "Boy, [this person] really needs to hear this," or "If only [this person] would read this Scripture and take it to heart..."

This is often needed at a one-on-one personal level (bearing one another's burdens, helping them seek out Scriptures relating to their situation, etc.), but outside of that, many times we go into "search and destroy" mode. If we're not careful, we can make a great number of assumptions (usually negative) about other people during this kind of thought process. Not only is it not my business or responsibility to maintain someone else's personal, intimate walk with Christ, but I've found that in inadvertently trying to do so, often my own relationship with Christ can suffer. Or at least, it does not deepen as it should.

Speaking of all this, have you ever considered that the negative qualities we see in others may be apparent to us because we harbor many of the same qualities ourselves? As such those qualities may be more easily recognizable to us, or more easily assumed by us.


Cecily said...

"It takes one to know one."

Remember that phrase? What we'd say to someone who called us a name when we were a kid?

Well, kids say some pretty mean things sometimes that have no bearing on the truth... but as adults, I really do think we recognize those negative traits in others that we harbor ourselves.

I can't believe you posted this the day after I returned a recent book I checked out from the library: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," by Stephen Covey. If I still had it in hand, I could quote it more accurately. But, in essence...

In his opening chapters, he talks about our lens of perspective. We can usually identify certain traits (both positive and negative) in people because we share those same traits.

But, we also make assumptions based on our own personal lens. For example, two people can view the same actions of another person, and come up with different motivations as to why that person acted the way they did... and their assumptions have more to do with their personal lens of perspective than their knowledge of the person.

For example, someone with a pride issue and someone with true humility can watch a performer on stage share a testimony. The prideful person scoffs at the performer's sincerity, and the one with the more humble heart accepts the performer's "performance" (if you will) as genuine.

As often as not, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The performer may very well struggle with pride issues (which the prideful person recognizes) yet truly be seeking to humble themselves before God (which the person with true humility recognizes).

Wow, that's rambling, and I'm not sure I conveyed my thoughts very well. But it's funny you posted this, because I've been dealing with this issue myself, lately. I've been asking God to reveal to me any false assumptions I've been making. I desperately want to see things (and people!) with a more godly perspective overall.

Christy said...

I don't know where you stand on the spiritual gift of prophecy, but sometimes God does show us through His word how others need to hear a certain message.

Dean Lusk said...

Oops. I should have clarified myself a little better.I'm not talking about what you mention. God has used people to speak to me in just that way.

I'm thinking more along the lines, for instance, of me reading Jesus' words, "By this shall all men know you are you are My disciples: if you have love one to another," and thinking, "Christy really needs to take that verse to heart."

Christy said...

Well, in my case you're probably right! ;) I do understand what you are saying; I've been guilty of that before myself.

cosmiccowgirl said...

I hear ya on this one. Sometimes my husband and I both spend our couple's Bible Study picking out passages we think the other one really needs to pay attention to. Pretty amusing when we both turn to each other with the same one. As far as people seeing the traits they possess themselves: I have seen this in the working environment time and again. I try to make sure my lens is positive and look for the best qualities in people instead of the worst, because it bothers me when I hear the negative comments about coworkers. In other words, I try to keep my lens rose-colored, and I need to adjust my vision in terms of what God is saying to me.

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