Each person in our living environment is unique. That’s just a nice way to say that people are just different. We are all a complex blend of background, temperament, and giftedness. This fact is the root of most relational conflict. Uniqueness poses many communication problems. Simply stated: Often we simply don’t understand each other! We may use the same words, but the same words can have very different meanings. Our communications come out sideways instead of forward as intended. After just a short time in the world we can all relate to the words of Thomas Moffett. “Men dig their graves with their own teeth and die more by those fated instruments than the weapons of their enemies.”
Wise people recognize and value the differences between people and they relate to individuals in customized ways. They don’t relate to everybody with the same predictable style.
Would you like to be wise in relating to people? The Bible describes the characteristics of genuinely wise people: “Wisdom is pure… peace loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy… It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. (If you) are a peacemaker, you’ll plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.” James 3:15-17 (Living Bible)
From these verses we learn six ways to be wise when we deal with others:
As I am truly wise…
1. I won’t compromise my integrity (“wisdom is pure”)
I will be honest; I will keep my commitments.
2. I won’t stir up others’ anger (“wisdom is peace loving”)
I will work toward harmony; I will avoid pushing your hot buttons.
3. I won’t minimize others’ feelings (“wisdom is courteous”)
Perhaps I don’t feel as you do, but I respect your feelings; I won’t ignore or ridicule you.
4. I won’t criticize others’ suggestions (“wisdom allows discussion”)
I will disagree when appropriate, but I won’t be disagreeable.
5. I won’t emphasize others’ mistakes (“wisdom is full of mercy”)
I won’t rub it in — I will help rub it out.
6. I won’t disguise my motivations (“wisdom is wholehearted and sincere”)
I will not be unnecessarily guarded; I will in no way manipulate you.
We have all had regrettable moments when we acted out of something less than wisdom. The good news is it’s never too late to begin to walk in wisdom. We can change by God’s grace and power if we simply call upon him.
“Mount Everest, you have defeated me. But I will return, and I will defeat you because you can’t get any bigger — and I can!” — Sir Edmund Hillary.