Character Trait No. 8
Definition: Thoughtful of others and their feelings.
“Do nothing from selfishness of empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4)
“HUMPTY DUMPTY SAT ON A WALL,
HUMPTY DUMPTY HAD A GREAT FALL.
ALL THE KING’S HORSES AND ALL THE KING’S MEN,
COULDN’T PUT HUMPTY TOGETHER AGAIN.”
People are a lot like old Mother Goose’s famous Humpty, when it comes to their feelings. Some sensitive types always have their antennae out. Say or do anything the least bit offensive and you have busted raw egg all over the place. A real mess! Unlike the ultra-logical Spock, most people are much more in tune with their emotions rather than their intellectual side. That’s why touchy-feely, motivational “pyscho-babble” pep talks are so popular these days. Tear-jerk talk shows and melo-dramatic soap operas also capitalize on this factor. (Such as: “Opra Wimfrey” and “Days of Our Lives”) It’s imperative to be a winsome nice man these days if you want to be President. (Whatever happened to the rugged-individualist of pioneer days?) “Come, let us empathize together,” is the rallying cry of the modern man. Still, people really do have feelings, and if we’re ever going to help them know Jesus and get the help only He can give, we must be considerate.
“STICKS AND STONES CAN BREAK MY BONES,
BUT WORDS CAN NEVER HURT ME.”
We must be led by the Spirit and not by our feelings. Yet not all have this faith to walk according to God’s word. Thus we must strive to be a peace with all men, as much as it lies within us. Promoting peace and goodwill pays rich dividends in fruitful contacts for making many disciples. It can also smooth things out for us at work, home, or with our neighbors in all of our interpersonal relationships. Our strong convictions can rub people raw, like sandpaper, and we must be careful sometimes not to overpower people. Good manners lubricate the machinery of social interactions. The absence of social graces (good manners) can damage our witness as to the grace of God in our lives. Being polite adorns our gospel.
Being graceful includes the following people skills:
- Writing thank-you notes.
- Including others in all of our conversations and activities.
- Smiling and greeting all people.
- Saying we are sorry for even minor unintentional offenses.
- Giving honor and praise (credit) to whom it is due.
- Avoiding unfavorable comparing of people, especially in their presence.
- Abstaining from rudely and negatively commenting on some unfavorable feature or action of another in their hearing – and otherwise!
- Never laughing out loud at other in a vindictive or mocking manner.
- Not asking for things that are inappropriate for someone to give us.
- Disturbing the rest and privacy of others.
Finally, how about being considerate of Christ’s feelings? We are not to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit with whom we were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:30; I Thess.5:17) He can be hurt, and we can even re-crucify Christ publicly by our inconsiderate behavior. (Heb. 6:5) This is not a smart idea! Since we love Him, let us always consider our ways and be considerate of what pleases God, our dear Father... even if it means hurting the feelings of men. Particularly when it comes to being at the Lord’s Supper. We must never be so unwilling to offend men that we ignore or offend the One who died for us. After all, we want Him to always consider us when we’re in need:
“Consider and answer me, O Lord, my God,
Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.”